After Cookie was killed on the road nearly 2 weeks ago I have been watching the sett as often as possible because we realised she had been lactating and therefore will probably have cubs somewhere.
We have been sitting down in the woods most evenings for a couple of hours and then with trail cameras when we can’t be there. Mum has been checking the sett a couple of times a day when I am at school.
So far we haven’t found any cubs. There has been one very small badger which at first we thought was a cub as it was a third of the size of the other badgers, unfortunately it seems to be a very small adult badger, but what does anyone else think?
Here are some photos of ‘Small’
The benefit of spending so much time in the sett is that we are starting to recognise different badgers by their faces and tails. There appears to be 8 different badgers which we have named, only to make it easier than saying ‘the one with the fluffy tail’ or the one with the bad eye’
Small -The very small badger
Pirate – the badger with the bad left eye
Pirate’s mate – The badger with the bad right eye
Stick – The badger with the very thin stick-like tail, often seen with Small. In this clip Stick is next to a cub. It was taken in June 2015.
The Twins – Two badgers which we can’t tell apart
Arrow – The badger with the scar like Harry Potter on its forehead and a tail like Stick’s
Bog – The Badger with a tail that looks like a toilet brush.
Each badger has its own personality and behaviour, for example Pirate is always the first to appear in the evening and the twins are often together. Stick is very bossy and can be seen pushing the twins around.
One of the twins had a bad foot, but it seemed to cleared up over a couple of days.
During the past week or so we have also plotted the sett on grid paper to get an idea of which holes are being used. We know that over the past three years the badgers have alternated which part of the sett they use, so part of it lies unused for a year.
There are 71 holes altogether, 22 holes which are in use. Meaning they have fresh digging and spoil or footprints or other signs of activity. One hole, which is north facing, one the edge of the wood, the badgers block up with hay when it is a cold night, then push out the hay when it is warmer, like the last few nights. There is one other hole with signs of hay. One hole had bluebells leading up to and down in to the entrance for a few days before Cookie died, then nothing, this is the hole Small uses most.
A bit further back, in the brambles, there are another two holes which had fresh bluebells taken down on Thursday 5th May. I think these two holes connect to each other.
Some of the unused holes have now collapsed, but some look like they could be used again sometime.
The next job is to plot all the paths from the sett out in to the fields (and the one up to our garden).
I will carry on monitoring for cubs, but I think after 12 days we might have seen them by now.