Update on Cookie’s sett

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 in day light

Pirate in day light

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.

About Alex White - Appletonwild

This is my diary of the wildlife where I live in Oxfordshire, and sometimes the places I visit. My passion is for British wildlife, especially Badgers and Hares. I am a keen amateur photographer using a Canon SX60 HS. All the photographs on this blog are taken by myself unless stated otherwise. I am a member of A Focus on Nature, the network for Young Nature Conservationists, BBOWT, The Oxon Mammal group and The Oxfordshire badger Group. You can also follow me on Twitter @Appletonwild Instagram appletonwild
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6 Responses to Update on Cookie’s sett

  1. Sally says:

    Incredible documentation of the Badgers that you watch. I always thoroughly enjoy reading all your blogs but as I have a very soft spot for Badgers these blogs have to be my favourites. You are so lucky being able to watch the Badgers, get to know their individual personalities and write about them. You are living my dream lol and I’m 44!!! I always wanted to study Badgers….but my life took another path, but whenever I have a holiday I make sure it’s in the West Country and I ALWAYS ensure there’s an active Badger Sett I can watch 😃.
    Congratulations on your successful work/hobby and I hope you carry it on for many decades to come.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Really good badger photos there. I am considering buying a trail camera, so which would you recommend? Also, I want to look out for badger sets in my local woods (Canterbury, Kent), so what should I look out for? Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

    • appletonwild says:

      I started with a Little Acorn trail camera for about £100, it films great at night, but not so great during the day. It is easy to use. I now also use a Bushnell which was a lot more expensive but better filming during the day and it has different lens.
      If you go on the Badger Trust website or Badgerlands, you can see what to look for. Mainly D-shaped (on its side) holes with lots of spoil. Good luck Alex

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for the update. I am saddened to see that no baby badgers were found. Is it possible that they are too young to move around on their own and are still in cookies nest?

    I love your blog- thank you for the thorough update. I look forward to learning more about the badger community with you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • appletonwild says:

      Hi Paula, Some badger cubs have now been found, 6 in total. Not sure whether these are all Cookie’s, some of Cookie’s being brought up by another badger (Arrow) or all Arrow’s. They are all weaned and happily feeding on their own.


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