Very interesting badger behaviour

If you have been reading my last few blogs then you will know that unfortunately Cookie, one of my local sett’s females was hit by a car.  For two weeks I was looking for her cubs. On the 10th of May I found 6 cubs but we are still unsure of who they belong to.

Cub growling at the trail camera

I put the trail camera out last night to check all six cubs were alive as  recently we have only seen the cubs in ones or twos. The trail camera was triggered 91 times and during those clips we think we saw all six cubs. Although it is quite difficult to tell them apart. Both Pirate and Arrow showed up many times on the trail camera.

What most fascinated me was an unusual piece of behaviour which I have never heard, seen or read about before.

If you watch this first clip very carefully you will see Arrow, a mum to definitely two of the cubs, dragging in a carcass.

In the second clip Arrow has the carcass off to the right hand side in the nettles with the cub watching on.

In this third clip, it’s quite hard to make out but I think it is another badger she is eating. It is also hard to make out how fresh the carcass is.

I have watched this clip over and over again trying to compare the size of Arrow with the size of the carcass. Arrow is very thin at the moment, you can see how her shoulder blades show on her back, but the head of the carcass is a similar size to hers. At first I had thought it was a dead cub but I’m still not sure.

This morning we all went back down to the sett to see if there were any remains of the carcass. There was a lot of hair and skin scattered around the sett and the hair appears to be adult badger hair as it is very course and stiff. But no sign of the carcass.

There was quite a bit of hair around the entrance hole and no smell, which makes me wonder if it has been taken down in to the tunnels.

One thing I’m wondering about is why Arrow has dragged this carcass back to the sett, rather than eating it on the spot? Has she brought it back to feed the cubs, but the cubs are foraging away from the sett on their own.

If it is a road kill badger she has had to have dragged it around 500m, from the road. If it is a cub why is she dragging it back in to the sett to eat it?

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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3 Responses to Very interesting badger behaviour

  1. Hello, Alex.
    Your post is fascinating and, while Arrow is obviously treating this carcass as carrion, it did remind me of the stories of ‘badger funerals’ which have occasionally been reported. Badger expert Ernest G Neal (1911-1998) wrote about this in his books ‘The Badger’ (1958) and ‘Badgers’ (1996). There is some quite good information on the Wildlife Online website at http://bit.ly/1TUdeLE, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. jimjamjem1 says:

    Amazing footage – great blog, well done. I too am very interested in badgers, and although I haven’t got any badger films nearly as interesting as these, I have started posting some on my website too, if you want a look: http://www.kneedeepinnature.co.uk/the-badgers/
    Only two so far, but hopefully more to follow!

    Liked by 1 person

    • appletonwild says:

      Hi, Thanks for your comment. Just looked at your website. The footage of the cubs playing tag is brilliant. Let me know when you get more film, I’ll be interested in looking. Thanks Alex

      Like

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