I went to a talk hosted by Hugh Warwick last week where he spoke about his amazing experience going nose to nose with a hedgehog.
I hadn’t planned on doing the same thing with a badger, but last night I did exactly that.
I settled myself on the edge of the ditch, hidden behind a log, under a pile of brambles.
It wasn’t long before the first black and white face appeared. It was Arrow, the adult female, it looks like she has a cut on her ear. I could hear the cubs chattering, still underground.
Next, the first cub appeared, although there are 6 cubs in this nursery sett, Arrow normally has two with her. Once one cub came out, the second one followed. These are the two smallest cubs out of the six.
I watched for a while as the badgers took it in turn to climb down the steep sides of the ditch, have a drink and climb back up.
The smallest cub shuffled closer and closer to me. I was holding my breath, wondering whether, if I took a photo, the click would scare it away. Slowly it came so close I could have reached out and touched it. I was very aware that Arrow and the other cub were just behind and off to my left I could hear two more cubs play fighting in the brambles. My legs were starting to go numb and I really wanted to move but I knew that if I moved even slightly Arrow might feel threatened and charge at me. As I was lying down I knew I wouldn’t be able to get out of the way.
The cub came so close, we were nose to nose. It looked straight in to my eyes and I looked in to its. For a spilt second it seemed as if I was one of them. The cub then turned and trotted back under the brambles.