Identifying my local badgers can be difficult. After spending so much time with them and watching so much footage of them from the trail cameras, I can nearly always work who is who.
With the adults it is not only the facial markings, but their size, the tail, scars and ear damage, the way they move, their behaviour and also which other badgers they are normally seen with. Putting that altogether gives me a good idea of who I’m looking at.
However the cubs are impossible. Last year there were 6 cubs, one of which died after a few months. I haven’t managed to catch up with the cubs since October and often wonder whether they survived, stayed at the sett or moved on, especially as Arrow has had cubs this year.
Last night as we walked back through the wood I spotted this Badger. Straight away we could tell it wasn’t Pirate, Smee, Bog, either of the twins, Arrow, Stick, and not Small as she died last week.
N.B. I found Small half in and half out of one of the sett entrances a week ago. Looking at her it didn’t look like foul play, (dogs or humans) but she had quite a few injuries to her rump, suggesting she had been picked on by the other badgers, possible underground in the tunnels as she had no injuries to her ears, head or front legs. – Please feel free to suggest other possibilities. Small wasn’t a family member, but joined the clan last Spring.
I wondered whether this new badger (photo below) could be one of last years cubs, so I’ve cropped some photos of the cubs to try and match the facial markings. I think looking at the way the black strip indents sharply under the eye, it could be the cub we named Blue in the top left photo of the cubs. Some badgers have straight black strips, sometimes the black finishes half way across the ear, other times the black strip continues under the bottom of the ear. Each face is subtly different.
I have spent ages looking closely to see if I can come up with a system of measuring the markings. Perhaps a grid I can put over the photos, or measuring the distance between black and white parts against the setting of the ears, eyes and nose. But that all depends on having the photographs the same size and the face pointing at the same angle.
Does anyone use a system that works? If so, I would be really grateful if you could share it. Thank you
Cubs from 2016
Footage of unidentified badger