While out walking I noticed a badger skull in a ditch. As I have never noticed it there before and nearby was a newly excavated badger hole, I am presuming it was dug out with the spoil.
One of the first things I noticed about a badger skull is the sagittal crest on the top. On this skull the sagittal crest is large meaning it was an adult badger. The sagittal crest helps to strengthen the badgers skull against damage when it is digging or when being attacked. The crest is where the temporal muscle attaches to. The temporal muscle is one of several chewing muscles that is necessary for crushing and grinding objects between the molars.
On one side of the skull just under the eye socket there are little marks which look like teeth marks, perhaps a wood mouse.
In the photo below you can see some damage to the skull just in front of the upper canine tooth. Does anyone know whether this would have been done before the badger died or perhaps afterwards? Thank you
UPDATE – After asking on Twitter, Dr Ben Garrod came up with this reply:
‘The damage was almost definitely before death, the lower canine is broken but ‘smoothed’, indicating that damage had occurred during life. The maxilla damage corresponds with the damage canine and looks as though that previous injury/damage has had an effect on the maxilla. I am guessing there would have been active infection … maybe with other signs of pathology elsewhere on the skull.’
Badgers have 32 milk teeth, by the age of 4 months they have a full set of permanent teeth. The teeth on this badger looks quite worn.