Badgers are very distinctive, with striking black and white striped faces and grey and black fur. They are large mammals, about 90cm in length and weighing up to 12kg, and have powerful front legs with strong claws, perfect for digging! Bagders create extensive burrow-systems called setts, which are made up of tunnels and nest chambers and can extend for over 100m. Keep your eyes peeled for large spoil heaps outside sett entrances where you can sometimes find badger hairs in the earth (these are white with black tips and are ‘clunky’ when rolled between your fingers).
Badgers are social and territorial mammals, living in family clans and marking out their territory boundaries with dung pits or latrines. Interestingly, British badgers tend to have more complex social structures than their continental cousins. They are nocturnal, coming out at dusk to forage for food and groom each other. Their diet is made up of earthworms, small mammals, birds, fruit, and plants. Whilst not true hibernators, badgers are much less active in winter and tend to hunker down deep in their underground setts to keep warm and preserve energy.
Badgers can be found in many different habitats, from grasslands and heathlands to urban areas. They are common in farmland, woodland and orchards, and are widely distributed across Somerset. Badgers and are protected in the UK under the Protection of Badgers Act, 1992.