Badger – Meles meles
In 1988 there were estimated to be around 42,000 social groups of badgers, and just under 200,000 adult badgers. By 1997 this had risen to just over 50,000 social groups and 310,000 adult badgers. The population is now probably stable. Mortality is high, with around one-fifth of adults dying each year. Road traffic accidents are a major cause of death. Some badgers are infected with bovine tuberculosis, particularly in the south west of England. These animals are the subject of a control campaign by Defra. There is a continuing debate about the role of badgers and cattle infecting each other with TB.
Black and white striped long face. Grey body with paler underfur, black fur on legs. Low-set animal, short tail.
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Footprints: Tracks can be found in sand, mud and snow, and in a variety of habitats. Badger footprints are five-toed, but are quite distinctive looking and significantly larger than other mustelids. Width 3.5 –4.5cm.
Droppings: Badgers often leave droppings in a small pit or latrine, as seen here. They often contain seeds and berries. They can be purple in colour due to their diet. However, can be more mud-like when the diet has been predominately earthworms. Colour: blue/black/brown. Smell: foul – strong musky, oily smell.
Fur: black/white/grey in colour. Triangular – won’t roll along palm of hand smoothly.