A Garden Romance

I forget when we decided to call the badger ‘Dyson’. He earned his name, for he is without doubt a hoover: anything edible is swept up in effortless aplomb. He cuts a fine figure against the lamp-lit flowerbeds of night.

Badger Dyson 26 May 20

Yes, this is a night photo. Eurasian badgers –  Meles meles – are nocturnal, or at least they’re supposed to be. Over the past few weeks, there have been an abnormally high number of daylight badger clips circulating on social media, which may or may not relate to the dry weather and the clear difficulty in finding earthworms, their main diet.

Badgers are also sociable. Group size averages six, but Dyson arrived here alone. Dispersal from the family sett is less common in badgers than it is in foxes, and a bite wound on his rump suggested that his departure might not have been by choice. Weeks became months, and he is still a nightly fixture, sharing the garden with mice and owls.

And of course, foxes. For the most part, they ignore him. For the most part. Not always.

But on Tuesday, the tables turned. Pretty Face, the oldest of our foxes, lounged by the path, ignoring Dyson in his hoovering.

Fox Pretty Face 26 May 20

Then her ears twitched. Her eyes darkened. She stared at the gate, her body language flickering between defensive and assertive.

Fox Pretty Face angry cat2 26 May 20

I waited, expecting to see her confront a rival fox. But no: by the gate was a second striped face!

Badger Hetty 26 May 20

So Dyson has a mate. He greeted her with mutual grooming.

Badgers greeting 26 May 20

And they have been here together every night since.

Badgers two1 26 May 20

Perhaps the garden will be full of badger cubs next year.

18 thoughts on “A Garden Romance

    1. It really is amazing – all these years with no badgers, and now we have two! I’ve also had a camera trap out in the woods which has got some excellent footage of cubs. I do hope it rains soon though so that they can find some earthworms to eat.

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    1. I think I saw a poll somewhere that said about half of British people have never seen one either. They are much more nocturnal than foxes which I suspect is a big part of that.

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    1. The female badger has acquired the name ‘Hetty’, as in Hetty Hoover! 🙂 I think we may run out of hoover brands if they bring their cubs here too.

      Thank you – I’m really enjoying watching their visits.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Dyson and his mate are beautiful and what lovely photos. The fox really was impish nipping Dyson so mischievously! Interesting to see Pretty Face react to the arrival of the second badger. I look forward to future installments.

    Liked by 1 person

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