Wild Child

Or wild children, as it happens. Hetty and Dyson continue their visits to the garden, but out in the countryside, another badger family is growing up. Social grooming is an important badger ritual – one presumes that this cub will eventually realise that the idea isn’t to sit on your parents.

A small family, with just two adults and three cubs. Here’s the father on babysitting duties.

The dry May has cooled into an unsettled June, and not a moment too soon. The earthworms that comprise such an important part of badger and young fox diets have been deep underground, and some of the other badgers that I’ve found have been severely underweight.

And rain will help our wildflowers too.

Sainfoin

Sanfoin May 20

Wild mignonette

Mignonette May 20

Wild columbine

Columbine May 20

18 thoughts on “Wild Child

    1. The trailcam did very well with this family 🙂 Badgers are notorious for rearranging, poking, and generally baffling trailcams, and they did eventually leave this one pointing straight at the ground. I’ve put it right so hopefully it’ll get more footage this week.

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  1. Loved the video’s, I’ve never seen them play like this. The flowers were pretty & very unusual, can’t say I’ve seen any of these either

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  2. What a privilege and a pleasure to get to see badgers interacting like this. I agree with Pete that they should be seen by a wider audience – I should think that badgers need all the help they can get.
    The flowers are lovely too – to me they have storybook names, except for the Sainfoin, which I had not heard of before. I have just looked it up and read about its many virtues as a pasture plant but that it was depleted by commercial farming methods. I was surprised to come across an article in the South African “Farmers Weekly” magazine singing its praises as a drought-resistant pasture plant recommended for at least some regions in SA.

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    1. I’ve just visited the sett and found that the badger cubs have chewed the trailcam off the tree and carried it underground!! Oops. I will put a new camera out but will choose the position with some care…

      That is interesting about sainfoin. In the UK, it is a near-threatened species that grows in old meadows over chalk. It is one of my favourites and one that I look out for every summer in the national nature reserve which borders my village.

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      1. Ooops indeed! Too bad about the camera, especially as it had been getting such good footage – I hope you find a good place for the new one.

        Awful how commercial farming is eradicating the sainfoin, even though it is so good for livestock as a pasture plant. I hope old meadows on chalk soils are especially targeted for protection. It is an interesting plant and beautiful in flower. Thanks for highlighting it.

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    2. Calcareous grassland can have up to 40 plant species per metre – it’s incredibly rich, but it is also internationally rare. The UK holds half the world’s total acreage. It’s one of our ‘priority habitats’ and many surviving fragments have been given Site of Special Scientific Interest status, which is a very high level of protection. But of course, there’s always more to do.

      I could write an entire blog on the impact of modern agriculture and the challenge of making it both sustainable and commercially viable. Having worked in Romania, where old school low-input agriculture still dominates, the contrast is stark. Even more frustrating is the damage done through ‘recreational’ land changes, e.g. golf courses and intensive horse pastures.

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      1. Thanks for this detail Adele. It is sad that grasslands can be overlooked as needing protection (they are here too). It is good that protecting surviving fragments of the calcareous (new word for me!) grasslands in the UK is taken seriously – even if a bit little and a bit late, better than never.

        Industrialised agriculture seems to be as much as a threat to the planet and biodiversity as many other industries combined. The politics and perils of opposition seem to be pronounced where so many interests intersect. It is to be hoped that it may be possible to expand environmentally sustainable smaller-scale mixed farming so that it is economically viable too. Even though I don’t know much about it, it seems hard to be optimistic.

        Your experience in Romania must have provided you with such valuable insights.

        Horrid to think of natural landscapes vandalized to make way for sterile golf courses and the like.

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