Latin Name - Meles meles
Conservation Status - Least Concern
Location - Most of Europe
Diet - Small Mammals, Ground nesting Bird's eggs, Earthworms, Fruit, Roots and Bulbs
Colour - Grey/Black/White
Weight - 8-12kg
Length - 75-100cm
Life Expectancy - 5-8 years
The Badger is our biggest land predator. It is a member of the Mustelid family, so is related to stoats, weasels and otters. It is just as common as the red fox, but more nocturnal and elusive in its habits.
Badgers live in large family groups in a burrow system known as a 'sett'. An occupied sett can be recognised by the tidy burrow entrances, marked with piles of used bedding (hay and leaves), and by nearby latrine pits where the occupants leave their droppings.
Is there a lot of Badgers?
UK population about 300,000. The population has increased over the last ten years. Badgers are widely distributed throughout Britain and Ireland but are scarcer in Scotland.
They are absent from most offshore islands except Anglesey, Arran, Canvey, Wight, Sheppey and Skye.
Why do they need our help?
Badgers are being culled as part of a government initiative to reduce the spread of bovine tuberculosis (bTB) in cattle. Pilot badger culls commenced in 2013 in Gloucester and Somerset amid much opposition. More than 300,000 people supported a petition opposing the cull. An Independent Expert Panel (IEP) was appointed by Defra to assess the effectiveness, humaneness and safety of the 2013 culls. The panel deemed the culls 'ineffective' and 'inhumane' in 2013, with no significant improvement - and further failures - in 2014.
In 2018, at least 32,601* badgers were culled across 32 badger cull zones in England. The badger cull has gone ahead for the first year in Staffordshire and Cumbria, in addition to the existing areas of Gloucestershire, Somerset, Dorset, Cornwall, Devon, Herefordshire, Cheshire and Wiltshire.
The Wildlife Trusts have opposed the badger cull since it first started and no Wildlife Trust will allow badger culling on its land.