I think I’ve found a badger set!
On my drive through to uni this morning we passed a dead badger at the side of the road. Always a bummer to see, but for once the sight actually spurred me into action. Upon arriving at uni I notified Scottish Badgers about the morbid mustelid, then spent the next hour or so learning about how to actually recognise a badger’s set (I also did some work on my honours project, too).
Once home, I dropped off the missus then went for a wander in the woods. After only a few minutes wandering I noticed this trail through the grass. The trail led to this:
At this point I congratulated myself on finding a hole in the ground, which is a good start when looking for an underground lair. Carefully picking my way around the site, I got a better view of the entrance.
Badger sets tend to be wide and low, as opposed to a straight off hole in the ground (a ‘D’ on it’s side). The size and shape mostly conformed to what a novice like me would expect. There was a definite smell of ‘animal’ from within the hole (I didn’t get to close – disturbing badger’s sets is illegal, after all – but I do have a great sense of smell), so I’m sure that it’s not abandoned (unless the sole occupant was said dead badger mentioned earlier).
I read that foxes and badgers are known to share the same burrow sometimes, but a bit more looking around turned up this not too far from the entrance.
As far as I can tell, this is a classic badger latrine – a small pit filled with scat. Despite the soft earth, I didn’t see any obvious footprints, and I unfortunately didn’t think to look closer around the area for hair fibres until I got home.
So, for the moment at least, I’m very pleased with the fact that I may have found a previously unrecorded badger set. I’ve e-mailed the local ranger for advice and, if it is confirmed as a badger set, I’ll add the record to local and national databases.
Even if it turns out that it isn’t a badgers set, it was nice to be out in the woods again.