Belongs to: carnivores

Badger Meles meles

scarce in Essex and declining


Best time to see: all year

Key facts

Unmistakable animal with its distinctive black and white face and shaggy grey back

Makes its home in woods, usually near open fields, and preferring gravelly soil that is easy to dig

Once common throughout Essex, but now absent from large areas; still persecuted despite legal protection

Recognition

Grey back with distinctive black and white face; head and body up to 75cm long

Usually nocturnal and shy, but sometimes visit gardens to be fed

Footprints broader than long with 5 distinct toes; scuffs up gardens digging for worms; also eats insects and small mammals

Lifecycle

Digs out extensive systems of underground chambers linked by tunnels, known as setts, with several entrance holes

1 litter a year, late winter to spring, with 1–5 young in a litter, born blind and helpless; maturing in 1–2 years

Do not hibernate but in cold weather become semi-dormant and stay in their setts; live up to 15 years

  • Main photo
  • pair
  • sett

Photo ©

Photo ©

Photo © Phil Luke