A short stroll from my home brings me to a shaded and little used path between the local cricket pitch and the field of purple beech and chestnut trees. Lying here recently, undisturbed against a patch of ivy, was a dead badger – a beautiful creature. I know badgers are locally common because there are extensive systems of sets (burrows) in the hedgerows and on wooded slopes nearby. Fresh chalky soil marks new excavations, and their mysterious pathways wend among the undergrowth. I have always hoped to encounter one as I walk the countryside around the village but I have never seen one alive.

I was sad to find this poor badger. It looked peaceful with no obvious sign of injury but it lay not far from the road and so may have been hit by a car. Badger corpses are often found on the roadsides. It was however an opportunity to have a close look at the animal and admire its beautiful fur with the striking black stripes on its head, white-tipped ears, and the body’s darker tough guard hairs and softer lighter underfur all fluffed up.

28 Replies to “Badger Demise”

  1. We have foxes here too. I was woken by the noise of a couple of foxes playing in the moonlight recently. Someone doesn’t like them though. One was found shot dead by the village pond.

  2. Same here in England. Lots killed by cars – and others being gassed as government policy because badgers are supposed to infect dairy cows with TB. It is very controversial as the government are going against expert scientific opinion.

  3. When I was working in a boat yard a fox had her den under a container in the yard. We would leave food out for them and she would bring her cubs to see us. How I would have love a camera phone.

  4. We are lucky to have all sorts of wildlife in these parts but I guess most are under one sort of threat or another. Still, they are surviving as populations.

  5. I’ve never heard of any, so I did a little research, and the state of Pennsylvania wildlife site doesn’t list it as a mammal living in our state, so, I’m thinking we don’t have them. They do exist in other states, it seems in the Great Plains out west (for example the University of Wisconsin sports team name is Badgers, so that tells me!). In my yard we have a groundhog family, foxes in the back by the creek, and deer wander through very often. This even though I live about a mile from the city line of Philadelphia. And of course chipmunks and rabbits and sometimes snakes.

  6. Have never heard about they infect cows. And I don´t think badgers like same place where the cows are. My opinion is to let nature take care of itself and also help animals to live.

  7. Thanks for all that information, Claudia. I was curious. You have a great assortment of wildlife living near you even though you are so close to the city. I love the idea of having groundhogs living in your yard.

  8. Cows in Britain have always been subject to TB infection and this is the main reason why milk used to be, and maybe still is, pasteurised (I think this is a heat treatment) before it is sold to prevent any possibility that the infection will be passed on to humans. Farmers are desperate to eradicate the disease from their herds. Badgers living in the same localities as the grazing herds may venture out of the woods and cross the fields at night; and are thought to transmit the disease to the cows – but there is not total agreement that this is the case.

  9. In Sweden, milk is also pasteurized, it is the law on it and you may not sell milk without pasteurizing it. Several farm shops have started selling with unpasteurized milk. But they can only sell 70 liters per week and there are hard controls.

  10. I laugh at the groundhog mention, as everyone here hates them – they are destructive to much vegetation and especially a veg garden. We gave up our because of them and the deer (and we had a tall wire fence). One day I was eating lunch, looking out the back window, and saw the fence swaying – a young ground hog was scaling it, went over and into the garden, and was munching away as I ran out there shouting, and he did same maneuver in reverse in front of my eyes only this time with a mouthful of tomato. I had to laugh, but I knew the garden was done…Now I just enjoy watching them again, as they trundle around the yard…

  11. The only things I now about groundhogs have been learnt from watching the film “Groundhog Day” ! I had no idea they were such a pest, Claudia.

  12. Yes, they are, and quite fierce, I have a friend whose dog foolishly confronted a couple and came away the worst for it, but there is also something appealing about their unabashed rolypoly confidence and the babies are just the cutest as they skitter around the yard.

  13. Oh yes. Last word, I promise, on groundhogs – this morning I saw we have two babies this year in “our” family and they were running across the yard, as cute as you would want, and their fierce mother keeping an eye on them…

  14. I’m thinking so. I can’t get that memory of the one guy going over my fence as he did. And at the risk of sugar shock, I will say again these two babies we have right now are so cute. I was watching them grazing on the grass in my yard yesterday for some time.

  15. The potential of the groundhog for inspiring your creative work is huge – I can see egg-shaped vessels with faces and multi-coloured fur coats.

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