Tuesday 25/08/09 - Close Encounters of the Badger Kind

The night after a no show is always slightly worrying. Having had such wonderful experiences I feel disappointed when nothing turns up. Luckily, this doesn't happen too often.

Tonight, just me and the camcorder safely in the hide by 21:00 with peanuts and my dogs leftover food out for good measure. 21:10 and the first badger appears. He works his way down the trail of peanuts to the main feeding area and is feeding confidently. Too confidently, if I'm honest. I watch him eat everything, the dog food, the peanuts and he's sniffing around looking for more. At this point a second badger appears and is sniffing around too. I've quietly stood up and I figure I may be able to throw some peanuts out through the side of the netting that covers the door. I turn the light off and have a go. A small handful of nuts is deposited a few feet from the hide. It works! The badgers don't notice the movement and soon find the nuts. They feed together, but polish the food up pretty quickly and begin sniffing around for more.

It's on nights like this when I've got such fantastic views of the badgers that I regret not having someone here to share it. I feel it's a real privilege to see these animals up close. I do wonder about the ethics of feeding the animals like this. Some people think you shouldn't feed and watch them naturally. Unfortunately, this sort of viewing is generally at the sett and, at present, I don't have that luxury. Having said that, I'm in this for the long run and won't suddenly stop feeding the badgers and with opening to the public now getting closer, hopefully it will add a bit of income to the Barn Owl Centre. Although it won't revolutionise anything here, every little helps.

Where was I? The badgers! Right. A third badger has now appeared, although not close to the hide and I attempt to throw some more food out. This time my hand hits the door frame slightly and draws glances from all badgers. Luckily, they continue sniffing and foraging. The impact has, however, made me drop some nuts both just outside the door of the hide, but a few inside as well. I'm kneeling with my face against the netting over the door and the camcorder and torch through a small gap to the right of the door. What happened next was exhilarating to say the least!

The two close badgers soon sniff out the new supply of nuts. They are quite close now. Their smell is noticeable to say the least. They work their way towards the door until they are at it. Two large, wild badgers are within a foot, or so, of me. One of them actually looks at me through the gap in the scrim and is inches away from the camcorder which I'm holding. I get a little excited at this point and my grip on the camcorder tightens and I accidentally zoom in, which at close range isn't a good idea. Luckily, I realise what I've done and zoom out again. That bit will need editing! The next thing, I have a badger looking at me again. Camera in one hand and torch in the other I watch as he gets closer and closer to the threshold of the hide. Next thing, he's trying to come in!!

Let me put a couple of things into perspective. I'm knelt here, in the doorway with both hands full. My legs are almost numb from kneeling here and being unable to move due to the proximity of the badgers. I suddenly thought "what happens if the badger gets tangled up in the netting over the door?" And now he's trying to come in. He must be able to smell the nuts that I dropped earlier. For me, that was close enough and I make a noise to warn him I'm there. He backs off, stares for a moment and leaves. Wow! It can't get much better than that, can it? Luckily I caught the sequence on video so you can share it. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did, but I doubt it!

Here is the much awaited premiere of badgers on video.


  1. Great video - that really was a close encounter! They obviously weren't too bothered by your presence there.

    There's an old Arab proverb, 'If you let a camel put its nose into your tent, soon you'll have a camel in your tent'. I don't know if it applies to badgers too.


  2. BWM, it certainly made my day! I guess the proverb would apply, from personal experience, that is! I'm just off to feed them now, but can't watch tonight.

    Good watching,