February is the peak month for cubs being born in Britain. Late January to the end of February is the typical time that most badger cubs are born. However, there is always some variation in these dates and the Badger Trust has seen reports of lactating sows (female badgers producing milk for their young) as late as June!
Why would an animal give birth in winter?
It seems strange that any animal would give birth to young in winter, but pregnancy in sows is perfectly timed for young cubs to venture out the badgers sett in time for spring; with the abundance of food sources giving plenty of time for the young cubs to fatten up for their first winter finding their own food.
Did you know?
Badger cubs from one litter can have different fathers! Sows go through a process of 'delayed implantation' meaning they delay the process of pregnancy, typically until winter. While spring and summer is the typical time for mating this can occur at any point, and cubs can be born to several matings!
On the birth of cubs, boars (male badgers) start moving around more often and sows can be mated soon after giving birth. At this time fights between boars can be heard if there's a badger sett nearby. So, if you hear a loud, screeching animal noise at this time of year it could be that boars are wandering into unknown territories trying to mate!
Check out these two little cuties finding their feet!