Your badger lockdown stories
by Kavita Ashton, Badger Trust
As the country entered lockdown amid the COVID-19 pandemic, many of our supporters and fans reached out with badger lockdown stories – tales of how badger watching has been a source of joy and entertainment in these tense times.
We’ve heard from families who have become gripped by the badger activity on trail cams, vulnerable people helped through isolation by nature, and all kinds of other people with a greater-than-ever appreciation of their local wildlife. Just some of the wonderful lockdown stories shared with us on social media are rounded up here.
Badgers at home
Some of our followers are lucky not only to have a garden they could enjoy during lockdown, but to share it with some special visitors.
“I discovered this little guy this afternoon who has made himself at home at my stables in the muck heap! Great spot for him. Warm and full of tasty worms!” - Laura Callow on Facebook
Photo © Laura Callow. From this Badger Trust Facebook thread about cubs in April
“We have a sett in woods in the New Forest so I was vaguely aware of the badgers but far too busy to see them. I bought a trail camera and for the past two months have watched them. They are so delightful. Every morning I can’t wait to see what the trail camera has caught. I would never have had the patience to do this before lockdown. I have stood behind a tree at dusk several times and just when you least expect it the stripey nose appears silently out of the hole. They are so enchanting and almost magical as they sort of appear then vanish.” - @susannicoleharris on Instagram
Badgers helping your wellbeing
As well as being pleased to find badgers and other animals right on their doorstep, lots of people shared how watching their badger neighbours has helped their wellbeing through the pandemic as well as difficult times in the past.
“I live in a rural part of Cornwall, in a small village. I now live alone since my mum passed in November last year, I had been her carer for close to three years before she passed away. I also have two autoimmune illnesses of my own plus a heart problem, so I've been shielding myself for the past 12 weeks during this pandemic. I'm a self-employed wildlife artist and I study and photograph wildlife from my little garden studio to use as reference for my work. I have access to a decent-sized garden here with lots of mature trees, hedgerows and fields nearby. I feed the birds here daily and have only seen their numbers increase over the last 5 years. In our woods across the road, badgers and other mammals were picked up several times on the wildlife camera positioned facing a well-trodden route through the trees... I felt overwhelmed with happiness when I saw those gorgeous creatures! Observing nature everyday, and painting it too, has kept me going in so many ways through so many difficult times. I'm not new to the wonders of wild places, but I've truly relished in having more time to devote to my inspiration and my passion. Nature carries such hope!” - @thickets_studio on Instagram
“I live on my own and so the lockdown has been emotionally challenging. Wildlife photography has been a way of finding peace for a number of years. I have a trail camera and one night during lockdown a badger visited my garden. This spurred me to seek out our local badgers. To my joy, I found the sett and set up my camera. It was wonderful to capture a number of videos and stills from the sett. This will be one of the happy memories from lockdown.” - Julia Moyse on Facebook
Photo © Julia Moyse. From this Badger Trust Facebook thread about spending time in nature
“Badger watching (on private land incorporated into our daily exercise) really kept us going mentally through the dark times. Totally switching off from everything going on. This is just 2 of our Clan ❤” - Louise Shearsby on Facebook
Photo © Louise Shearsby. Also from this Badger Trust thread on Facebook about spending time in nature
“I am a support worker for vulnerable adults so I have had to deal with the mental and physical pressures of going to work during a pandemic. I have also got a disabled husband and asthmatic daughter shielding at home. However, I was lucky enough to have been given a wildlife camera for my birthday which has brought so much pleasure to my little family. We have seen such an increase in wildlife compared to last spring but the real focus this year has been nightly visits from a badger, or ‘Mr Bodger’ as my 9-year-old daughter calls him. We love looking back at the footage each day and finding tracks in the garden. As a family we have learnt so much more about badgers and have found this a wonderful distraction from the awful things going on in the world right now. One of my most magical lockdown memories was watching our gorgeous badger truffling for worms with my daughter and husband peeking through the curtains, not making a single noise but every so often just feeling my daughter shake with excitement at seeing him with our own eyes. Pure joy!” - Natalie Gough on Facebook
Spotting badger cubs
Lockdown has coincided with badger cub season, as sows usually give birth in February and cubs first appear above ground when they’re around 12 weeks old. Because of this timing, we’ve heard from many happy badger enthusiasts who have encountered cubs, both unexpectedly and by waiting patiently for a glimpse.
“We have 3 cubs coming, not every night at the moment but mum and dad come. It’s busy when all the family is here but oh so lovely.” - Sheila Jennings on Facebook
“We had two cubs eating peanuts within 2 feet of us with mum watching about 10 feet away, then something spooked mum and she shot straight down the sett leaving the cubs behind...she must really trust us with them.” - Gary Ashwell on Facebook
“On an evening walk in the woods, a whole family came out at twilight and tumbled around playing together. One of my most cherished memories of nature.” - @mrsabigail86 on Instagram
“The first cubs from my local sett ventured above ground for the first time early the other morning. The sow didn’t let them go more than a couple of feet from the entrance and was on very high alert!” - @clarkevanswildlife on Instagram
Photo © @clarkevanswildlife on Instagram
“We watch setts as part of our monitoring with both cameras and our own eyes! It’s the best feeling seeing teeny tiny badgers hanging out at the sett.” - @weesophie14 on Instagram
“A cub nearly trampled over my feet but I was so overwhelmed and excited that I let out a laugh which put it off sadly! Absolutely love badgers.” - @bodach29 on Instagram
“I have recently discovered 3 different setts in my local woods, I only started videoing and recording them in April so it's all very new, but has really kept me upbeat and happy during this difficult time, and my most memorable time is when I discovered 3 beautiful cubs!” - @caitlin.j.mann on Instagram
Lewis James Newman also shared a reminder that springtime is also a time to take extra care on the roads, along with his lovely photo of a cub.
"A badger cub, so I was so excited to post this and my experience with this little bundle of joy bouncing around while I sat there patiently but I think there is a more important message to give out. As I was driving to work this morning an adult badger had been knocked down by a car. Please can you all slow down and be extra careful as it could well have had young that were dependent on it!" - @lewisjamesnewman on Instagram
Photo © @lewisjamesnewman on Instagram
Badger watching in the wild
Incorporating a spot of badger watching into daily exercise in the local area has been a possibility for some of our community during lockdown. As these stories show, it’s been a real pick-me-up for many of them.
“Recently found a sett about 20 minutes’ walk from our home in Edinburgh. Family of 5! Wildlife makes lockdown so much better.” - @ric_james_lander on Instagram
“I'm back on badger watch now we are able to drive to places and meet up with a friend. We've been the last few nights and seen a few adults and so far only 3 cubs peeping out from the hole. They don't seem to be venturing out far just yet. It's been pretty cold up there in the woods this week! However, more than worth it to catch a glimpse of these beautiful animals.” @phillippawaite on Instagram
“My husband, myself and our 1 year old have started leaving nature cameras in our forest during lockdown. Every day we get baby in his sling rain or shine and go check the cameras. It’s a great hobby that we can all enjoy and it’s so rewarding. We can’t sit and wait for live wildlife action due to having a noisy 1 year old, so cameras are an alternative. We’ve especially enjoyed watching mummy and baby badger. We have an Instagram page to show case our footage and I’m shocked at the amount of friends that have told me they’ve never seen a badger, only dead once on the side of the road.” - Carrie Mccubbing @aeforestwildlifewatch on Instagram
“I have been watching a badger sett in woods close to us, I grew up next door to the woods for over 25 years so knew where every sett was and was able to show HIWWT where they all were when I became a volunteer warden 8 years ago. At one sett that’s completely out of the way, I am able to set up 3 trail cams and have over the last year got some funny, interesting footage. I have also been going down to watch and photograph them, which I love. During this time it has done me good to go out on my own and enjoy them in the fresh air and birds singing away. They've got 4 babies where they didn't have any last year. I also get to see a lovely stag most times in there and specific foxes that are in the same area and frequent the set and eat with the badgers and there babies. I love it” - yolanda_stutleyphotograpy on Instagram
Badgers and other wildlife
Of course, plenty of wildlife can be found in UK gardens and we’ve heard about lots of visitors other than badgers making an appearance too.
“We are immensely lucky to have up to 10 badgers and several foxes visit us every night. They are massively entertaining (especially the new cubs) and being able to watch them is certainly therapeutic in these troubled times.” - @biomechanoid23 on Twitter
“My badger clan have always loved my wee bowl of water. Then the rooks and crows come and pick out the peanuts that wash out of the badgers teeth whilst they drink!” - Annette George on Facebook
“I have 3 bowls of water out. 2-3 badgers, a fox cub, and 3 hedgehogs visiting at the moment.” - Pamela Elizabeth Woodcock on Facebook
“Had this in the garden, unfortunately no badgers.” - Joy Hyams on Facebook
“I'm no photographer, but did manage to snap this impressive beastie in the shed last week. Tube web spider, fearsome fangs!” - Chris Tian on Facebook
“We had a whole family visit our garden a couple of years ago. Also worth noting that it was during a prolonged dry spell like we’re having now and we always put peanuts, dog food and water out for badgers and foxes when the ground gets hard and they can’t dig for worms in many places. We were sitting on a bench in the garden at dusk and they came within inches of our feet! Beautiful creatures, but quite argumentative with each other. ❤️” - @vegandytn34 on Instagram
Graeme on Twitter summed up perfectly that feeling of watching badgers and why it’s a great antidote to troubling times.
“Literally just got in from watching badgers tonight. The adrenaline hit as they emerge from the sett is unbeatable... Any worries or problems are a million miles away when a badger is in your eyeline!” - @fatty231 on Twitter
Photo © @fatty231 on Twitter
Do you share the love for badgers these members of our community have? Join us for more badger chat over on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter as well as in our monthly newsletter, which you can sign up for here.
Read next: COVID-19 Cub Rescue Challenge
Kavita Ashton, Badger Trust
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