Here in Cornwall, badgers (‘Brock’ is the old name for them) are an important part of the countryside. They largely live on earthworms and slugs but are also not averse to fruit, and small mammals.
They are distinctive looking creatures with their black/white stripy heads, mainly seen at night. Shy, elusive animals, badgers are striking in appearance, rather ambling, but brilliant diggers, whose name is said to derive from the French bêcheur. They growl, bark and even scream, depending on what’s happening around them.
Despite books like Wind in the Willows, portraying them as characters (although Mr Badger is rather gruff) they are not as cuddly as they look.
Sadly, with the badger cull, they now have a sullied reputation for carrying bovine TB. It’s a complicated debate.
A couple of interesting facts from the Natural Lizard website: if a badger sadly dies within a sett (home), other badgers will seal off the chamber and dig a new one, giving it a form of burial. They sometimes share their setts with red foxes or rabbits, providing protection for them from predators. There is more info here on the Badger Trust website.
All in all, badgers are amazing creatures. If you are driving at night in Cornwall, you may well meet one. You can help them by driving carefully in the dark. Keep your beam on if driving on our famous single-track country lanes, and be aware that if you see one badger on a road, another may well follow. Kill your speed, not a badger!
You are unlikely to see a badger in daylight unless injured, but beware, an injured badger can be dangerous. If you come across one, contact 01736 797740 or 07831 121949 for Cornwall Badger Rescue based in St Ives.
To ensure you see some in their natural habitat, try organised badger watching.