Badgers are the UK’s largest member of the Mustelidae family, which also includes otters, stoats and weasels. They are very distinctive with silvery grey fur on their bodies and black and white markings on their heads and faces.
With short legs and stocky builds, badgers have strong, elongated claws for digging and forming complex underground dens, called ‘setts’, some of which will have been in use for decades.
Badgers are nocturnal and may live a solitary life or form clans living in ‘setts’. Following a gestation period of seven weeks, litters of up to five cubs are born in the spring, within underground chambers of the sett which contain bedding. The young are weaned a few months later but usually remain within the family group.
64,000 in England & Wales ⚪
Omnivorous – earthworms, insects, grubs, roots, fruit, hedgehogs and bird’s eggs
Woodlands, using networks of underground tunnels and chambers known as ‘setts’ dug typically in soft, well-drained soil in shaded woodlands
Throughout Europe, but particularly abundant in southern England where they are found living in large clans
Badgers are relatively common and not threatened. In the UK they are legally protected from killing, persecution and trapping, in addition to the destruction of their habitats, without a license. However, in 2011, culling was introduced as a solution to bovine tuberculosis which some badgers carry. Commencing in two ‘pilot zones’ in 2013, by the end of 2016, 15,000 badgers had been shot across 10 licensed zones in seven counties in the west of England; the vast majority of which were perfectly healthy. Badger communities that have existed for thousands of years were disrupted and destroyed.
Our campaign to bring an end to the culls, and instead promote far more effective methods of controlling bovine TB. These include better cattle testing, movement controls, biosecurity measures, and the development of vaccines to protect both cattle and badgers.