12 March, 2024

Still no sign of the badgers.

It was a wet night. Female badgers, especially pregnant ones, are known to often just stay underground at this time of the year in bad weather. Sometimes even for weeks if they have enough body fat, which these well fed badgers surely do.

The accidental entrance (a collapsed tunnel roof)

It was hard not to wonder if they'd managed to escape somehow, and fled like this perhaps

This clip is of our recent wild visitors returning home one night (on the 2nd of March) through a "hole" in the fence separating our wood from the rest of the wood. They pass through here sometimes and then cross a road about 200m further on.

To see if I might have missed something, especially in the parts not covered by CCTV, I paced the fence again. It was all in order. It's had a few broken strands here and there over the years but all have been repaired with zip ties.

I knew it would be impossible to look through hours of CCTV if it rained last night so, in anticipation, I posted trailcams on trees overlooking the sett entrances. If a badger looked out and decided to stay in I'd know. But... not a sign. And of course, the covers remained on their dishes (keeping the rain off their food).

When replacing the chips in the trailcams I took one of these with me

A Lidl middle-aisle thing a man must have: a infrared digital thermometer
A digital infrared thermometer

and, just for curiosity's sake, I took some readings from inside a couple of open entrances – the first they used from their crate and the "accidental" one that was last seen in use.

The tunnel under the "roof" entrance runs from left to right in the photo above. The temperature readings were (approximately): 6 degrees C pointing to the right and 8 C pointing left. Inside the other entrance it was also 6 degrees. Many things could account for the difference, and much would depend on just how far underground the badgers are.

Has anyone measured temperatures in badger setts I wondered?

It turns out they have: Temperature and humidity in badger setts. The authors of this research paper found a 2.4 C difference between occupied and unoccupied chambers. Their probes were, of course, in the chambers.

With any luck the badgers found some old bedding from previous residents and dragged some fresh straw in. I'd like to think to think they're comfortable.