19 September 2016
Which of the badgers visiting the latrine at the corner of our wood are alumni of our badger rehab establishment? One can't tell by looking at them. We haven't seen the female with the tied-around-the-middle look lately (a legacy of scarring from an illegal snare).
It's weeks since the camera has seen a badger visit from the wood: mostly it records visitors who enter from the road. Usually they leave again having "checked the notice board" or used it -- by scent-marking the earth, or digging and using a latrine hole, or just scuffling the ground, or some or all of these.
Are the graduates of our badger finishing school on the near (wood) side or far (road) side? Both? Neither?
The only sure way to tell would be to check for and read their microchip tags. This is not so easily done, but might perhaps be managed if they could be inveigled to walk under a reader (which I do not have -- yet?), to eat something. Peanuts, say, something badgers are fond of.
I put a dish out with peanuts in it last night and covered it with a bit of wood and a rock, as one does to keep the foxes from getting them. They are regular visitors.
Here's what happened last night:
The dish was just sniffed. Had the peanuts been been eaten it wouldn't have proved anything, but recognition of the covered dish and consumption with gusto might have suggested familiarity. They were old peanuts; this winter's stock's not in yet.
Still, any night we have visitors with stripes is a good one.