The Outdoor Classroom

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Badgers on Mellow Farm

The European badger (Meles meles) belongs to the family of mammals known as the Mustelidae.

The name badger comes from the French word "Becher" meaning digger. You can see how great they are at digging when you see the Badger setts at Mellow farm.


Badgers are nocturnal;they do not actually hibernate but they conserve their energy in the winter as it is harder to find worms and grubs to eat. Badgers also eat a range of plants when worms are scarce. In the autumn adults can weigh as much as 14kg (31lbs). Male badgers are called boars and females; sows, their young are cubs. Badgers are protected from harm with the 1973 Badgers Act.

They have built their sett under the trees as the sandy soil could possibly collapse the large burrows. The roots from the trees help give them strength. Slopes are chosen to make digging easier and to help drain the burrows from rain fall. Badgers need some cover to hide their cubs when they come out and play, so woodlands and large hedgerows are a great place for them to live as long as there are plenty of food sources such as worms and insects. Badgers have huge claws that are great for digging. One main sett is used all year and for breeding; a network of tunnels linking smaller chambers. The dominant boar will have the choice of the best sett and is head of the group. They have territories called clans and will defend their patch against neighbouring badgers, marking boundaries with their dung.

a badgera badger sett

Many pictures from around the farm