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"It was rather like having a baby in the house again. At first I fed him every three hours, night and day, although I was soon able to cut out the nightly feeds and, as his tummy grew bigger, give proportionately more by day. He loved his bottle and would put his two tiny forepaws round the neck of it as he sucked lustily to the last drop."
From Page 19 of Brocky the Badger by Sylvia Shepherd

Food for Badgers

Badgerland online shop

Badgers and fresh Water

Badgers tend to get most of the water they need to survive from the food they eat. However, they can be at risk of dehydration if they can not get enough wet food to eat (i.e. if the weather is too hot and dry; or during long freezing periods). In these circumstances, putting out a large metal tray of fresh water can help badgers get enough to drink.

Badger cubs may have slightly different needs than adults. If you have cubs visiting, water can be invaluable for them. One cause of cub death is coccidiosis (this is an intestinal inflammation caused in badgers by Eimeria melis and Isospora melis.  As these parasites reproduce, they cause serious intestinal bleeding, which leads to very watery diarrhoea. Consequently, the cub loses substantial amounts of water as well as salts and various nutrients. Most adult badgers will have developed an immunity to this, but cubs will not have developed an immune response. A good springtime water supply can be vital for badger cubs. In a sense, for cubs at risk in the spring and early summer, a clean water supply water may be more important than food. 

Academic Note:

Journal of Animal Ecology

Feeding Specialization of the European Badger Meles meles in Scotland

H. Kruuk and T. Parish 1981 British Ecological Society.


(1) The food of European badgers Meles meles L. is described from six areas in Scotland, using faecal analysis. The estimated relative volume of various foods in the diet is compared with the frequency of their occurrence. Variation between areas and differences between seasons are related to food availability, and the food diversity and variance of different foods with time are presented.

(2) The dominant food everywhere was earthworms, Lumbricus terrestris L. and L. rubellus Hoffmeister but their importance in the diet varied little in time and between areas, and there was no correlation with availability. Other less important foods included rabbits, cereals, insects and tubers, and several minor food categories; they were consumed relative to availability in those cases where this availability could be measured.

(3) It is suggested that badgers change their foraging effort to compensate for fluctuations in earthworm availability, consuming a range of secondary foods opportunistically.

Academic Note:

Food habits and trophic niche overlap of the badger (Meles meles L.) and the red fox (Vulpes vulpes L.) in a Mediterranean coastal area.

Ciampalini, B | Lovari, S

Zeitschrift fuer Saeugetierkunde [Z. SAEUGETIERKD.]. Vol. 50, no. 4, pp. 226-234. 1985.

Studied the diets of badgers (Meles meles ) and red foxes (Vulpes vulpes ) in a coastal area of West-central Italy, using faecal analysis, throughout a year. Both volume and frequency of occurrence of different foods were quantified. Arthropods were the staple of both species in spring and summer whereas fruits were the most important resource in autumn and winter. The diet overlap of badgers and foxes proved very extensive, in spite of minor differentiating details.

RSPB Spotlight on Badgers book
James Lowen explores the lives of badgers and their communal living, feeding habits and threats to their conservation. Click here to buy:
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