Badgers are widespread in Britain but are most common in the south
west, rare in East Anglia and only thinly distributed in Scotland.
It is estimated that there are between 40,000 and 50,000 social
groups of badgers in Britain, made up of 250,000 to 400,000 adults which
produce around 170,000 cubs a year. There is considerable variation in
the size of social groups, so these figures can only be estimates.
Claims made by some people that the UK countryside is swarming or
riddled with millions of badgers are utterly false - this has no basis
Badger mortality is high, with perhaps half of all badgers dying each year. Road traffic accidents
with Motor Vehicles are a major cause of death.
It does not matter how long a badger clan has lived near a busy road,
but they never seem to develop any road sense; and never seem to see
vehicles as a concern until it is too late. The maximum life
expectancy of a badger is about 14 years, though very few survive so
long in the wild.
Deciduous woods, copses and hedgerows are the most usual locations
for setts - especially if this is near open cultivated land.
Alders are often associated with badger setts, so look for the
patches of these trees. Elders will grow near setts because badgers eat
the berries and pass the seeds unharmed through their guts before
depositing them in the droppings near their sett. Here the seeds will
germinate and eventually become bushes or trees.
- A well-established Sett is unmistakable. It will normally have
anything from 3 to 10 entrances, and a few have been found with more
- These entrances and exits are at least 25 cm wide - much larger
than rabbit holes.
- Outside each entrance is a large pile of earth which includes
dried plant material such as grass, hay or straw. This is old bedding which
has been discarded.
- You will usually see a latrine close to an entrance too.
- Look out for signs near the sett that the badgers have been
foraging: you may see dead leaves disturbed where they have been
badger collects bedding material (such as hay, straw and leaves), rolls
it into a bundle and drags it backwards into the sett.