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Badger Deterrents

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Many people would like to know what they can do to deter badgers from coming onto their land and/or causing damage or making a mess. Badgers and their setts are protected by law, so there are strict limits as to what you can do within the law.

The options fall into these main areas:

  • Do Nothing - accept badgers as part of your life and learn to tolerate and damage they do. Remember, that badgers do provide some benefits too - such as eating many insect pests, pest species such as mice, rats and rabbits and tidying up any carrion.
  • Badger Fence
  • Chemical Deterrent

Here are a list of some things that do not work very well:

  • Sensor to detect something coming into the garden, then spraying it with a water jet (there is a product called a ScareCrow). Often works for a few times against a badger, but most get used to it in the end; so tend not to work long term.
  • Sonic deterrents - these use a passive-infra red system to see if an animal has entered a defined area, then they sound a varying high-pitched noise to try and frighten away various animals (e.g. CatGuard). Yes, they may work with mice and cats; but there is no evidence that they work against badgers or foxes in the long term.
  • Security Light - against these come on with a passive-infra red. Yes the badgers might be a bit spooked the first few times, but they soon get used to the fact that the light comes on; so they are not a deterrent long term. The same applies with flashing lights (the sort of orange lights you'd sometimes see on top of an AA/RAC van or a large JCB or tractor).
  • Special smelly plants such as the well known Plectranthus caninus or Coleus Canina (sold as Scaredy Cat). These plants are said to work because they give off a strong smell in full sunshine or when the plants are disturbed or their leaves being ripped. Badgers are nocturnal and they don't generally bother with eating leaves; so these remain unproven at deterring badgers. We reckon they are not likely to deter badgers at all.
  • Prickly plants such as holly. Badgers dig into wasps nests and are pretty immune to the stings; and they will often make their setts in areas protected by holly bushes and brambles. Verdict: prickly plants are no use to deter badgers; but they might stop burglars!
  • Spicy food ingredients do not generally work as badgers readily eat food scraps and will easily cope with curries, peppers, chillis. They will just add a bit of variety to the wide range of doods they eat.

Before going out to the shops and buying a load of expensive stuff, it's worth trying to understand the badger and WHY it might be coming on to your property and annoying you.

About Badgers

Badgers usually emerge from their underground homes around dusk and patrol their territory looking for food (and sometimes mates). In their search for food, they can do some damage, such as digging holes in lawns and flowerbeds, pulling down tall crops (such as corn) and rooting through waste bins and bin bags. Badgers will also scratch or roll up turf to get at insect pests (i.e. food) which live in the turf. Badgers may also scratch tree trunks and wooden fences to clean their claws. Badgers follow certain paths regularly - these showing a characteristic well-worn appearance with flattened vegetation. The paths are generally clean, neat and tidy; and may show their muddy footprints in wet weather. Generations of badgers may use the same paths - and they may continue to use the path, even if you build a fence across it.

Badgers do their poo either in holes in the ground (called latrines) or as a marker on a territorial boundary path. Close up, you may get a smell of musky poo; but badger poo does not usually smell as strongly as fox poo. Badger latrine areas may be in use for many years - especially if they are near a main badger sett. Poo left on paths tends to be left so occasionally you might as well just pop it into a plastic bag and put that into the nearest dog poo bin.

Remember, if a badger is pooing in a quiet corner of your garden; it will still poo somewhere even if it can't poo there. It might be better that the poo stays in a quiet corner where it is out of sight, to somewhere else where it might be more of a problem.

For further information

For more information refer to the publications which are available for download here:

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