When I’m out and about in woodland I always look out for signs of our woodland dwellers. Badgers are one of our most well loved woodland mammals. Once you know what to look for you’ll be surprised where you find them.
Badgers leave a very distinctive track. They have five toes on each foot but badger tracks most often only show four toes. Fox, dog and cat also show four toes but in badger tracks, the toes appear almost in a line and they’re wider than they are long. You can see in this picture that the hind foot has been placed almost on top of the larger front foot.
Next up is a real badger classic. Badgers will often use a fallen tree or even a standing one to sharpen and clean their claws. It produces a distinctive five clawed mark. The picture here shows where they’ve used a conveniently placed stile.
Badgers often leave distinctive signs of feeding. They dig for grubs or to unearth plant bulbs and roots.
You’ll often find hair left where badgers have been. There’s no mistaking one when you find it – tough and wiry and a mix of black white and a little bit of brown. The only other hairs you might mistake them for is deer hairs. But deer hair is brittle and can be easily pulled apart (they’re hollow to trap air, just like your duvet). Badger hairs are tough as old boots rather like their owners.
Last but certainly not least are badger latrines. Badgers dig small pits (much the same as you’d find when they’ve been digging for grubs or roots) for use as latrines which once used are left open. No other British mammal does this so if you find one you can by 99% sure it’s a badger (100% only comes if you’ve actually seen Mr. Badge doing it!).