Badgering On

On Monday, riding into Bigtown for an appointment, I was startled to see a badger crossing the road ahead. It was 1:30 in the afternoon, and badgers are properly nocturnal, and more to the point even if they are out in daylight they don’t generally then curl up on the verge and appear to go to sleep, before only grudgingly moving into a ditch when a curious blogger on a bike approaches.

So clearly this was not a well badger, a suspicion that was confirmed when I returned a few hours later to find it now apparently asleep on the tarmac (this is a quiet road). Despite me standing over it for a good ten minutes, and someone else approaching in a four by four, it didn’t move although it was still breathing. Sick or not, I wasn’t going to attempt to move it (even a sick badger can be quite formidable if it takes exception to your actions, however well intentioned) so finally I went home, got in touch with the SSPCA who promised to send someone round, and hoped for the best.

Sadly, the best wasn’t to be, and there was a rather sad badger corpse beside the road when I cycled past the next morning. I also contacted the Badger Trust because there had been no visible marks on the badger, so I was concerned that it might have been poisoned (badgers don’t carry TB in Scotland, but that doesn’t always make them popular with farmers). Anyway, I’ve just heard that the badger in question was probably hit by a car after all. Apparently they often sustain internal injuries without appearing to hurt. This one just took a while to die. So no crime as far as the badger trust was concerned – just another ordinary death on the roads.

Which is good news of a sort – it would be worrying to learn that someone around here was either illegally poisoning wildlife, or else was so careless with poison that badgers were getting poisoned by mistake. But then again, it’s a sign of how blase we are about roadkill that hitting a badger with your car (and they are pretty solid – I’m told they can make quite a dent) and leaving it die is okay. Sad too that my best ever look at a badger (and they are extraordinary creatures when you see them close up) was one that was dying.

Fortunately that’s not the only wildlife sightings we’ve been getting in recent days though. Our adult hares have now been joined by a leveret which has taken to ambling around the garden in an extraordinarily fluffy and endearing way which makes up for its habit of nibbling on the flowers. Hopefully it will stay where it is and not venture too far onto the roads …


10 Responses to Badgering On

  1. zoeforman says:

    Shame badger had a slow death .
    Down here we are in a TB Badger Cull zone so it probably would have been a poisoning
    Yours sounds as if it was hit at night and crawled out in daylight Poor thing

  2. Thanks, Sally, for educating me in the fact that a leveret = young hare!! 🙂

  3. Badgers are such a contentious issue. Very sad. I do take a good look at roadkill animals if I get the chance. I will confess to having an owl in the freezer, I picked up from the road side. Not sure what I’m going to do with it though!

  4. welshcyclist says:

    Yes, it is very sad that we rarely get to see larger mammals, and sadder still that we only get close up at road kill. I felt the same when I saw my first dog otter on the A465, a beautiful creature, and I wasn’t expecting it to be so large, an incredible sight, and so heartbreaking at the same time.

  5. Flighty says:

    How sad. They’re wonderful creatures and I despair at what we’re doing to them xx

  6. disgruntled says:

    Hopefully a by product of the cycle campaigning will be fewer dead badgers!

  7. Mac says:

    I had a Mexican stand-off with a badger last year. We both came to a farm gate at the same time, but in different fields and obscured from each other by a hedgerow and the wind. (It was early evening in the summer.) We both stood stock still, looking at each other for about 30 seconds, maybe five yeards apart, neither knowing how to react! In the end I risked a step forward – and the badger legged it!

  8. Andy in Germany says:

    I’m not suprised. Many people here seem to accept the 12 deaths per day on German roads, and my own son being rushed to hospital due to air pollution as collateral damage.The main response last time as “Well you lived in the wrong place”.

  9. wisob says:

    I once saw a badger late at night on the cyclepath in the middle of Edinburgh.
    If I was driving at night on my own in the middle of nowhere and I hit a badger I would be sorry but I’d probably not stop – what could you do?

  10. Charles says:

    I took a drive down to the Dorset coast yesterday and I was amazed at the amount of fresh roadkill. Pheasants, foxes and badgers mainly, no wonder the buzzards and kites are doing so well, the roads are one big larder for lovers of carrion. I thought peak roadkill was later in the year when the young pheasants are released, they really are stupid, but by now any that have survived for a year in the wild are usually a bit more street wise.maybe the warm weather has distracted them?

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