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Caution - Badgers!
Get expert help before you deal with an injured badger! Ideally, find some-one who has been trained to handle a badger.
Approach every badger with extreme care - even one which is apparently comatose may move suddenly! If the badger appears unconscious, use a stout stick and carefully prod the sensitive areas near the eyes and mouth, to check that it really is unconscious. Stay out of reach of its teeth or claws and remember that badgers may inflict severe bites! Keep stout stick between you and the badgers mouth, so it can bite the stick before it can bite you. NEVER pick up a badger by the tail. If the badger struggles, it will be able to bite or scratch you anyway; and you may end up dislocating its tail too.

Vehicles

Badgers are also killed by being involved in road traffic accidents.

It is thought that up to 50,000 badgers are killed every year by traffic on Britain's roads and railways.

Roads

The peak time for badgers being killed on the roads is in late-spring and the summer. This is because there are more Cubs about at this time of year and badgers are having to travel further for food.

Road users can help by taking care when driving - especially in areas where badgers have been seen before. Warning Signs for drivers can help, as can badger-proof Fencing along roadsides; and environmental management to keep them off the roads. One example is allowing worm-rich pasture on the sett-side of the roadway or railway (a badger will tend not to travel as far if there isa very good food source on its doorstep).

It is also possible to construct special Badger Tunnels under New Roads - although this is most often done where hitting a badger might cause human injury or where there is a big badger population.

Badger tunnels have been constructed under the M5 motorway in Somerset. Although it did take the badger a few years to use it, that tunnel is now saving badgers' lives (and reducing car accidents on the motorway).

A much better idea is the use of Wildlife Bridges - as these provide natural, wide, green walkways over roads and railways which are suitable for all animals; and avoid the risks of flooding by rainwater or salt- or foul-water run-off or pollution from the road surface.

Railways

Also, some badgers are killed by being hit or electrocuted on Railway lines. However, railway lines tend to be better managed for wildlife than before - especially as allowing badgers to dig under a railway line or in an embankment can cause subsidence.

Despite the high number of accidents, badger populations in some areas still remain high.

Risks to People

Hitting a badger with a motorbike can mean that the rider is seriously injured or killed.

Hitting a badger at high speed (for example on a motorway) can cause the driver of a vehicle to lose control, potentially resulting in a serious traffic accident.

It is an order of magnitude cheaper to build a wildlife tunnel under a new road, before the new road is built, than when the road has been completed. For details of how to build wildlife tunnels, please contact a Badger Consultant.

Helping Out

For some ideas on how to help badgers cross busy roads and railways, look at our Badger Tunnels page.

Academic Notes:

Biological Conservation Volume 86, Issue 2, November 1998, Pages 117-124 - Received 8 August 1997; revised 9 January 1998; accepted 14 January 1998
Effects of roads on badger Meles meles populations in south-west England
G. Philip Clarkea, Piran C. L. Whitea, * and Stephen Harrisb
a Environment Department, University of York, Heslington, York YO1 5DD, UK
b School of Biological Sciences, University of Bristol, Woodland Road, Bristol BS8 1UG, UK
Abstract
Roads have two major impacts on the landscape with respect to badger populations:
(1) the imposition of barriers that reduce or prevent dispersal, and
(2) the increased mortality caused by road traffic.
Road traffic is the largest single cause of recorded death for badgers Meles meles in Britain.
We used data collected by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food during the mid-1980s to quantify the effects of roads on badger populations in south-west England. The probability of badger fatalities per km were expressed as ratios of the number of road deaths per unit length of road for different classes of roads. The relationship between badger road deaths and traffic load appeared to be asymptotic. Despite large differences in traffic load and traffic flow on motorways, dual carriageways, class A and class B roads, they all had similar rates of badger fatalities per unit length of road, which were approximately six times greater than that for class C roads. These results suggest that high traffic loads may discourage badgers from attempting to cross major roads, and that these may therefore reduce movements between adjacent groups. Traffic levels on Britain's roads have already increased by 26% since these data were collected. As traffic loads increase further in the next century, the mortality and fragmentation effects of roads on badger populations locally are likely to become increasingly significant.

Academic Notes:

Journal of Zoology Volume 211 Issue 3, Pages 525 - 529 - Accepted 10 June 1986

Seasonal distribution of road kills in the European badger (Meles meles)

J. M. DAVIES 1 , T. J. ROPER 1 and D. J. SHEPHERDSON 1 1 School of Biology, University of Sussex, Brighton, BN1 9QG, UK

Copyright 1987 The Zoological Society of London

ABSTRACT

Data from 984 road-killed badgers collected in the south of England during 1984 show a bimodal distribution in mortality for both sexes, with peaks in mortality occurring in spring and late summer. There was no significant difference between the total number of males and females killed, and no difference in the seasonal distribution of deaths between the two sexes. Nor was there evidence that dispersal of young animals contributes to either of the seasonal peaks in mortality. We suggest that the seasonal peaks in mortality reflect increased activity in conjunction with mating.

Academic Notes:

Road-kills of badgers (Meles meles) in Denmark

Aaris-Sorensen, J

Annales Zoologici Fennici [ANN. ZOOL. FENN.]. Vol. 32, no. 1, pp. 31-36. 1995.

The first major survey of road-killed animals in Denmark, conducted in 1991, showed that more than 3 600 badgers Meles meles, equal to 10-15% of the total population, had been killed. Most badgers were killed during the summer when traffic intensity was highest. The traffic-victims were very unevenly distributed across the country. This is not explained by differences in local traffic intensities alone, but also by differences in population density of the badger and the surroundings of the roads. Almost all road-killed badgers in 1992-93 were adult, and female badgers were killed most frequently during spring whereas male badgers were killed throughout the year.