How, When and Where to See Badgers across the UK
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Finding Badgers?
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Finding Badgers

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Encounters in the wild
Do It Yourself?

If you want the challenge of finding your own badger sett and watching the badgers which live there, you will need to learn some field craft skills. One great way to learn this is to use some of our booklets and presentations, you you know what sights and sounds to look out for. Good places to start include these guides:

Badger Groups

Another great way to see badgers is to join your local Badger Group. Your local wildlife trust or the Badger Trust can put you in touch. Getting on for 100 groups have been formed by local enthusiasts who want to study and protect badgers. Your local group may well know the best time and place to watch badgers around a suitable sett or hide.

Also, Badger Groups often provide many positive ways to help badger conservation. These sometimes include protecting badgers from diggers and baiters by installing reinforced Artificial Setts, helping with care and rehabilitation of injured badgers, having Badger Tunnels and badger-proof Fencing added to New Road schemes and giving advice about setts in the way of Property Developers.

Badger Protection

Whilst badgers and their setts are still protected under the Law, too many badgers are still captured or killed and their setts destroyed or damaged. If you are looking for badgers, be aware that in some areas some people still wish to persecute badgers; so take care - especially if you see any suspicious vehicles or people. Most badger groups will know the locations of local badger setts, but will often keep these a closely guarded secret. Publishing a list of badgers setts would simply result in more badgers being persecuted and setts damaged.

Taking care of yourself and the badgers

However, if there isn't a local Badger Group, you may be able to find your own Evidence that badgers are living in an area.

  • Whatever you find, take great care with that information - otherwise the next time you visit the sett you might find it ripped up and the badgers dispersed or killed.
  • If you do find a badger sett, a telephone call to your local Badger Group (or the Badger Trust) would not go amiss. You might have discovered a new sett that they can help protect or monitor; and they may be able to use the information to prevent or mitigate the effects of any undesirable developments.
Finding Badgers

Review the things to look for on our evidence page, then follow these guidelines for successful sightings:

  • Make a reconnaissance first to watch a sett for the first time.
  • The morning is a good time since any scent you may leave will mostly have dispersed by the time the badgers emerge.
  • Try not to disturb the vegetation and avoid touching, kneeling or stamping about near the entrances and on the main badger paths.
  • Early summer is the best time for watching cubs since they are most likely to be above ground then.
  • Wear inconspicuous, warm clothes which do not rustle, and don't smoke or use scent.
  • Check that you are downwind of the sett to avoid detection.

Badgers can be a lot of fun to watch. With time and lot of patience, you might even find cubs learning to tolerate your presence and snuffling at your shoe!

Characteristic Signs of Badgers

If you would like to watch badgers there are several signs to look for, to help you decide if badgers are around. Some of the most noticeable are:

  • Badger paths linking sett entrances and foraging areas
  • Tufts of black and white hair caught on barbed wire
  • Foot prints
  • Claw marks scratched on tree trunks
  • Spoil heaps of earth outside sett entrances
  • Bedding dropped on paths or near sett entrances
  • Bundles of bedding aired on sunny days by sett entrances

Remember it is a criminal offence to disturb badgers, or damage, destroy or obstruct their setts.

To Learn and See More

The best way to learn more, and get involved with badger conservation and protection is to join your local Badger Group or to contact the Badger Trust.