European Badger

Badger 3

General information

This is one of the largest members of the Mustelid family with a strong, powerful robust body of dense silvery grey fur. Their heads have the distinctive black and white striped pattern and white tips to the ears. Badgers can weigh up to 20–24 kg in autumn, before being less active over the winter but they do not hibernate. Badgers are the UK's largest land predator preying on small mammals, eggs, worms, fruit and plants. They are also one of the only predators of the hedgehog, using their long claws to get past the spines!

Badgers are very sociable creatures, living in a family group of 5 – 20 members. They have a strong hierarchy and can be very territorial towards other rival family groups. A group of badgers is called a clan or cete or colony. They live in underground burrows called a sett.


Latin name - Meles meles

Class - Mammalia

Order - Carnivora

Family - Mustelidae

IUCN Status - Least concern

Habitat - Woodlands, forests and adjacent grasslands

Distribution - Throughout Europe and Russia

Average Lifespan

5 - 8 years


Habitat loss, hunted for sport and car collisions

Fun Fact

Old, well-established setts, similar to ours, may have over 50 rooms underground with as many as 30 entrance/exit tunnels on ground level for just one colony!

Keeper Notes

Originally, five wild rescue badgers were released into this conservation sett before 1997. Since then keepers have continued to provide food and water to the sett. As you can see the old family have progressed with some impressive excavation works to their home. Some years, we have spotted several youngsters out playing in the late evening, even cohabiting with foxes in the off show Wild Rescue Badger sett to the right hand side of the lynx enclosure in Wallaby Wood.

In the sett by the Nightwatch Barn, we currently have a wild rescued badger, Eira (boar). He joined us from a rescue centre in 2013 from Hart Wildlife Centre, after he was deemed unfit for release as a very small runt. Eira was joined by Daisy in June 2021. Although slow to take to one another, Daisy and Eira now spend most of their days sleeping in their underground sett together!

NFWP Lowerres 07945

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