What are the features of a badger?
Badgers are relatively small mammals, but are easily recognisable with their distinct black and white striped pattern head. They are nocturnal animals, meaning that they are most active at night, so will rarely be seen throughout the day.
A badger has an excellent sense of smell. They will use their powerful scent glands in order to send messages to the rest of the group. Badgers can give off scents to symbolise many things, for example, mating status and warning signals.
How do badgers live?
Badgers have extremely sharp claws and strong paws which aid them to dig in the ground. These black and white beauties will dig long tunnels in the ground in order to live and raise their young. This is called a badger’s sett. A badger’s sett will be made up of many tunnels and chambers and can be spread across many meters of land.
Within their underground sett, UK badgers will live in groups of between four and eight. These groups are known as a cete or clan. As well as living in a group, badgers are also independent animals. They will venture off on their own in search of food and tend not to stay as a group when foraging.
What do badgers eat?
As a species, most badgers are omnivores, which means they feed on both meat and plants. If you are attempting to attract badgers into your garden, the WildThings Badger & Fox Food is a great complementary food for a badger’s diet and, when fed regularly, can encourage badgers to visit your garden.
When can I expect see baby badgers?
Badgers typically give birth only once a year. This happens around mid to late winter (January-March). One to five baby badgers, also known as cubs, can be born in one litter.
With reference to
According to a survey completed by the British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS) and People’s Trust for Endangered Species, the population of wild hedgehogs has halved in the last decade, with less than a million hedgehogs existing in the UK today.
Why is this happening?
There are multiple contributing factors as to why our spiky friends are in decline in the UK. Some of these include:
- Destruction of habitat – Hedgehogs thrive in hedgerows, and as we growingly use land for human resource, i.e. housing, farmland, roads, more and more disruption occurs to wildlife and in particular, hedgehogs.
- Excessive use of pesticides – These are very harmful to invertebrates which provide a valuable food source for hedgehogs.
- Garden fences – Hogs need to have access to gardens to look for food. However, many of us now have fences in place which stop hogs from entering our gardens completely, therefore they have no option but to navigate the roads.
- Busy roads – Sadly, a lot of our hedgehogs are suffering fatalities as a result of our busy, intrusive roads.
How can we help?
In order to help our native hogs thrive again, the best place to start is in your own garden. By completing the steps below, you can ensure that you are doing your bit to secure the future of these iconic creatures:
- Cultivate a wild corner in your garden to make your hedgehog feel at home. It will love to hide and also to look for wild food sources.
- Avoid using slug pellets and other strong pesticides if possible. These are extremely harmful to hedgehogs.
- Leave a ramp or slope out of your pond so hogs can climb out
- Avoid handling baby hogs unless orphaned, as the mother will abandon them. If you do have to handle a sick or injured hedgehog, ensure you are wearing protective gloves i.e. gardening gloves or thick plastic ones
- Hogs seen in daylight are usually hungry, thirsty or ill. When in doubt, contact your local hedgehog hospital
- Leave food and water out in shallow dishes each evening at dusk
- If you have a fully fenced garden, ensure that you create a ‘hedgehog highway’ by cutting a small hole in the bottom of your fence so that hedgehogs can come and go as they please.
Further advice and info on hedgehogs
If you would like any further information on how you can help our UK hogs, or you have found a hedgehog in your garden which you suspect needs your assistance, contact the British Hedgehog Preservation Society on 01584 890801.
It’s so easy to transform your garden into a wildlife haven in time for summer. Wildlife will thrive in your garden if you provide food, water and shelter. That is why we have put together these top tips for you to follow so that you can create a wonderful wildlife world in your back garden.
Feed the birds
It is very likely that you will get a plethora of birds visiting your garden if you put out a bird feeder. The feeder does not have to be expensive, however, you will attract a wider species variety of birds if you put out different types of bird food. A bird feeder or hanger will give you wonderful views of natural bird feeding behaviours. Our winged friends will also be glad of the extra nutrients to complement their natural diet, especially in bad weather conditions.
Build or develop an existing pond
By building a pond, you are providing a thriving habitat for many members of the wildlife world. Planting aquatic plants will make your pond attractive to wild ducks, frogs, dragonflies and many more species. Aquatic plants also provide shelter from predators and habitats for wildlife. Ensure that the edges of the pond are gradual so that any ducks or other animals have an easy entrance and
Make your garden hedgehog friendly
As hedgehog numbers are lower than ever in the UK, it is so important to make small changes in your garden to encourage our spiky friends to visit us and stay healthy. In order to attract wild hedgehogs, you will need to ensure that they have access to your garden. Hedgehogs will usually enter through the bushes. However, if you have a fence, you will need to cut a small hole in it in order for hedgehogs to access your garden. Hedgehogs are likely to visit your garden every evening if you put fresh food and water out for them. They will soon learn that your garden consistently provides a tasty food source, and will remain loyal visitors.
Hedges are a great addition to your garden. They can encourage many insects, birds and mammals to visit. Hedges which grow berries are very attractive to wildlife and so will encourage a range of friendly visitors.
Think bee friendly
With the number of bees in the UK in decline, you can do your bit to help prevent extinction by making your garden bee friendly. As most of you know, bees need pollen for the vital task of fertilisation. You can help by choosing plants for your garden which provide nectar and pollen for as long a season as possible.
Swans, Britain’s Royal Birds, need our help and protection in order to prevent their numbers from rapidly declining. They are beautiful, majestic creatures and are the largest bird within the duck and goose family.
What should I feed to swans?
Feeding bread to swans and ducks is a fond pastime for many of us, reminiscent of happy childhood trips to the local park. But, did you know that there are healthier alternatives to bread which are much better for swans and the environment?
Our #BetterThanBread campaign raises awareness to the fact that bread is not the best thing to be feeding to swans or ducks and that there are many healthier alternatives including frozen peas, sweetcorn or lettuce leaves. Bread can make swans and ducks feel very bloated and therefore prevent them from eating other foods which provide a better source of nutrition. In addition to this, uneaten bread allows bacteria to breed and attracts rats and other vermin.
What if I find a baby swan on its own?
Swans are very alert parents and so a young baby swan, also known as a cygnet, found alone could mean that it is orphaned. As with many young creatures, baby swans are vulnerable. If you find one that you are sure is orphaned, put it safely into a cardboard box that contains a clean cloth.
You should then contact a reputable swan rescue agency who will provide you with advice on how to care for it until they can collect it.
Should I handle a sick or injured swan?
If you suspect that a swan is sick or you can see that it is injured, it is better to contact the RSPCA, SSPCA, USPCA or a reputable swan rescue agency, than to attempt to handle a distressed swan yourself.