If you have a garden or keep small farm animals like chickens, you probably don’t relish the sight of a badger in the area. You may be wondering how to get badgers out of your space.
The good news is, there are a couple ways you can easily get badgers out of your lawn and garden. They are very scared of humans, so you can simply approach them while making noise, and shining a light if it’s dark. You can also trap them and relocate them to get them out for good.
Knowing more about badgers and the methods of getting them out will help you ensure they do not harm your lawn or garden.
How to Get Badgers Out of Your Garden?
It is important to remember that in many areas, badgers are protected. This means it is illegal to kill them. For example, in some areas, such as the United Kingdom, laws like the Protection of Badgers Act (1992) prohibit killing or injuring badgers. But there are a few non-lethal methods to get badgers out.
Scaring Badgers Away
A quick and easy way to get a badger out right away is by scaring it off, because badgers are scared of humans. In fact, badgers are more afraid of people than of some animals, as one study showed!
The study examined what sounds scared badgers the most. The researchers played recordings of growling wolves, bears, dogs, and humans talking. Surprisingly, the sounds of humans talking had the biggest effect on badgers – when the badgers heard the sounds of people’s voices, they stopped eating completely, even though they had been feasting on peanuts.
So, if you see a badger in your garden or yard, make loud noises while moving toward it. If it is dark out, shine a light on the badger. Since badgers are nocturnal, they will not like the light, and they will leave.
The problem with scaring a badger away is that it will most likely come back – and next time, you might not be on hand to scare it off. One way you can hopefully keep it from returning is by trapping it to relocate it.This can be a more permanent fix than simply scaring it away.
When setting the trap, move carefully to avoid scaring the badger off.Badgers’ eyesight is not very good, so as long as the wind is not blowing your scent toward them, they most likely will not notice your approach. You can set the trap a distance away from the badger and bait it to encourage the badger to go to the trap.
The best bait to use is meat that has become tainted but is not yet spoiled. If the meat is getting a little on the old side, it is probably perfect to use. To further encourage the badger to check out your trap, you can use a lure, such as fish oil or natural badger gland lures.
You should lightly cover the trap with loose dirt or plant material, so it looks natural. Try to avoid leaving your odor. You might consider wearing gloves while setting the trap, so your scent does not get left on the trap.
After the badger has entered your trap, you should proceed with caution because a caged badger can become violent, and it will do everything it can to escape.Make sure the badger is secured in the trap before relocating the badger to an area several miles away. This is important because badgers have been known to travel over 12 miles.
What Time are Badgers Most Active?
Generally, badgers are nocturnal, sleeping during the day and coming out at night. But badgers don’t pay attention to the clock, so they do not come out at the same time every night – it depends on what season it is.
Time of Year
Usually, badgers will come out at sunset, which may be later during the summer and earlier during the winter. But sometimes they will also come out while it is still light out, especially in the summer when the nights are shorter. They need to have enough time to find food.
Since badgers are less active during the winter and so need less food, they will come out later on, usually well after dark. If the badgers’ den catches more light from the setting sun, they will come out later than badgers whose den is in the shadows.
Weather is another factor that determines when badgers come out. If it is pouring rain or very windy, they may come out later. This may be because they do not feel as safe in these weather conditions. But since they also like to eat worms, they may come out earlier if the night is damp. On the other hand, very dry weather can also nudge them to come out earlier because it is harder to find food, and so they will need to spend longer foraging for food.
When badgers have cubs, they will often spend more time foraging for food. Cubs are usually born in February, and for the first 12 weeks of their lives, their mothers find food for them. Sometimes mothers are among the first to leave the den for the night because they need to find food for both themselves and their young.
Finally, badgers naturally fear humans. Because of this, in dens that are closer to populated areas, the badgers may be less likely to come out early.
Do Badgers Eat Ground Squirrels?
Badgers are omnivores, and their diet does include small animals such as ground squirrels. Badgers also eat other small rodents, such as pocket gophers,deer mice, wood rats, moles, marmots, prairie dogs, and voles. Badgers help control the local rodent populations.
But the largest part of a badger’s diet consists of earthworms, grubs, and insects. However, they also have a taste for the eggs and young of birds that nest on the ground.
In Britain, badgers are the main predators of hedgehogs, so much, in fact, that hedgehog populations in areas known to have badgers are noticeably smaller! Badgers eat so many hedgehogs that hedgehog rescue societies do not release hedgehogs in areas known to have badgers.
While most of a badger’s diet consists of meat, they do also enjoy plant material such as roots and fruit. They have even been known to get drunk after eating rotting fruit. In one case, a badger broke into someone’s home and ate mashed potatoes and ice cream!
Is It Illegal to Kill Badgers?
If badgers are becoming a problem for your animals or garden, you may have considered killing them to get rid of them. But the legality of killing badgers depends largely on where you live, so you should always check your local laws.
If you live in England or Wales, it is illegal to kill or injure a badger, damage a badger den, disturb a badger in its den, or cause a dog to dig for a badger. But there are some exceptions. You can get a license to kill a badger if it is justified. For example, when building a new road, construction teams can get licenses that allow them to disturb the badgers’ den if it is in the way.
In the United States, the legality of killing badgers depends on what state you live in. In Michigan, Wisconsin, and Illinois, it is illegal to hunt badgers. But it may be legal in other states, so you should research your laws before taking action.
Will a Badger Kill Chickens?
Chickens do not make up a badger’s normal diet. But badgers are very strong and if they are hungry, they have been known to tear off pop doors and wooden panels from chicken houses to kill chickens. They will usually only kill one bird and take it away, but they can come back for another if they are very hungry.
Generally, badgers can only get into a chicken coop if a panel is already weak. They can also break through the pop doors where chickens go in and out of the coop.
While badgers do not normally kill chickens, they will steal eggs. Eggs are part of a badger’s normal diet, and they can be attracted to the tasty chicken eggs. Luckily, there are a few ways you can keep badgers away from your egg supply.
Keeping Badgers Away from Your Chickens
You can keep your chickens safe from badgers by making sure their coop is secure. Repair any damages to make it less likely a badger will get in.
If your coop has a wooden floor, you should also make sure it is elevated off the ground. When it sits on the ground, the wood floor can rot, making it easy for badgers to dig under and break in the coop.
If the coop has a dirt floor, you should install strong, sturdy fencing at least a foot and a half underground. This should not be chicken wire. While chicken wire will keep your chickens in, it will not keep other animals, such as badgers, out. Checking this fencing often for holes will ensure that no badgers will be able to chew through a weak spot.
In areas with many badgers, it is best to keep your chickens in an enclosed run. But if your chickens are free range during the day, you might consider installing electric fencing around the area. Badgers will likely not come back once they get a shock from the fencing.
Since badgers can get in through pop doors, it is a wise idea to lock these doors at night. You can use a padlock or swivel lock.
At night, you should make sure your chickens stay in their coop. Even if they have a secure run, it is much safer to coop them up during the night. And if they are free range, you definitely do not want to leave them out at night. Putting them in their coop before dusk will give them a chance to get settled for the night.
Where Do Badgers Live?
There are actually two different types of badgers – the European badger and the American badger.
The European badger is native to Europe and some of Western Asia. In Europe, these badgers live in countries such as Great Britain, France, and Germany. In Western Asia, you can find this badger in countries such as Afghanistan, China, Israel, and Iran. Between the 1980s and the 1990s, Great Britain experienced a 77 percent increase in the badger population.
Badgers prefer areas like woodlands, pastureland, and clearings, but they have also adapted to urban living, and you can also find them in places such as urban parks. They also live in mountainous areas up to 2,000 feet.
The American badger lives in the Midwest in the United States because the that part of the country is more open. They prefer open plains and prairies, and they avoid more wooded, rocky areas. They prefer areas with sandier soils because it allows them to dig for food more easily. Badgers also like areas abundant in small rodents such as mice, rats, and squirrels.
Generally, American badgers live in areas west of the Great Lakes and through the Great Plains and Rocky Mountains. They prefer somewhat warmer climates, but you can also find some in Canada. In Ontario, they live in the most southwestern region of the providence, usually on the north shore of Lake Erie.
Why are Badgers Culled?
In the United Kingdom, badgers are such a problem that they have to cull them each year. From the 1980s to the 1990s, badgers increased in the United Kingdom by 77 percent. It is estimated that the total badger population in the United Kingdom is about 288,000.
Why Do Farmers Kill Badgers?
There are several reasons farmers kill badgers, including the fact that badgers can get into the garden and eat plants, and badgers can steal chickens or their eggs. But the main reason farmers kill badgers is because badgers can spread bovine tuberculosis.
Spreading Bovine Tuberculosis
Badgers carry the Mycobacterium bovis, which is a slow-growing bacterium that causes tuberculosis in cattle. Humans can catch this form of tuberculosis, but health control measures such as pasteurizing milk and the BCG vaccine mean humans are not likely to catch it.
Domestic animals usually get bovine tuberculosis by inhaling infected droplets that have been expelled by another animal through coughing. Infection can also occur by contact with a wound from an infected animal, although this is less common. Because the disease is slow moving, one animal can spread it to many others in the herd before you detect it. In modern cattle housing, the ventilation is often good enough that the disease will not spread, but in older housing, it can spread easily.
The disease is not treated in animals because it takes too long to treat, and it costs too much. Because of this, cattle infected with bovine tuberculosis will die.
In the 1980s, bovine tuberculosis was limited to a few isolated areas in England. But now it has spread to areas of the west and southwest of England and Wales. It is possible this is because of the lack of badger control.
Cost of Bovine Tuberculosis
This poses a huge cost to the farmer. Not only do they have to purchase replacement animals, but they also have to routinely test animals for bovine tuberculosis. If the first bovine tuberculosis test was positive, the farmer has to test the animal again. And if there is a bovine tuberculosis outbreak in a herd, the farmer is also required to give a pre-movement test.
While the government subsidizes some of this, the farmer is still left with a fair amount of cost. The average cost of a bovine tuberculosis outbreak in a herd in England is about £30,000. The government will pay about £20,000 of this, and the farmer must pay the other £10,000. This cost comes from loss of earnings, such as no milk sales from infected cows; disruptions to business; and the cost of testing.
How Many Badgers are Culled Each Year?
In recent times, culling started in 2013 in Gloucester and Somerset. It increased in 2015 to include Dorset, and in the 2017 cull, 19,274 badgers in 21 areas were culled. And in 2019, the number of areas where badgers are culled has increased to a total of 43.
While culling badgers seems to be effective at limiting bovine tuberculosis, some people oppose it. They believe there is no evidence that badgers are the primary cause of bovine tuberculosis, and that instead, it primarily spreads through cow to cow contact.
Are Badgers Vermin?
Badgers can carry disease, such as bovine tuberculosis. They can also cause a number of other problems, such as digging holes in your lawn. But there are a few ways you can keep them off your lawn.
Keeping Badgers off Your Lawn
Since badgers eat a variety of food found underground, such as earthworms and grubs, you may find that badgers are digging in your lawn. If it is particularly dry out, worms will burrow deeper into the ground, and so badgers will dig deeper to find them, creating more holes in your lawn.
On the other hand, a freshly watered lawn will make the earthworms come up to the surface, and badgers will be more attracted to your lawn to eat the worms. You can reduce these problems by not watering your lawn as much and letting the grass grow a little taller – somewhere around two inches or more.
Badgers also love the larvae of insects such as crane flies and chafer beetles. These insects will lay their eggs on the grass, and when the eggs hatch, the larvae will feed on the roots of your grass. The more of these insects you have in your lawn, the more the structure of your grass will deteriorate. When badgers go digging for the larvae, the grass’s deteriorated condition will make holes created by the badgers even worse.
You can prevent this from happening by improving your lawn’s quality. Some ways of doing this include raking out moss, using a non-bone meal fertilizer, and repairing damaged parts. You can also create air holes in the lawn with an aerator and fill the holes with a sandy mixture to allow air and water in the lawn. You should do this each year in the autumn.
If you are just planting a new lawn and you know you have a badger problem in your area, you can prevent them from doing any serious damage before you start planting. You can lay some 2mm twine netting before you seed the area to prevent badgers from being able to dig down.
Foraging in Your Lawn
Badgers love finding food such as fruit and plant roots. If you plant bulbs in the autumn, badgers will often come along and dig them up to eat. You can prevent them from digging up your plants by putting weld mesh down so they can’t lift it up. The plant will still grow through the mesh, but a badger will not be able to dig it up.
To avoid attracting badgers to your lawn, you should always clean up fallen fruit and food from bird feeders.
Looking for Shelter
In some areas, houses have been built in areas that badgers have always lived in. If badgers are digging their setts where you live, you should tread with caution. Depending on where you live, badger setts may be protected by law, meaning you cannot disturb them. You should always check your local laws before taking action.
If a younger badger has a fight with the dominant badger in the sett, it may leave the sett for a short time and look for shelter elsewhere. This may include places in your yard, such as under a shed or in a barn or garage. You can prevent badgers from hanging out in your yard by enclosing areas under buildings and porches, and keeping buildings tightly closed.
Are Badgers Blind?
When badgers are first born, they are both deaf and blind. After about four to six weeks, their eyes open. But even before their eyes open and they start to see, they start to chew on kills their mother brings them.
Because badgers are nocturnal and spend most of their time underground in their setts, they have poor eyesight. They have very small eyes. Like many other animals, they can’t see in color – everything looks black and white to them. They can’t see details very well at all, but they can make out shapes and movements.
Badgers have a third eyelid that protects their eyes from flying soil and debris. They do not have great eyesight during the day or night, but they can see well enough at night to detect their prey.
While badgers generally have poor eyesight, they have excellent hearing and smelling. They will most likely hear or smell you before they see you.
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