Wilden Marsh Badgers

I have said before in this blog that I and not in favour of building relationships with wild animals: they will die from disease, die on a road, or something will eat them. Having said this, I do like to give names to the more colourful characters.

If interested in nature, I feel a person should be able to watch animals being killed by others without feeling upset or a need to save them. I am interested in all animal behaviour. I want to know how they interact with each other, how they affect their environment, and how the environment affects them. I want to know what they eat and how difficult it is for them to make a living within the confines of a territory. I am nearly always looking for animal actions, reactions and reasons for why they do what they do.


One Eye

If there was one marsh animal that I felt was more interesting than another, or for whom I held more than a mild affection, it would have to be One Eye: the old badger. He is such a character. He growls, mutters, humphs, puffs, and coughs his way around the marsh. He reminds me of a little angry old man. Occasionally, whilst walking through the marsh on dark winter nights, I have heard him approach. He is easy to identify through my night scope and by the sounds he makes: he appears as a little one-eyed monster in the viewfinder. He pays little or no heed to me. Having only his left eye, he has to turn his head a good way around to his right if he wants to see me, and I don’t think there is an animal on the marsh with the courage to bother him – he has a mighty strong pair from paws and long sharp claws. I’ve found myself muttering, “How’s it going, One Eye.” I imagine him looking back at me and saying, “What? Oh! It’s you! Humph, grrr, cough, cough.”

I’ve come across One Eye on the narrow tracks of Hoo Wood. On one occasion I heard him huffing and chuffing along, switched my torch on and saw him coming at me like a train with Spike close on his tail. On at least two occasions I have had to lift my leg to let him pass beneath.

Whilst British badgers are social creatures, I usually see them out foraging singly. During the mating season I sometimes see them in pairs, and my remote cameras have photographed them singly, in pairs, and in family groups. Cullum, the camera fiddling badger, is always out on his own. The marsh foxes hunt singly and as a pair, and they have developed very effective hunting tactics, but they only hunt as a pair when providing for cubs.

There are many badger setts on Wilden Marsh and in the hills surrounding the Reserve, and they don’t stay in the same setts, they move around. In winter the badgers use the marsh setts and in summer they prefer their hill setts.

The River Stour is a favourite place for the badgers to forage and they love raiding wasp nests.

My camera traps capture some strange things out on the marsh.

Goblin hiding from a fox

A goblin hiding from the marsh red dog.

9 Comments on “Wilden Marsh Badgers

  1. Sounds quite a character. Years back there was a three legged wild badger in Brotherswater, known to the locals as Stumpy, who was equally resourceful.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think that an animal with a disability must be particularly determined to survive against the odds and successfully compete with the abled bodied. Perhaps those with a disability develop a greater dedication, persistence, and a certain wily nature that gives them an edge against those that see them as an easy meal. The longer they survive, the more skilled, devious and hard-nosed they might become. The animal kingdom doesn’t have a health or emergency service to help them on their way and disabled survivors probably work harder and are more visible, and therefore more vulnerable, than the able bodied animal they compete with.

      I’ve noticed dead moles and pigeons left outside the entrance to One Eye’s sett, and I know the north marsh fox calls there regularly. I wonder if the fox is delivering food to One-Eye.


  2. Great blog. I name all my badgers but purely so I remember who is who and I don’t have to keep referring to ‘The one with the damaged ear’ or ‘Last years cub’. Unfortunately I do end up getting attached to the animals on my local patch. When I’m taking photos or watching them on trail camera for months or even years it is very hard not too. It’s sad when one dies, but when ‘Small’ who was a badger that joined my local clan as an outsider was killed by the other badgers I understand that is part of how they live and survive. I do however, get very upset when humans play a part in the death or injury of one of the animals I follow, for example when the Vixen I had followed for 2 years got shot or when one of the badgers got caught in a snare.
    What do you think the ‘Goblin’ is?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Alex, and thank you for your comment.

      Some people anthropomorphise animals, and that’s OK with domesticated pets, but nature doesn’t have feelings. It can be difficult to kill and eat animals if we have feeling for them, but the truth is we do kill and eat many animals to survive.

      I don’t know what the goblin is: cat maybe.

      Keep up the good work with your own blog.

      Liked by 1 person

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