Meet the Badgers that call Gosforth Nature Reserve their home in this latest blog.
The badgers in Gosforth Nature Reserve are members of an extended family, known as a clan, living in several different setts. The cubs are born in February and are first allowed out of the sett at about eight weeks of age. The first trail camera video shows badger twins the very first night their mother brought them above ground. One cub retreated into the sett after a couple of minutes but the other was bolder and keen to explore, even though it could only just walk. The whole episode lasted for ten minutes but I have edited it down to just two.
Badgers are mostly nocturnal for much of the year but nights are short in the summer and they are often out and about well before dark, especially if the sett is in a secluded spot. These are the same two cubs at about 14 weeks, getting in the way as their mother takes fresh bedding into the sett.
With only two cubs in the family they have only themselves as playmates. The next video shows one sensible cub and one naughty one who just wants to play.
Badgers are usually solitary foragers but they socialise when they first come out of the sett in the evening, before setting off to feed. Here the cubs are four or five months old and are learning to join in mutual grooming with other family members.
Badger cubs are independent of their mother by about five months but usually stay within the family group as they grow up, although some will disperse in adult life to join a neighbouring clan. Cub survival is related to the weather. In a dry year, like last year, earthworms are hard to come by and mortality is higher. In a wet summer like this one food is easier to find and survival is better.
You can catch up on May 2023’s Journal about the Roe Deer at the reserve here.
For more videos of Gosforth Nature Reserve’s wildlife, North East Nature, and various citizen science projects within the region, please visit our YouTube channel here.