Badgers are a member of the weasel family and their closest relatives are stoats. Despite this, badgers have no resemblance to their small cousins and are around 90 centimetres long.
Although they’re nocturnal, during the summer they often come out in the day so you may be lucky enough to spot one and may even see some cubs too. Whilst badgers do not hibernate, in winter they may spend days on end hiding underground in their homes which are called ‘setts’. A badger sett is a large maze of tunnels and passageways with anything from 1 to 100 entrances but the average sett has around 6 entrances.
Badgers are rarely seen in urban areas but they do wander through gardens and across roads if they’re foraging for food. They like to eat insects, fruits, nuts and bulbs. If there are badgers in your area, encourage them into your garden with an offering of peanuts or raisins. If they do come into your garden be careful not to frighten them – keep your distance, stay quiet and avoid switching lights on and off as this will scare them away and they may not return. Badgers are not an endangered species, they’re just very shy and are not often seen.
The Badger Protection Act prohibits any ill-treatment towards badgers including capture, injury and damage to setts. If you witness such behaviour be sure to report it to the police.
The average lifespan of a badger is 3 years but they can live up to 15 years.