This is a video from the Badger sett last night. Scattered nuts and raisins are keeping them in front of the camera. All three Badgers seem to be in good health although Patch’s eye isn’t any better.
Okay one last Badger video for now but I should warn you that the camera is still out there and I will have to take “Poochy” out in the rain to collect it soon.
This video is interesting because…. The animal collecting the hay bumps into Patch, he has a little snap at her and she quickly scent marks him, maybe to remind him that they are on the same side.
His attitude and her quick response make me think that in this case he is the dominant animal. (Well obviously, she is the one making the bed). That doesn’t make him the alpha male though. Patch has two companions, I can’t tell them apart but I call them Timid and Brave. When a car passes Timid runs for cover but Brave doesn’t even look up from his foraging. That could have been Timid making the bed.
The scent marking is an important aspect of Badger life. Badgers have a scent gland at the base of their tail which they use to mark each other. Each Badger in a social group will mark every other Badger in that group, this creates a unique clan scent and if you don’t have that scent you will be chased off and even attacked. When animal rescuers have to take a Badger from the field to treat it they know that they must get it back before that clan scent wears off or the Badger will not be accepted back.
(I don’t know the sex of any of these animals, I just called them him and her to make the story easier to tell)
I used to bait my cameras with a large pile of food, a mix of nuts, fruit and seed and often cat food (I got cats). It worked very well and I got hundreds of videos of the animals in my woods.
Eventually I grew bored of watching animals eat nuts, I wanted to see something of their lives, more natural behaviour.
The problem is that a trail camera is static and getting animals to perform natural behaviour in front of it is difficult. Trail cameras are best for counting, identifying and gathering information.
I still bait my camera but these days I scatter the bait over a large area. A handful goes a long way and the animals have to work to find it. This keeps them in the area for longer and they often take breaks from their foraging to do other things.
I still like to see animals eating and this first video is just that, a herd of badgers foraging in the fields of England. Their beauty still moves me.