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The Badger

The Badger

Evidence suggests that badgers have been in Ireland for at least 5,000 years. Along with the stoat, mink and otter, the badger is the most powerful member of the mustelid family. However, badgers are born blind and vulnerable. Hearing and scent are important to a badger, as their sense of sight is poor. They are therefore vocal creatures and can be heard purring and growling. They are also nocturnal creatures and are rarely sighted by humans unless they have been a victim of road kill.

The badger's home is called a sett. A badger’s sett is generally found in hedgerows and woodland areas, just like Dún a Rí Forest Park. One sett can be home to a family group of up to twenty badgers, although five or six are more common. They eat a wide variety of food including; frogs, mice, fruit, cereals, berries, slugs, earthworms.

Young badgers are called cubs and as adults the males are called boars and female badgers are called sows. A litter of cubs usually consist of 1-5 newborns per sow and they are usually born between December and April. Cubs feed on the sow's milk up until they are about three months old. At around eight weeks old, the cubs will leave the sett for the first time. Fifty percent of cubs however, will die before they reach adulthood.

The badger is central in many fictional and mythological texts. In Irish mythology, the kinsmen of Tadg, King of Tara are said to change into badgers. Fictional badger characters include:

  • Mr.Badger' from the "The Wind in the Willows"
  • Tommy Brock' in "The Tale of Mr.Todd"
  • Badger' from "The Animals of Farthing Wood"

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