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Badger mauling

Home Forums Hedgehog tales Badger mauling

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 15 total)
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  • #21789

    Hi All,

    I’ve been encouraging Hedgehogs to live in and visit my garden for the last 4 years. Up until Monday night I had 4 living on Hedgehog houses and the occasional visitor from the park next door. At 3am on Monday morning I was awoken by a hell of a sound outside and looked out to see a large Badger mauling a Hedgehog on the patio. I scared it away but by the time I got downstairs it was back. I managed to get it to drop the hedgehog and flee (I won’t say how because someone will criticise me) but alas the hedgehog was critically mauled and died as I tried to stop the blood from a number of wounds. It was a truly traumatic experience for me. The cries of the injured Hedgehog were sickening and the badger didn’t want to give up its prey and back down at all. I’d have never have thought that a badger would come into my garden (we border a recreation ground but are in town, maybe there’s less people around and it was emboldened ?
    Since then no Hedgehogs have turned up to feed at night. Fearing the worst I just went to quietly check in the houses and happily two remain but are obviously partially hibernating. So I’m wondering if this is a Hedgehog defense mechanism ? ie they go back into partial hibernation to escape danger or wait for danger to pass ? Has anyone else noticed this ?

    #21791

    Nic

    Hi Zanderk

    So sorry to hear about that sad incident. Sadly, once a badger has got a hedgehog in it’s mouth, it’s unlikely to survive. Badgers have strong jaws and it’s likely that hog would already have internal injuries. I can quite see how it must have been really upsetting for you.

    I know it’s very distressing but try not to think too hardly of the badger. They have been persecuted as hogs have and like hogs are just trying to live whilst their habitats are diminishing. Be aware that badgers are protected by law.

    Badgers, it seems are becoming more common in towns and suburbs, as much wildlife is.

    Normally hogs keep a low profile when there have been/are badgers in the area. i.e. the hogs potentially move to other parts of their range, or possibly even to new ranges. It’s a bit worrying that the two hogs in the boxes may also have been injured. But not all hogs have come out of hibernation yet, so it’s possible that they are ones who haven’t yet come out of hibernation.

    You didn’t mention whether you have been supplementary feeding the hogs, but if you have, you really need to stop feeding them until/unless you are certain that there are no/no longer badgers in the area. I know it’s difficult if you have been feeding the hogs for a while, but, to put it bluntly, feeding them would be gambling with their lives. Even if you were able to make a feeding station strong enough to keep a badger out, it could still catch them as they went to or from it. It is likely that if there are badgers in the area they/it will be back. So you need to leave a period of time when it might return and ideally ask around to see if anyone else has seen badgers. Not so easy in the present circumstances, I know, but maybe possible.

    If you are lucky and after a suitable length of time you are certain that there are no longer badgers in the area (i.e. if by chance it was a badger that was only passing through) you might find that the hogs feel safe enough to return and that you can risk offering food again. But please don’t do this until you are absolutely certain, or there may be some more sad fatalities.

    As I have said elsewhere on the forum, a badger with a taste for hedgehogs is a greater risk to hedgehogs than going without supplementary feeding for a while. Hedgehogs have a chance to find food in the wild and are potentially more alert when they are being completely wild. They may have come to see any feeding station as a safe place and lower their guard.

    I wish you and the hogs the best of luck. I hope that you will eventually get hogs back in your garden.

    #21794

    Hi Nic,

    Thanks very much for coming back to me, it’s appreciated. 100% understand your logic and I’ve seen the same in other animals, (like foxes). Once they know where a good source is they’ll return. 5-6 years ago the same happened to a neighbour of mine and all of her hogs were killed. We didn’t know it was a badger at the time but now I’m pretty sure it was the same.
    Fortunately there’s only one entrance to my garden that a badger can enter through and I’ve now sealed this up but at the weekend I’ll install a staggered Hedgehog entry that only they can get in and out should I get more Hedgehogs visiting in the future. I will take in the food as I understand your logic and hope some more return. The two hogs in the houses have definitely been out of hibernation (I know them well and where they live), they aren’t injured, there’s no blood trail and as you point out once it gets one it doesn’t get away often. I’ll let nature take its course and respect both animals, difficult as I find it in me to do so. Thanks again.

    #21974

    Hi –
    I was wondering if you had an update on this situation.
    Thanks

    #22065

    Yes I have an update.

    3 nights after the initial visit I had a hedgehog visit the garden. He wasn’t one of my residents but often came through to eat. He was recognisable but a bleached area on his back. The next morning one of my neighbours called me to say that a Hedgehog was dead in one of the driveways mauled. It was the Hedgehog I’d seen visiting and the marks, blood stains and scratches were typical of a badger. For a week I saw no more Hedgehogs and I believed them all to have been taken. This has not turned out to be the case though. The two remaining resident Hedgehogs had gone back into a mini hibernation which I think is a defense response when a predator is visiting their territory regularly. So I still have 2 resident Hedgehogs, I’ve stopped any possibility of badgers being able to access my property but they still run the risk of being attacked outside the boundaries of my garden. I hope of course the Badger has moved on but nature is nature and I cannot intefere.

    #22205

    What a shame about another badger victim.
    Sadly as humans take away the natural habitat of wildlife their habits change. Nature is changing and sadly there doesn’t seem to be anything we can do to stop it.
    I hope the badger has moved on and your other Hedgehogs have remained safe.

    #22446

    I don’t think habitat loss is such an issue with badgers nor do they seem to have a shortage of natural food (grubs are prolific this spring after the mild winter)
    I am wondering if Hedgehog numbers are higher in towns and villages because people are trying to encourage them. This creates a higher localised density leading to more predation. I deal with golf courses and despite what you think, a large area of a golf course >90% is unmaintained and therefore great for wildlife vs. agricultural land. I’ve asked my customers and they seldom see a Hedgehog in the wild or evidence of one.

    #22475

    Nic

    It isn’t so much area of land which badgers have a shortage of, but as with hedgehogs, of suitable land. That is land not only to find sufficient food – apart from anything else, they eat a huge number of earthworms (in that they compete for food with hedgehogs) but also places to make their homes. (Use of chemicals in the countryside can have an impact on food availability for wildlife.) Badgers, unlike hedgehogs are communal animals, so that the area needs to provide food and suitable homes for several badgers. Not only do they need all that, but they also need to somehow avoid persecution.

    Hedgehogs have probably always been in towns and villages, at least as long as towns and villages have existed. I imagine they were in the areas where towns and villages now are, long before humans were. It isn’t so much that numbers have increased in towns and villages, as that numbers have decreased in the wider countryside. That is down to things like loss of suitable habitat in the countryside, how the land is used, etc. i.e. loss of hedgerows, use of chemicals, etc. Our gardens, although often not ideal, supply a sufficient amount of natural habitat ‘substitute’ to enable hedgehogs to cling on to existence there. Clearly as the area of human habitation expands and some gardens become more minimalistic, it makes it harder for the hedgehogs, which is why we hog lovers need to do all we can in our own gardens to make it suitable habitat for them.

    Of course by feeding hedgehogs, we are encouraging hedgehogs to congregate in larger numbers than normal (in feeding areas). Hedgehogs are normally solitary animals, other than mating and the rearing of young. (Rearing young is done by the female and the male plays no part in that). As I have said elsewhere, feeding the hogs does make it easier for badgers to catch hedgehogs, in an area where badgers are also present – Just as feeding wild birds in the garden makes it easier for sparrowhawks, although they, perhaps, have a little more finesse.

    Yes, golf courses do have large areas of unmaintained land, but (and I am not a regular visitor of golf courses) I imagine that it varies in suitability for hedgehogs from one course to another. There is also the question of possible use of chemicals which might deter hedgehogs. Also, to be fair, unless someone was specifically going out during the hours of darkness to see whether there were hedgehogs there, they would be unlikely to see them.

    #22477

    Nic

    It isn’t so much area of land which badgers have a shortage of, but as with hedgehogs, of suitable land. That is land not only to find sufficient food – apart from anything else, they eat a huge number of earthworms (in that they compete for food with hedgehogs) but also places to make their homes. (Use of chemicals in the countryside can have an impact on food availability for wildlife.) Badgers, unlike hedgehogs are communal animals, so that the area needs to provide food and suitable homes for several badgers. Not only do they need all that, but they also need to somehow avoid persecution.

    Hedgehogs have probably always been in towns and villages, at least as long as towns and villages have existed. I imagine they were in the areas where towns and villages now are, long before humans were. It isn’t so much that numbers have increased in towns and villages, as that numbers have decreased in the wider countryside. That is down to things like loss of suitable habitat in the countryside, how the land is used, etc. i.e. loss of hedgerows, use of chemicals, etc. Our gardens, although often not ideal, supply a sufficient amount of natural habitat ‘substitute’ to enable hedgehogs to cling on to existence there. Clearly as the area of human habitation expands and some gardens become more minimalistic, it makes it harder for the hedgehogs, which is why we hog lovers need to do all we can in our own gardens to make it suitable habitat for them.

    Of course by feeding hedgehogs, we are encouraging hedgehogs to congregate in larger numbers than normal (in feeding areas). Hedgehogs are normally solitary animals, other than mating and the rearing of young. (Rearing young is done by the female and the male plays no part in that). As I have said elsewhere, feeding the hogs does make it easier for badgers to catch hedgehogs, in an area where badgers are also present – Just as feeding wild birds in the garden makes it easier for sparrowhawks, although they, perhaps, have a little more finesse.

    Yes, golf courses do have large areas of unmaintained land, but (and I am not a regular visitor of golf courses) I imagine that it varies in suitability for hedgehogs from one course to another. There is also the question of possible use of chemicals which might deter hedgehogs. Also, to be fair, unless someone was specifically going out during the hours of darkness to see whether there were hedgehogs there, they would be unlikely to see them.

    (apologies if this eventually appears twice)

    #22714

    Hi Nic,

    Firstly there are no registered chemicals in use on golf courses for the control of insects and earthworms. There hasn’t been for 5 years now and in my experience that has led to a huge amount of food for badgers and hedgehogs alike. Agriculture has lost most of its insecticides as well so probably food isn’t an issue. Greenkeepers are into work typically from 5am so tend to be around in the hours of darkness or dawn when I’ve seen hedgehogs around here so maybe it’s just the type of habitat that doesn’t suit. Totally agree with loss of hedgerows.
    I’d say the nearest badger set to my garden is about 1 1/2 miles from here. I know the countryside here well and have been a resident from 1969. It is like you say, if we create a habit and supply food for a species then we provide an opportunity for that species predator. Since hedgehogs are in decline I’d rather encourage them and take the consequences rather than not.

    #23824

    I have been feeding hedgehogs for 3 years , with cameras at the feeding stations. For the first time since I started , I have had a badger looking for the food in the feeding boxes. The first time he succeeded in opening the boxes, but on subsequent visits due to increased security he gave up trying. The hedgehogs returned to the food soon after he left, and I could see no evidence of predation. My garden has thick hedgerows and dense undergrowth close to the feeding stations which gives good shelter for the hogs. There could be as many as 8 or 10 regular hogs visiting and I am concerned for their safety. I have installed a 500 watt security light which comes on when anything larger than a hog comes in range. There is no obvious situation for a badger sett in the gardens which surround my house, the only suitable habitat is the local golf course which has a housing estate and a major road intervening. We have foxes on a regular basis, but I assumed badgers would be too wary to cross through urban areas. It did occur to me that the current traffic reduction might be e reason for this to be happening. I am very reluctant to stop putting out food and particularly water, of which there is no obvious source in my locality. I can’t see that not feeding the hogs will stop a badger from taking them if it so inclined. There is nowhere else for them to go other than the surrounding gardens, where they will no doubt succumb to the many and varied illnesses which come with insufficient food and water. Can anyone confirm that badgers are deterred by human urine ( male!), or is this a fairytale. I have tried it around the feeding stations, much to my wife’s dismay, and I haven’t seen the badger for a week, but that could be a coincidence. I hope it works.
    Thank you for any input.
    Ray Godwin

    #23859

    Nic

    Hi Ray

    Some people do say the urine thing works – and yes, male – something to do with the testosterone. I would be inclined to put it around the boundary of your garden rather than just the feeding area. But the more gardens the hogs have access to the better so that they can forage for natural food. What we feed them is only meant to be supplementary. But even if you stopped feeding, I would definitely not stop putting water out. It’s harder for the hogs to find water than to find wild food.

    The worry about feeding stations is that the hogs may develop a false sense of security around them. Whereas if they are foraging more generally they might be more alert. But it’s good that there is good cover near the feeding areas.

    I believe badgers are becoming more common in urban/suburban areas. You might be lucky and the badger might just be passing through looking for a new home – if, for instance it’s previous home has been disturbed. But the traffic or non-traffic may have contributed. Usually when badgers move into an area hogs vote with their feet and move out. So if they are still visiting they might know something you don’t! Fingers crossed either the urine is working or the badger has moved on.

    Good luck.

    #23904

    Many thanks Nic. No further badger appearance so far. Many hedgehogs, so I am keeping my fingers crossed!
    Ray.

    #34601

    I too thought my garden was badger proof but last night one dug a filthy great hole under my back fence! I caught him on camera by the hedgehog house at 2.43am – none in residence and although he sniffed the feeding station, he gave up when he couldn’t negotiate the chicane entrance.

    I have retiree flats at the back of me and that’s where the badger came from. They openly feed the hogs. Someone there recently heard a loud scream and witnessed a badger mauling a hedghog and eating it. Quite distressing.

    I’m wondering if this means I have no chance now of hedgehogs in my garden – I’ll persist with all the activities listed to encourage them but have little hope :(.
    JD

    #34611

    Nic

    Hi JuDu

    Sorry to hear about the badger. Sadly they will eat hedgehogs and often if badgers live in an area, hedgehogs will not be there. But don’t blame the badger, it is only trying to survive like everything else. It is humans that have decreased the habitats of both hedgehogs and badgers, so that the two species are more likely to come into conflict.

    The only hope is that it is a displaced badger looking for a new home and will move on. Although it sounds from what you say that it has been around for a while. But once a badger has found out how easy it is to kill a hedgehog there’s nothing to stop it doing it again. So it could be argued that by continuing to encourage hedgehogs to somewhere where there are badgers present it could be encouraging them into a dangerous, life threatening situation.

    It’s a really difficult problem that I don’t envy anyone. Doubly difficult to know what to do for the best with some hogs already beginning to hibernate and others needing to feed up in prepaparation.

    But when I had a badger here once, I stopped feeding the hogs until I was sure it was no longer around and that would still be my instinct. Luckily that one never came back and must have just been passing through. The problem is, if others are feeding hedgehogs nearby, the badger may have found a regular source of food (the hedgehog food apart from anything else) and remain.

    I’m guessing you have read what’s been said previously about badger problems.

    Sorry there aren’t any easy answers. Just hope the badger moves on. But if you do stop feeding. Please leave water available all day every day. Several sources dotted around might be best in the circumstances – near to cover. Wide but shallow plant saucers are ideal for that.

    Good luck – fingers crossed the badger moves away from the area.

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