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Badger problem?

Home Forums Champions’ chat Badger problem?

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    We have around 10 regular hedgehog visitors, including currently three young ones. We feed them sunflower seed hearts and crushed peanuts (vegan family) and all has been great. Last night when we went to see which hogs had arrived we found a badger eating the food. It was quite a surprise as we are in a semi-urban area. It was there an hour or two after we usually see our first hog but last night no hogs came at all – even before the badger was seen.
    My questions are –
    Is the badger a danger to our hogs?
    Have they gone elsewhere because of it?
    Should we continue to put food down or leave it a while so that the badger leaves us all alone?
    Thank you!

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    Hi Heather T

    I am sorry to say, because I love badgers too, that they could be a danger to the hogs and the hogs may well, move elsewhere if there are badgers around. I believe badgers are becoming more common in urban areas.

    Badgers and hedgehogs lived in harmony together for a very long time until humans drastically reduced their available habitat. They both compete for similar foodstuff (earthworms, beetles, etc.) and now there isn’t always sufficient food in any given area to cater for both species. Badgers will also, on occasion, eat hedgehogs, although I don’t believe they are their prey species of choice. I have heard of badgers eating side by side with hedgehogs, but it is a risky thing for a hedgehog to do – I have also heard of a badger turning on and killing a hedgehog it had been eating beside.

    Whether or not to continue putting food out for the hedgehogs is a tricky one, and something you will have to make a decision about yourself. It could be argued that the hedgehogs need food even more if they are having to compete with badgers. There could also be an argument for feeding the badgers, so that they are less likely to be hungry and eat the hedgehogs. However, both of these are potentially encouraging the two species into closer contact with each other. But, this is not a good time of year for hedgehogs to suddenly lose their accustomed food source – in the run up to hibernation, especially the youngsters.

    Maybe you could badger proof your garden and only allow access for the hedgehogs? And link it to other gardens which are also badger proof. Although they would still be at risk outside the garden, it wouldn’t be as much as when they were distracted by eating, and at least they would be able to feed in safety. I would definitely make some sort of area which the badgers couldn’t get into for the hedgehog’s feeding station.

    There is just one other thing, if you are going to continue feeding the hogs and they come to rely on it to any extent. Sunflower hearts and peanuts do not have a very good ratio of Calcium to Phosphorous so can contribute to calcium being leached from the bones. They are not quite as bad as dried mealworms, but could still cause problems, especially to hoglets if they are fed them exclusively. It is difficult if you are vegans, but hedgehogs do need to eat other things as well.

    I don’t know what I would do in your situation. I don’t envy you, your decision. Perhaps, in the long term, trying to improve the habitat in your garden, (and trying to persuade your neighbours to do likewise – not always easy, I know) might help a bit – because ultimately loss of suitable habitat is the main problem.


    Thank you Nic. We have a very hedgehog friendly garden, adjacent to the wild area of a town park so our hogs have lots of space to roam. Our neighbours have gardens much like ours too. Making our garden badger proof will be impossible so last night I created a badger proof feeding area for the hogs.
    We saw just one juvenile hog – and the badger. It’s most upsetting as all of our other happy hogs have not been seen since the badger arrived. I hope that it is just passing through and we’ll get back to normal soon.
    As much as I love to see wildlife, including badgers, I would rather have the hogs!

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    Hi HeatherT

    I know I would be very unhappy if the hogs here all left. There is something about hogs which endears themselves to us. We all try to create little spaces where they can be safe and then if something beyond our control comes along it can be very upsetting. It sounds a lovely place for hogs and that you have done all you can. Now let’s hope it is just one roaming badger and he moves on somewhere else – very soon. Fingers crossed.

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