For those that read our last blog (What is it that you do?), you may remember Badgey Badge (BB) a big male badger had suffered severe injuries. He is a regular visitor to our garden, and over the recent weeks, we have been monitoring his progress. We thought now was a good time to issue a progress report. If you haven’t read our previous blog here is a quick recap.
As wildlife photographers, we spend a great deal of time watching animals in the wild. Moreover, this also extends to our personal time. A clan of local badgers decided our garden is a great place to stop off for a snack. We have been watching one individual BB for about 18 months, and a few weeks ago, he appeared in the garden after a short absence, with some severe injuries. At that time, he couldn’t use his front left leg and was having to hobble along using his other three legs. His left ear was also badly damaged, with many open wounds around it. Our concern at the time was that with BB’s limited mobility he would be unable to find enough food. Badgers need to feed almost every night, and at this time of year they put on extra weight in the form of fat. They use this fat reserve when the winter sets in and frost and snow makes finding their favourite food, earthworms difficult.
The great news is that BB’s leg is much better. He has been walking on all four legs for a few weeks. Gradually his limp has got better, to the point now that it is hard to see any lameness at all. The left leg seems to have a slightly reduced range of movement compared to the right, but in the last week or so BB has started to trot again.
The best news is that he is putting on weight. He has a way to go to catch up with some of the other badgers, but he is definitely filling out. His habits have changed since the injury. Most nights he is first to visit the garden and therefore gets the most peanuts. While he is still recovering, we continue to put out a bit more food than before. Hopefully; our small food contributions are helping.
The left ear is looking a lot better it now has some fur re-growing, the ear now has its white tip again. Although fully healed up, the scaring means that the left ear is now pointing in a slightly different direction to the right. The only positive outcome is that it is easy to identify BB at a distance because of the ear.
BB is nearly back to normal and thriving once again. As for Padwan (P) another badger that use to visit regularly, the news is not so good. The last time we saw her was at the beginning of August when she was feeding with BB. It was a few days after this sighting that BB sustained his injuries. We don’t know what happened to P and probably never will. It’s been a bit like losing an old friend. After watching her for more than a year, we feel like we got to know her and were privileged to be able to share time together.
Rather than end on a slightly sad note about P, we have some great news. The other night we were going to bed when a new badger visited us. It’s a very small badger, probably one of this year’s cubs. Peanuts seem to be a novelty for this badger whom we have given the identification of Harvest Moon (HM), due to the date we first saw it. HM has an interesting technique. Rather than walking around the garden hoovering up peanuts, as all the other badgers do, HM finds a peanut, sits down, eats the peanut, looks for another peanut. Subsequently, it took HM about 40 minutes to find as many peanuts as any of the others would have eaten in 10 minutes. With luck, HM will become a regular in the garden, and we can watch another wild badger, for a few precious minutes each night.