From the graveyard to the loft… and back again!
We recently received a call on our incident line from a woman in Rossendale who had found a badger cub curled up in a graveyard in broad daylight. Realising that something was wrong, she managed to get the badger into a dog-crate and take it home. We wouldn’t recommend rescue and handling of badgers without the proper equipment and training, but the badger was small and docile. Or so they thought…
In the middle of the night the woman and her husband heard a great commotion above them and realised that the badger had dug its way out of the dog-crate and was rummaging around in the attic room where they had put it. It had managed to get right into the eaves of the house! A perfect example of why it’s sometimes best to get the experts with the equipment in! Donning gardening gloves, they were however able to re-capture it, and return it to the crate. The next morning they rang Lancashire Badger Group for advice. A small team of volunteers went to the house and transferred the badger into one of our specialist cages. It had made its bed in a small cardboard box so it was easy to move the box and badger across together.
The badger was transported to our friends at Woodlands Animal Sanctuary, where Lancashire Badger Group have funded a specialist facility for badgers. There it was taken to a vet and prescribed antibiotics. After a few days he (or she) began to perk up, and was being described as “feisty”. Not so easy to handle but a very good sign that he was recovering well!
At this time of year, most badger cubs will be weaned and able to survive without their mother. It was possible that our badger could have been a late cub, but Woodlands were able to confirm that he was eating solid foods, so we were confident that he was weaned. Having had a fairly long spell of dry weather, it’s likely that he or she had found it difficult to get at the staple diet of badgers – earthworms.
With the badger doing well, a decision was made to release it back where it was found, so that it could return to his sett. A badger of this age may well be foraging alone at least some of the time and will be familiar with its own territory.
The couple who had found the cub met Lancashire Badger Group volunteers back at the graveyard and pointed out the exact place where it had been. We set the cage down close by and let it acclimatise itself to the surroundings.
Within a minute the cub was exhibiting sure signs that suggested it knew where it was. It had previously been doing a lot of scratching around in the cage making a nice bed, but on finding itself back in the graveyard this turned to very purposeful digging at the cage to get out. We carefully raised the door of the cage, and the cub made its way out and went straight to the bush where it’d been found a few days earlier. Almost immediately he or she was out of sight as it went deeper into the undergrowth. At least one member of the team admits to having a tear in her eye at this point!
The kind folk who found the cub will be keeping an eye out in case it is around in daylight again. We hope never to see this cub again, but are glad to have helped another badger through the ups and downs of the it’s first few months of life.
We’d like to thank Woodlands for their excellent care of the cub, and the kind people who found him or her for alerting us. If you find a badger out in daylight please ring our Badger Emergency Line on 08448 707908.