A PHOTO A DAY HELPS …… Day 146, Monday

We started taking videos on the night camera instead of stills, which revealed a lot more about our visitors’ behaviour. We had up to three badgers at a time as well as badgers with foxes, and badgers with hedgehogs on the same videos. We had film of the badgers playing, sitting like bears and scratching, lying on their backs, scenting the ground and mating.

We were very excited when foxes dug out a den in the corner of our garden in 2010 and had two cubs in it. They then deserted it and a few years later, two “teenage” badgers moved into it.

The foxes and hedgehogs were usually wary of the badgers but there weren’t any spats – until one fateful night. We caught on film a badger stuffing itself with food before turning on the hedgehog. It grabbed it by its soft belly, shook it and tossed it around like a ball before devouring it. We knew badgers are the main predator of hedgehogs, but they had never seemed interested in them. No longer did we feel quite the same about the badgers! That same week, we saw two hedgehogs killed on nearby roads. No wonder they are in serious decline.

If you want to see some of the night-time action of all the animals, with lots of interesting behaviour, here are the links for three edited videos I have put on VIMEO: 14 minutes; 2 minutes; 4 minutes.

Tomorrow, I will focus on our foxes. But to end with a bit of fun, here is a sequence of photos caught on our camera one night in 2015 which came as a complete surprise when we looked through them the next morning.

Tessa, our daughter, who has always been mischievous, organised her family and some of the other grandchildren to dress in their animal “onesies” and walked round to our road at about 11.00pm. Causing concern to some of the neighbours who feared our quiet little road had been invaded by troublesome, drunken university students, they all stood under a nearby street light waiting for about half an hour until they saw we had turned off all our lights and settled for the night. They unlocked our side gate and crept into the garden where they messed around on the lawn pretending to eat what was left of the food we had put out for the wildlife – a badger had already been in before them! And the badgers returned soon after they left. (Tessa is the one in the spotted onesie.)



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