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Saturday, 25 June 2011

Badger (Meles meles) trails, tracks in mud and latrine

An early morning look along the river showed where a pair of badgers (not sure if they were travelling together or separately) had been foraging earlier in the night.

The right hand trail is the main trail and the left hand is where one of the animals travelled parallel with it, which might suggest they were moving together.

Badgers, being rather low slung, leave a furrow through virgin grass and the image (left) shows moisture collected on the laid down grass, suggesting the animal had passed early in the night.

Below, in the first pair of images are left and right hand respectively, partially registered prints in mud. These pairs of footprints were about 33cm apart in a slightly staggered line, suggesting maybe it was a cub moving at a walk.

Although badgers have five toes the inner toe very often doesn't show; but if you look at the images you can make out the inner toe of the forefoot in the first two frames.

Also, they normally walk on the front of their feet and the heel doesn't show; but the right hand image of the second pair below, does show the heel pad.

Normally you'll see claws, toe pads and the large central pad. The claws on the front feet are extremely long and show almost in a line. The rear foot shows slightly behind and offset to the front foot.

In the second pair of images below, the prints are more or less registered, indicating a walking animal. When badgers trot or gallop the hind feet are set down in front of the fore print.

Badgers don't normally dump just anywhere but dig a shallow pit at a latrine site. Latrines are
found strategically placed around a family's home range and act as message posts and territorial markers.

Left is an image of a latrine pit and faeces deposited by the badgers mentioned and is located at a confluence of regularly used trails on the edge of their particular territory.
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This web site is about the wildlife, particularly the mammals, of the Glen Affric National Nature Reserve area in the north west Highlands of Scotland, UK; and the equipment I use to search for them, which is chiefly trail cameras.

I provide a technical support and parts service for the Ltl Acorn range of cameras and the income from this provides for the upkeep of this site and the purchase of cameras for my own surveying.

I hope you find the site useful and informative; and please contact me if you have any questions that I haven't already covered.