Badgers, drought and compost bins
The recent long dry period may have resulted in an increase in damage to gardens as badgers have difficulty finding enough food. Badgers normally hunt for food e.g., insects, slugs, beetles and invertebrates in the evening and night
They may be particularly attracted to the contents of a compost heap or bin during food shortages as it provides a good badger café particularly during the draught and the bin contents tend to be moist and easily dug. The uncooked vegetable and fruit will provide a good source of nourishment along with all the juicy composting worms that the composter has encouraged to occupy the bin. They will be particularly attractive as when the ground gets this dry, earthworms go into a state of torpor called ‘estivation’ and, the ground conditions, make them difficult to find. If there are meat and dairy products in the compost these will provide an additional attraction.
Snuffle holes about 10-15cm across may be found in the ground round the bin and in the actual compost. The material round these holes is often dug out on more than one side and in soil they may be to be conical in shape. In the compost bin they are usually at ground level and may be bigger as the material is soft and may collapse when it is dug out. The holes are likely to be at ground level while rat burrows will be smaller and often start at the top of the bin. On our demonstration site the badgers have recently dined on the worms in our open fronted pallet bins, removed the clip-on cover of dalek bins and the wire netting from around a leaf mould bin spreading the almost finished leaf mould across the surrounding area.
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