badger 2.AVI_000010000
badger 2.AVI_000010000

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Surveys & Ecology

Badgers live in family groups, known as badger social groups.  Each group will occupy a well defined territory from which all other badger social groups are excluded.

Presence/ Absence Surveys 

The main methodology for assessing the use of a site by badgers is to look for the signs they commonly leave behind. These can be any or all of the following:



Normally found in well-drained features such as banks, setts are large and distinctive burrow systems dug by badgers. 


Badger runs through vegetation are distinctive, well-worn narrow pathways of flattened vegetation between setts and foraging areas.


Latrines/badger droppings can be found on or around setts but are also territorial markers for badgers, often marking the edge of a social group’s territory. 


Snuffle holes

These are small round holes created by foraging badgers, to excavate food such as earthworms and leatherjackets.

Bait Marking Surveys

Badgers define their territories with dung pits and latrine sites which are usually on territory boundaries.  They may also be found on badger pathways.  To determine the territory of  individual badger social groups, a so called bait marking survey can be used. 

For a bait marking survey, a mixture of dry dog food,  peanuts and honey is placed at each sett entrance of the badger sett. Added to the mixture are tiny blue plastic pellets. The mixture is fed for a period of 5 consecutive nights.  


Badger Exclusion & Licences

Deterring or excluding badgers from their setts is against the law. However, it is possible to exclude badgers under special licence granted by Natural England. We have extensive experience of excluding badgers under licence either due to property damage or for development purposes. 

Please contact us for more information.  




Badgers and their setts are protected under the, Protection of Badgers Act 1992.  It is an offence to,

  • Injure or kill a badger

  • Have in your possession a badger whether dead or alive or any part of a badger

  • To disturb a badger whilst it is occupying a sett

  • To destroy a sett or any part of a sett, or obstruct access to a badger sett.


A badger sett is any place or structure that shows occupation by badgers. 

Work that disturbs badgers is illegal without a licence from the relevant authority.

Badgers could be disturbed by work near the sett even if there is no direct interference or damage to the sett. 

Certain activities that should be licensed if it is considered operations would cause badgers to vacate or cause damage to a sett. 


For example:

  • Using very heavy machinery near an active badger sett

  • Lighter machinery, particularly for digging operations near an active badger sett

  • Hand digging or scrub clearance near an active badger sett

  • Other activities which can cause disturbance or / and  damage at far greater distances include;

  • Pile driving

  • Explosives

Badgers are also protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended) and have some protection under the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006. A fine of up to £5000 can be imposed for each animal. The courts can also confiscate any dogs used in offences against badgers and disqualify the offender from owning a dog.