Badgers seem like lovely creatures and are fascinating to look at, except when they decide it’s time to turn over your yard for some reason. It usually goes like this: one day you wake up to the horrifying sight of your ravaged lawn…
It now looks like a bombed farm field. Are the flower bulbs missing? Patches of lawn were dug up and scattered around, and all of that happened during the night? There’s no doubt – these are some of the signs of a badger visit to your garden.
It is not surprising that not one but many garden backyards fall under the territory coverage of badgers and may eventually be visited. These animals are territorial.
A badger’s territory will cover plenty of land – from 25 up to 140 hectares depending on the food available. If you think this is a too much patrolling area for a single roaming badger – you are correct. A badger sett may be inhabited by a clan of 4 to up to 13 members at once.
But how to stop badgers from excavating your well-kept lawn?
Badger control is possible although no chemicals are legally labelled and approved as badger deterrents. Mentioned below are only methods that have really worked for someone. Try these to stop the badgers from digging up your lawn for good:
1. Spray the boundaries with human male urine
By Fuzzy Gerdes
How it works: in the animal world, if another male is marking the territory, this means he is ready to defend it with a fight. Human pee can deter and will put off badgers as they are very territorial. Dilute it with water in a 1:4 ratio and use a sprayer or a water can to apply. This way it will smell less and it will still serve the purpose.
Bear in mind: This method requires a male member of the family to offer his service. Consistency is also needed as the effect will eventually fade away (in about 5 to 7 days). Some of your neighbours might find this repellent rather repulsive so be discreet about it.
2. Scatter finely chopped bonney peppers
By Kurtis Garbutt
How it works: Scotch bonnet chilli peppers are quite hot. A badger has poor eyesight so it mainly counts on its sense of smell. If they detect something as irritating to the nose as these chilli peppers, they will have no choice but to go back. Crush the peppers until fine and sprinkle them at where you think the badgers are entering or around the boundary.
Bear in mind: Your eyes! Be very careful when dealing with these peppers and avoid touching your face. Also, this method’s downside is that they will get washed in rain or soon blown away by the wind.
3. Put up infrared triggered LED lights
By Travis Wise
How it works: infrared sensors only activate when there’s someone in sight. Badgers won’t get used to them as they will to other sources of continuous light. The intruder will flee when the light turns on. For this purpose, you can use low-cost LED lights and place them around the lawn grass. It is best if they are battery-charged to avoid having cable strings in the lawn. For a small to a medium field – 2 to 3 of these would be more than enough.
Bear in mind: No disadvantages here.
4. Install a battery-powered electric fence
By Joseph Jude
How it works: Electric fencing is among the most efficient ways to deter badgers. Switch it on in the evening and turn it off in the morning (badgers are nocturnal animals).
Bear in mind: The manufacturer’s instructions.
5. Apply citronella oils to the base of your fence
By Dan Grebb
How it works: Badgers dislike the smell and it is off-putting to them.
Bear in mind: If a badger is really determined and hungry the citronella might not always work if its scent is weak. Therefore it needs frequent applying and even more so if it rains often as it will get washed away.
6. Throw in lion manure
How it works: Lion dung is often used to deter cats and even foxes. The idea is basically the same as the male urine method. If the badger finds itself in the territory of a stronger animal, it may leave on its own. You can find the product in your nearest home and garden centre, or you can ask the local zoo for spent beddings from the lion cage.
Bear in mind: Every package of lion poo is different as it depends on what the lions have eaten before the essence was taken. For some, this method may prove effective and for others – not so much.
7. Arrange scarers with glowing eyes
By Andrew Malone
How it works: the badgers are usually very careful and will avoid confrontations with larger or same-size animals if possible. The scarers come in different forms and varieties such as cats, owls and even ninja gnomes. The eyes are often glowing because of a reflective material but can sometimes be solar powered (which is even better).
Bear in mind: You’d have to position a couple of those to make sure they “watch” over all of your yard.
8. Leave a radio turned on outside
By Jonas Smith
How it works: It simulates activity in the lawn.
Bear in mind: Your neighbours! Tune the radio down to a tolerable volume as it will stay on overnight. A rainy evening may be a problem unless there’s a cover. Position the radio near the fence or in the middle of your lawn.
9. Spread beneficial nematodes
By Raelene Gutierrez
How it works: If the fruit is not why badgers are visiting you, then it is probably the chafer grubs and earthworms that are attracting them. The earthworms are beneficial, but the grubs are a common enemy to lawn owners. The nematodes will target the grubs and kill them from the inside out, but leave the earthworms. A healthy lawn is less likely to provide food to a badger family. Apply the nematodes on the same day you got them for the best results. Dilute the powder they come in water and use a hose or a watering can. Do it in the evening when there’s less chance for the water to evaporate before they penetrate the soil. Water the lawn normally before or after application. Keep the remaining nematodes in the fridge. The nematodes will also kill over a hundred other known lawn pests if applied at the right time.
Bear in mind: The timing of application. You’d want to eradicate the grubs before they mature. Nematodes won’t target mature grubs. You can apply in June and September as this is when grubs are still in their larval phase. The soil’s temperature must not be below 10ºC. Around 15 to 20ºC is ideal.
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Proof of badgers in the garden
Badgers have cultivated a distinctive behaviour. They have a specific way of looking for food when on your lawn. This makes it easier to spot the signs of their presence. Here is certain evidence that confirms you’ve had badgers in the garden:
- Multiple patches of lawn being dug out in just one night. Some may look like holes but mostly it will appear as hoeing at random places. Note that it is digging in search for food and not making holes.
- A freshly dug hole underneath your boundary fencing. Some people might be surprised to learn that these critters can climb fences too. Badgers are really good climbers and also very capable to go through most chicken wire by using a bit of force. However, if they fail to enter your property otherwise, they will simply dig a tunnel under the barrier. Badgers are very purposeful animals and rarely they would give up if something stands between them and their goal.
- A shallow hole with faeces in it. It’s easy to identify badger droppings: They will be in a pit of little depth, in most cases. The poop also has a strong musky odour and can usually be found at the scene or nearby your lawn. Note that if you discover badger poo in your yard, there’s a good chance that there’s a sett closeby.
Why are badgers visiting your lawns and why do they dig them up?
A piece of flat land with lush green grass can offer plenty to badgers. Here’s the main reason why badgers are found to dig up lawns:
Badgers will mainly visit your garden in search of food. They will turn over dirt and seek the roots of your grass for treats. Their diet mainly consists of earthworms, leather jackets, grubs and slugs. All of which may be found in a lawn and its soil.
When it comes to consumption of flesh, their diet is not limited to bugs only. They feed opportunistically, which means they will eat almost anything if there are no other food options, including small animals. For instance, badgers do eat rabbits. They are also the natural predator of UK’s hedgehogs. Badgers are also reported to snack on rats, frogs, toads and mice.
However, as an omnivorous mammal, the badger may be tempted to lurk in a garden that offers apples, plums, pears, all kinds of bulbs and much more.
As territorial beings, they will also mark the area they are scavenging. These markings, in the form of poop, have a notable odour and will keep other badgers from coming to your property. The explanation for findings of badger poo in your garden is very simple:
Badger families don’t like to pollute their own habitat. They go out at night and when they find a suitable place, they dig a hole and use it as a hand-made toilet. This place often happens to be someone’s garden if there’s a group inhabiting a nearby sett.
Are badgers law protected?
Did you know that badgers were voted the second most loved mammal in the UK in a poll from Royal Society of Biology for choosing a national wildlife animal? And not only that but they are also under the protection of the law.
In the first law of protection (1973), there were some unclear parts about badger setts which were exploited. This lead to a history of illegal baiting, destroying setts and, eventually, the continued killing of badgers by using dogs. To resolve the problem the Protection of Badgers Act 1992 was issued. The law on badgers states that it is an offence to take, injure or kill them. Interfering with their homes (setts) is also illegal and if you do so in any way or form, you will stand liable.
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Posted in All About the Lawn
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