About badgers

About badgers

Are badgers rare?
No. The European badger (Meles meles) can be found across Europe but the UK has the highest density, particularly in the South West.
Do badgers hibernate?
No, but they are much less active during December and January when their metabolism slows down in order to conserve energy when less food is available to them.
What do badgers eat?
Badgers are omnivores, meaning they eat a wide range of food. Their preferred food is earthworms (45%), insects, small mammals, birds, cereals and fruits.
Where and how do badgers live?
In the UK, badgers occupy a wide range of habitats and live in underground burrows called setts. They live in gregarious, hierarchical family groups of on average 5 or 6 individuals and together defend a territory.
How big are badgers?
An adult badger can be up to 90cm long and weigh on average 10–12kg (male) and 8–10kg (female).

Find out more about badgers on the Badger Trust website.

Badgers in the garden

For further advice about what to do if you have badgers in your garden, please look at the Badger Trust website.

Badgers and the law

Badgers and their setts are protected by the Badger Protection Act 1992 and the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. It is illegal for any person to:

  • Wilfully kill, injure or take a badger
  • Cruelly mistreat a badger
  • Dig for a badger
  • Damage or destroy a sett
  • Disturb, obstruct or interfere with an occupied sett
  • Cause a dog to enter a sett
  • Sell or have possession of a live badger

The Badger Protection Act 1992 allows for licences to be issued for a number of purposes, including development and to prevent serious damage to property. Such licences can allow interference with and/or closure of a sett. For further information, contact Natural England.

Badgers have been and still continue to be persecuted through illegal digging, ‘lamping’ and badger baiting. Many thousands are killed on our roads each year and the increased pressure for further development threatens badgers, their foraging areas and their setts both in and around towns and in rural areas.

Find out more about badgers and the law on the Badger Trust website.