Badgers In Spring
While Jock spends much of winter tucked up in his cosy cave, he often thinks of the badgers which will have given birth in February!
Although badgers mate in early spring and in July-September, they delay implanting the fertilised eggs till around of the time of the winter solstice (21st December). This means that it is spring by the time the cubs are coming out of the sett and there should be food available for them.
Check out Badgerland web site to find out more! Badgerland - Cubs
The female (sow) usually has around 3 cubs in her breeding chamber in the underground sett. The chamber is lined with dry bedding material like straw, leaves and grass, which the sow will have dragged in so she can keep her cubs warm. New born cubs are only about 12 cm long, weighing 75-100g, with dirty white/silvery grey fur. Within a few days they will all have their stripey faces.
At around 4 weeks they start developing their teeth. Their eyes open at around 5 weeks , but it takes them another few weeks to be able to see properly. When they are about 6-7 weeks old, the cubs set off exploring the tunnels in their sett which can be up to 30m long underground! The cubs will be 9-10 weeks old before they come outside. This will be late April/early May. By this time they look like wee badgers and they will weigh in at 3 kg (weigh the same as a 3 litre plastic bottle of milk) . They will still be fluffy and have shorter muzzles.
For the first 12 weeks the sow will suckle her cubs, then she will begin weaning them . The cubs learn by following their mum foraging for food like worms and insects around the sett. The sow will be very protective and will attack predators like foxes on sight. By 15 weeks they will be able to forage on their own. The cubs will have all their teeth by 16 weeks and are usually independent by around 5 months, around end of June/early July. By the end of the year the cubs will probably weigh 8-10 kg and measure 80 cm.
For more badger information:
- Badgers (Young People's Trust For The Environment
- About Badgers (Badger Resure)
- Bumbling Baby Badgers (Scottish Wildlife Trust)
Don't forgot to watch our video from one of the Bailies of Bennachie video cameras.
This is part of the Animals In Spring information.