Fun Badger Facts

Badgers are amazing animals – here are a few badger facts!

  • There are several species of badger living around the world. Badgers found in the UK are European Badgers, which have the scientific name Meles meles.
  • Badgers are short-legged omnivores in the family Mustelidae, which also includes otters, polecats, weasels and wolverines. They belong to the caniform suborder of carnivoran mammals.
  • Badgers are thought to have got their name because of the white mark – or badge – on their head, although there are other theories.
  • Another old name for badgers is ‘brock’, meaning grey. You can often see the word brock in street names. Brock is also the name of a character in the Pokemon TV series!
  • A badger’s home is called a sett. A group of badgers living together is called a clan.
  • Badgers are fast – they can run up to 30km per hour (nearly 20 mph) for short periods.
  • Badgers mainly eat earthworms and insects, but can also eat small mammals and birds, as well as fruit and nuts.
  • A badger is on the badge of Hufflepuff House in the Harry Potter books and films!
  • Famous fictional badgers include Badger in Wind in the Willows, Clive Badger in Fantastic Mr Fox and Friar Tuck in Disney’s Robin Hood
  • Badgers can grow to around 70cm in length, and weigh about 12kg.

Badger in a river

Why we need to protect badgers

Badger Baiting

Badger baiting involves cornering a badger in its sett, where it lives, and setting dogs on it. The fight will often lead to the death of the badger and will cause injuries, often serious, to all the animals involved.

Badger baiting has been banned in the UK for over 150 years, but despite this it has continued to be practiced as an underground bloodsport. Badgers are now a protected species but we believe badger baiting continues to this day.

Badger Cull

The badger cull which has taken place in parts of England since 2013 is aimed at preventing the increase of Bovine TB (bTB) among cattle. The disease has led to the death of many thousands of cattle, and the government is pursuing the cull because it believes badgers are spreading the disease. However, the League and many independent scientists and other animal welfare organisations believe that the cull is an unnecessary waste of the lives of badgers as science has proven that culling makes no meaningful contribution to the cattle TB control problem in Britain.

We agree that action is needed to tackle bovine TB as it is devastating for cattle and for farmers; however the evidence shows the main source of transmission for bovine TB is cattle to cattle. Therefore, the main focus for eradicating the disease should be tackling cattle to cattle transmission through improved testing (i.e. better tests and mandatory annual and pre-movement testing for all cattle), more movement restrictions and rigorous biosecurity on farms.

Closeup of a badger with grass in the background

What is the League doing to protect badgers?

The League has battled to protect badgers from badger baiting for many years, with undercover investigations exposing the cruelty involved. In the early 1990s, League investigators intercepted a coded message in a bloodsports magazine, and from that information we discovered a horrific incident of badger baiting near Builth Wells in Wales, in which three badgers were subjected to attack. The League took out a private prosecution leading to five men being jailed.

While the badger cull is not a ‘cruel sport’, the League believes that the cull is an attack on a protected animal which has long suffered persecution and abuse, and we are proud to be a founding member of the Team Badger coalition.

How can I help badgers?

  • Contact your MP and remind them that the published science and evidence from Wales is strongly against the cull. Ask them to vocally oppose the cull and urge their party to commit to ending the cull if they form the next Government
  • When the cull starts again, join a peaceful wounded badger patrol by getting in touch with the Badger Action Network
  • Join one of our supporter groups to help us raise awareness about the badger cull
  • Share this page on your social media


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