We trade our Urban Wildlife for a rare sighting -- The elusive badger | Environment
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Meet Bella, Bucky and Barry:
We leave the urban wildlife in Forest Hills and head to our cabin in Wisconsin. In Michigan, you would call our cabin a cottage. In Wisconsin, they are known as cabins. Anyway I digress - our cabin is on 10 hilly acres of grassland in the bluff country of southern Wisconsin.
Wisconsin is known as the dairy state, but the “state animal” is not a cow. It’s the badger. Yes, Wisconsinites have seen Bucky the Badger, the University of Wisconsin’s mascot. But very few of them have ever seen a real badger. Our property in Wisconsin was invaded by three badgers last year!!!!
The first sign of a badger invasion:
The first sign of the badger invasion was the yard, which was dug up. Badgers prefer to live in open grasslands, fields and pastures. My husband mows about four acres of our property and lets the rest of the grasses grow wild. The sod, in various sections of our yard, was rolled back. There were small mounds of dirt and turf all over our yard. We have since learned that badgers dig multiple burrows and tunnels within their home range in search of food.
The second sign of a badger invasion:
The second sign of the badger invasion was the three holes dug into the side of our septic mound. They looked like dens. Badgers usually stay hidden inside their shallow dens during the day. They spend their nights hunting for small animals, such as rabbits, ground squirrels, moles, voles, and deer mice.
Imagine my husband’s surprise when he spotted the badgers during the day. Badgers can be very vicious, so my husband was very cautious when he saw the badgers. There were three of them in the middle of the yard. He used his cell phone to capture both video and photos of the critters. One the badgers ran up the hill when it noticed him. The other two flattened their bodies against the ground. Then the second badger ran off.
My husband sent his video to a badger researcher at the University of Wisconsin. She looked at the video and emailed him that she thought the first badger that ran off was the mother and the other two were her “juvenile” offspring. We named them Bella, Bucky and Barry.
The badgers were causing so much damage to our yard; we had to figure out a way to drive them away. Our solution was mowing the lawn frequently, especially around their dens. It worked – the badgers moved on.
Just the other day, my husband spotted one of the badgers near a field about a quarter of a mile away. We can now smile. The badgers have moved on and the yard is looking much better.
As for George, our dog, we never let him out of the house when the badgers were out and about. We knew our “curious George” would want to check out his new backyard critters. Badgers can be ferocious, with sharp teeth and strong claws, so we knew George wouldn’t stand a chance if he came face-to-face with a badger.
That's it for our stories about urban wildlife in Forest Hills and the badgers of Wisconsin. We tried to share a little information about the behavior of each critter we spotted. We hope you enjoyed hearing about George and his backyard critters.
If you missed on any of the previous stories, click on the links below:
Part 1 – Introducing the Backyard Critters: http://adacascade.wzzm13.com/news/environment/urban-wildlife-forest-hills-georges-backyard-critters/56851
Part 3 – Meet Doe-Boy: http://adacascade.wzzm13.com/news/environment/urban-wildlife-meet-doe-boy/57513
Part 4 – Meet Tommy & Henrietta: http://adacascade.wzzm13.com/news/environment/urban-wildlife-meet-tommy-and-henrietta/57790
Part 5 – Meet Hawkeye: http://adacascade.wzzm13.com/news/environment/urban-wildlife-meet-hawkeye/58101
Part 7 – A Day at the Beach: http://adacascade.wzzm13.com/news/environment/break-urban-wildlife-day-beach/58503
Part 8 – Meet Bella, Bucky and Barry