Tag Archives: scrumping

Scrumping badgers: the proof

Last year my parents moved house, and I was delighted on my first visit to see badgers in garden several times. My suspicion was that they were scrumping the windfall apples. Sadly my camera trap let me down – the infrared light was broken, so I got lots of clips of darkness. Subsequent fleeting visits didn’t result in any badger footage either – maybe I put the camera in the wrong place, or maybe the badgers didn’t come on those nights.

A year later I returned, with a new and better camera trap, which I was able to leave in place for almost two weeks. Would I find definitive proof that the badgers were committing the crime of stealing the apples?

The camera trap triggered well over a hundred times those nights, so it took a while to sift through. There were plenty of clips of the neighbours’ cats out on the prowl, and quite a few of blackbirds.

There was also the footage I’d been hoping for: badgers. I don’t know how many individuals I recorded. There’s only ever one in frame at the same time, but it could be different ones in different clips. They seemed to visit for three nights in a row, and then disappear for a few nights, before showing up now and then.

And yes, I was able to confirm my suspicions: they were eating the windfalls.

My dad is highly indignant that badgers are stealing his apples, but given that he would have just left them on the lawn to rot, or have to move them to mow the lawn, I don’t think he’s got much of a case. If he wanted them himself, all he needs to do is pick them up before nightfall. It’s lovely to finally get pictures of badgers, in the wild, snuffling about.

Scrumping badgers?

My parents have recently moved from south Devon to the Lizard peninsula deep in Cornwall. While, as a patriotic Devonian, I was a little sad I’ll no longer be able to visit them in that beautiful part of the country, I’ve been quite excited by the possibilities of a new territory. I didn’t even wait for them to unpack before coming for a visit.

My first day there I had a quick recce of the garden, to see what wildlife signs I could spot. Apart from the Rookery, there weren’t obvious signs of anything exciting. But night transforms things, so I set up my camera trap in a promising spot, and, once it was dark, headed out with my bat detector. Once again I picked up a species I couldn’t identify, and some more pipistrelles.

While we were out bat detecting, Dr C heard a snuffling sound, and, expecting to see a hedgehog, turned his torch onto the front lawn. In fact, it was a badger.

I haven’t seen a badger for years, so it was very exciting. We were only a few metres away, but it didn’t seem too concerned, and finished its snuffling before disappearing up the road. This made my day.

The next night we got back late, driving past a badger on the road, then spotting another under the apple tree in the back garden. The night after, coming back from the village, we disturbed 3 badgers, who dashed off from under the apple tree.

Sadly, despite all the sightings, I haven’t managed to get a photo of them. I had packed light and not brought my flash with me, and while they did trigger my trail camera, the infrared seems to have broken, as all the clips are black. This is very frustrating, but at least I have had good views of them.

It seems like badgers are regular visitors at the moment. I am not sure what they are eating there, as there are no signs of them digging up the lawn for leatherjackets, and the ground was dry, so it can’t be earthworms. Are they scrumping the windfall apples?