Thursday, 22 November 2012

Jackpot with Badgers

From my recent post i told everyone about the badger sett that i have been stalking lately. Although the times i spend there are restricted with early darkness upo us. The one way i could monitor the sett was by using a camera trap. My previous attempts at this last month were a massive fail. All of my footage was of group of rats acting up in front of the camera. Exciting as it might be to actually get something on the camera, my phobia of theses little beasts just made it torture to go through all the clips. However a lesson learnt for the position of the camera. On my return to the sett i had a think on the position of the camera, and tracked what looked like the most used entrance/exit, the trail that looked most used. I set the camera up, and thought i would test it out, i moved location and proceeded to crawl through the dirt and trees to see what level the camera sensor would trigger and at what distance it would pick something up. Happy with the height, switched from set up mode to on, hoping these black and white striped beasts would come on show. Having being preoccupied  with other things for the majority of a week, i had totally forgot about the trap, until yesterday. On arrival to the sett i explored more of the area to get a better understanding of the location and what areas the badgers used. From having a good scout around, i spotted more entrances form different area. Having originally thought that these will most likely be neighbouring setts, a bit of research found that these entrances could possibly lead to the main chamber of the central sett. Records show one sett was found to have over 310 meters of tunnels that led to a sleeping chamber. Totally mind blowing.
Once back at the original sett, it was quite noticeable of the movement over the week, bedding had been excluded and fresh was taken in. The latrine near by was full of fresh nasties. I grabbed the camera trap and off i went back to the car, checking the files on the way making sure the card had something on it. Card full...... magic, please no rats though.
Back on home i wapped the SD card in the mac, and watched the videos with a massive smile, 251 clips of badgers!! 

On the first clips, it was clear that the badgers knew something wasnt right, a set of eyes could be seen peering over the mound of soil, staring at the camera, unsure what to make of it.

As the rest of the night continues the badgers are cautious of the camer and keep to the side of the mound they feel comfortable on, carefully watching the infrared light every so often. 
During the next night, they seem to become a bit more used the to the camera and venturing closer to it, but still keeping an eye on it, just incase.

Watching the videos, you can get a good understanding on the activity that they get up to, scent marking on the trees, showing some playful aggression.

The getting too used to the camera and readjusting it to the position they think, camera badgers in the making.

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