The charity making life better by water


The Eurasian Badger, or Brock, is one of Britain's largest and best-loved wild animals. These striking black and white creatures are nocturnal and shy of human contact. A rare glimpse of a badger is a sight to remember.

A badger

Eurasian badgers live across Europe, through Japan and in some parts of China. In the UK, badgers are most commonly found in the south-west and Wales, with some setts also flourishing in areas of north-east England.

Badgers have made their home in Britain for thousands of years, surviving the extinction of other native species such as cave bear, wild boar and wolves. They are resilient, intelligent and adaptable animals, able to find food in all seasons, stay below ground during cold winters and construct safe homes that can last for hundreds of years.

Underground maze

A badger's sett is an underground maze of tunnels and nesting chambers. Up to 12 members of a family group or clan may occupy one sett, which is often inherited by successive badger generations. Woodland, hedgerows and canal embankments are common locations, with outside cover enabling badgers to emerge, and cubs to play, without being too visible to humans or predators.

Badgers are well-ordered and hygienic creatures. They regularly discard their old bedding and dig their dung-pits up to 10-15 metres away from the sett. This is also a useful method of marking their territory, which they are prepared to defend fiercely from other badgers when necessary.

Unfortunately badgers often find canal embankments, particularly sandy ones, very easy digging and establish setts there. These setts could cause leaks and ultimately a breach in the canal, resulting in the death of the badgers, as well as being very expensive to mend and extremely disruptive to the canal system. As a result we occasionally have to relocate badgers from our embankments.

Badger facts

Appearance: Short and stocky animals with silvery-grey backs and striking black and white stripes running from nose to shoulders

Size: 65-80cm

Weight: 8-12kg

Lifespan: Maximum 14 years, but wild badgers rarely reach this age

Diet: Mainly earthworms. However, omnivorous badgers eat a wide range of foods, including rodents, insects, seeds, berries and lizards. A badger's diet will reflect its territory, so those living near waterways might often eat frogs

Family: Mustelidae

Family nature guide 2019

Download your free nature guide

Identify footprints and read fascinating facts about the creatures who make their homes along our canals and rivers

Last Edited: 12 November 2020

photo of a location on the canals
newsletter logo

Stay connected

Sign up to our monthly newsletter and be the first to hear about campaigns, upcoming events and fundraising inspiration