Urban Badgers


I never did get the shot I really wanted from this mini project. One of the bat researchers I work with quite often called me to tell me about a house he had just surveyed where the house owner feeds badgers and foxes in his garden. And they come and feed together. And sure enough, when I visited to check it out I was proudly shown a whole series of trail cam videos of badgers and foxes, badgers and cats and cats and foxes. These videos were shot over a period of a couple of years though. With expectations running high I set up a camera trap in the area where the food is put out. Initially I wanted to set up with the house in the background to give more of an urban feel to the photos but it just wasn’t possible to do that, light it the way I wanted and provide clear access for the critters which all seem to come from different directions. So I set up with the garden shed in background and lit the interior with a gelled flash. I got a badger on the first night which enabled fine tuning of the lighting and camera position and then I was all set for endless multi-species action. Alas it was not to be. You never quite know how foxes are going to react to multi-flash set ups. Some, urban foxes in particular, are often very easy going about stuff appearing in their environment whereas rural foxes are normally extremely wary – of the flashes, the camera noise, the physical presence of the equipment or a combination of all the above. Badgers rarely care. In the couple of weeks the camera was in place I only got two shots of a (nervous-looking) fox. Many badger photos though, of several different individuals, and hundreds, literally hundreds of photos of the neighbourhood cats including quite a few of cats feeding quite happily with badgers albeit at a respectful distance. From what I can tell from the images, the cat was more relaxed about this than Brock.