Badger Sett
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Badger Sett

Badgers are interesting nocturnal mammals. A Sett is an underground home occupied by a group of badgers. The common location of a sett is a small clearing in woodland or copses. Quite normally, it is easy to identify a sett in terms of its entrance looking free of any vegetation, muddy and with badger prints. A typical sett is a long tunnel leading to a sleeping chamber. Most tunnels have several entry holes and a network of interlinking tunnels. A well-established sett will normally have several entrances larger than that of rabbit holes. It is quite usual to find piles of earth outside a sett.

The chambers inside a sett are used by badgers for sleeping and breeding. A big sett can even have up to 50 or 100 entrance holes. Such setts would have required teamwork of a number of badgers over several years. There are even setts that are more than a hundred years old. Several generations of badgers would have inhabited such age-old setts.

One of the badger research studies discovered a massive sett with twelve entrances with tunnels of over 310 metre. It is observed that to create this huge complex over several years, the badger teams would have excavated more than 25 tonne of earth. Most setts are less than one metre below the ground and closely follow the contours of the surface above it. However in some cases, setts can be as deep as 4 metre below the ground. In the network of tunnels, there are several ventilation holes that connect the chambers to the surface to aid air circulation.

The most preferred locations for setts are those places that are easy to dig. Since sandy soil is easy to dig and stays drier than other types of soils, badgers normally prefer sandy soils. Badgers avoid digging in clay as it is sticky and remains wet most of the times. Only when other types of soils are not found, then they have clay as their last resort. Since water easily drains out in slopes letting the soil remain dry, badgers prefer sloppy areas to others. Though hedgerows and woodlands are the most popular habitats of badgers, it is not uncommon to find badgers in moorland, sand dunes, open fields, abandoned mines, sea cliffs and old quarries. With respect to their size, layout and usage, setts can be classified into main setts, annex setts, subsidiary setts and outlying setts.

When badgers do not use a sett or any of its parts, it can even serve as hideouts and homes for other animals like rabbits. Some foxes also rear their young ones in setts.

 

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