Friday, January 15, 2016

Foxes and badgers

Years ago I kept angora rabbits, they are those fluffy creatures with a beautiful coat, they had runs in the garden and one was always free in our large Bath garden.  One year a fox moved into the valley these gardens traversed, and the rabbits had to be more tightly controlled.  This fox would sleep in the flowerbed below the hutches, presumably ready to snaffle himself a ready meal.  The only rabbit he ever managed to get his teeth round (and she escaped) was Bracken, aggressive in her own right. There is a photograph of my young son sprawled on the lawn with the fox sitting quietly with him, this fox was tame.  Our friends in Weston Park, Henry Cliffe and his wife would feed the foxes in the evening, and these so called 'urban foxes' lived quite happily, though of course they became a menace in Bristol, due to health.

Our other visitors were nocturnal, badgers, you could hear their heavy breathing as they came up on the terrace.  One night I was awoken by the shrill notes of my two bantams, obviously running around the garden. So barefoot me and Moss, stood on the terrace as a hen came rushing up the stairs followed by a large badger in hot pursuit, it is not often known that badgers eat small rabbits, that is why their holts are often situated near rabbit warrens, so eating my chickens were on the menu.  the badger had forced the hen coop's nest boxes open, luckily the two bantams were feisty creatures. There followed in the dark, a chase to catch the hens, Moss was so surprised by the badger he did not go for him and eventually the badger disappeared and I was left with the unenviable task of trying to find and capture two scared hens, which I did in the following hour.

My first encounter with a badger, had been in daylight, it had blundered across my path whilst out walking, probably as gassing them was popular at the time, the poor creature was completely disorientated.  At one stage in my life I joined a campaign to stop badger baiting, which happened up on the Bath downs, we were told by the police not to approach these men as they were vicious but only to report their white vans, dogs, men and of course spades to dig the badgers out.  The bill to protect these badgers went through, though of course they are now under a different threat sadly.


  1. I don't think we have badgers on our farm - but we did once find a dead one in one of our barns, which suggests they are not too far away. In fact I have never seen a live one and would love to do so. Have you got snow? We can see snow on the Cleveland Hills from our window - which suggests you might have it where you live. Keep warm.

  2. Morning Pat, no not in the immediate area, but when we went out to lunch yesterday we also saw snow on the hills, beautiful. the only thing of course it is very icy out. Not sure which hills, probably Howardian or maybe the Tabular hills. The Howardian hills are so strange when you approach Howard Castle they switchback along the road, love to go walking round there.