Nature's Great Sightings - July 1987 - The Great Badger Fight

 



Our farm, on chalk and upper greensand, at Windwhistle was well badgered with several big setts. From my earliest years - in the dead of night - I would hear the most dreadful fights as, presumably, the large boar badgers contested for the position of King Badger. The screams were like ten tomcats at full blast and there was the frequent sound of bodies crashing into the surrounding shrubs and trees. Despite my father relating how he once found two dead badgers locked in mortal combat I had never found any subsequent evidence of fighting. No blood, no fur, no bodies!

In 1987 I was to find out why. I had returned to my retirement bungalow at the end of Winsham village by car late one evening. My wife had put on the garden light and I had just garaged the car and was about to slam the door when, with a torch in my hand, I was startled as the most dreadful din started on the lawn. It was unmistakably a great badger fight. In the dim light I could see the two badgers and I deftly managed to move to the centre of their arena. They seemed so pre-occupied with their battle - as they raced backwards and forwards past me - that they never looked up even when I shone my torch on them. After a few minutes I had solved the mystery.

Both badgers would run side by side across the lawn. The trailing badger would try to fasten his teeth in the shoulder of his adversary. They would then roll over and over snarling and screaming until they crashed into the hedge or a shrub. They would momentarily break off and repeated the process in the opposite direction. Taking turns with who should run first. After some time I had seen enough and as they passed me I said - "High Chaps! Break it up!""

They immediately fell silent and continued to the hedge and through it without a stop. Next morning I examined the site. The only trace was a few bent leaves and a one single telltale hair where they had gone though the hedge.

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This page revised 18 November 2016