The House that Badger Built - part 2
Having returned from my week's babysitting stint, I was anxious to get to my garden and see what had happened to my uninvited guest. I suppose I was hoping that the problem would have disappeared miraculously in my absence, but such was not the case. The sett (as I have now decided that it is a badger's house) was twice the size it was a week before, and there were now two holes, one surprising high, and seemingly of little value. The height seemed pretty much the same, but it had expanded sideways to fill in another foot or two.
I had thought my friend Clare might have sprayed her special chemical and deterred them. So I called and she said she hadn't managed it yet, but still thought it was a good idea to try it and would attempt to come around sometime this week, before I am off to the States.
I decided it was time for me to inform my daughters – and get their opinions on how to deal with the situation. As I suspected she would, my older daughter spent the rest of the day on the computer, checking all the websites that I had already visited, and consulting with various of her friends who had an interest in wildlife.
First of all, she wanted me to produce a picture of the structure – as she was loathe to believe that a badger would choose my garden for its home, and she was very much hoping it would be a hedgehog. But I am a very unusual grandma, as I have given away all my cameras – and don't even own a telephone with the capacity to take photos. But I assured her that it looks almost exactly like the one on the website dedicated to wildlife homes.
Then she wanted me to check for badger hairs. Well, I am not a specialist in what badger fur looks like, other than it probably greatly resembles dried up grass cuttings, which I know there is an abundance of in the area, and I am not happy about doing a close inspection of the site.
She suggested I put something large and heavy in the way to block the entrance. I considered a flower pot.
Her friends seemed to think that my sett was probably an exit hole from a large sett – which I know exists a few blocks from here. They also said that if I tried to destroy it, or block its entry or use any sort of chemical deterrent, I would in fact be breaking the law – the protection of Badgers Act.
Who would know? Well quite a few people know now, one way and another. I did write to the
Badger Society asking for advice. No reply from them, but they may have sent their spies to circle the area, to pounce on me as soon as I put my flower pot in place.
Monday at bridge, I asked a friend who has a large garden, and also an interest in wildlife for her opinion. She had experience with badgers herself, and suggested all sorts of deterrents which might work, and wouldn't be breaking any laws. She thought if I brought an empty milk bottle to bridge, and asked all the men to donate their urine, I might have a solution. But I can't see me asking, or them contributing somehow.
She also said that any strong smell might put the badgers off – so spraying perfume or room deodorizer or some such might work. (The internet mentions citronella.) She also said she had tried curry powder but thoughtthat since badgers specialise in raiding dustbins which might contain
leftovers from the night before, it might have made it now an attractive flavour for them, so maybe that wouldn't work.
She suggested human hair spread about the hole, and she had actually gone to a hairdressers to collect their sweepings. But I can't see me doing that either.
I did spray some potpourri refresher near the sett last night, but then it rained, so chances are it won't have made any difference whatsoever.
She also said that this is about this time of year when young badgers are kicked out of the
family sett – and it did mean that lots of new homes were needed. Does that make me even meaner to want to be rid of a homeless baby?
Just had a call from my builder who is going to fix my front door. He will be here later so I can get his advice, and maybe ask him to do his ablutions outside.