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European badger Meles 207012 Danny Green (rspb-images.com)24/02/2009

This big, black-and-white-headed woodland dweller is widely recognised, but much less often seen. There are good badger areas in parts of both the Lowlands and Highlands and some places where you could go on an organised watch.

What to look for

Tufts of coarse grey or black hair on fence wires and posts and beside well-worn animal tracks are clues to badger presence. And badger ‘latrines’ - claw-dug holes with piles of large droppings, used to mark territories - can be obvious. If you’re keen to see more, it’s best to go on an organised watch, perhaps linked-in with a local badger group.

Interesting facts

The badger is the largest British member of the family that includes pine marten, weasel, stoat and polecat, all of which have fairly strong body odours. Badgers have a musky smell, so in some places you might smell them more than you’ll see them. But foxes also do a lot of scent-marking, so you’ll need practice to get your nose in for the nuances!

When and where to see

Badgers keep a low profile through much of the winter, holed-up in their underground ‘setts’. Boars (males) roam to look for sows (females) in March, and cubs could be coming out from setts on summer evenings from June onwards.

Organised watches

Try the Falls of Clyde near New Lanark or Speyside Wildlife, near Aviemore.