Badger Facts - Feeding

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Badgers generally feed alone, although they meet and search for food close to each other.

They eat mainly earthworms (especially Lumbricus terrestris).

Badgers need about 200 worms to see them through the days sleep. It is very hard to creep up on worms, as they usually anchor themselves in their in their tunnels, and quickly retreat by contracting their muscles at the slightest vibration or sound. Badgers, therefore, walk across grass with their highly sensitive noses and mouths a centimetre or two above the ground.

Because worms bodies are segmented into separate sections, with each section mostly made up of water, a badger can get all of their moisture without having to drink at all.

An acre of good pasture can support over 100,000 worms and they may live for up to a decade, taking two years for them to mature. Providing conditions are right, a badger can eat 20,000 worms in a year.

What else to badgers eat?

Even when earthworms are available, badgers will take many other foods. Among others:

  • Bank and field voles
  • Mice
  • Rats
  • Moles
  • Shrews
  • Hedgehogs
  • Beetles
  • Wasp grubs
  • (Small) Birds
  • Bird's Eggs
  • Cereals
  • Fruits (blackberries, yew berries, strawberries, apples, pears, plums and acorns)
  • Fungi

Badgers will eat all of these, and the amounts vary very much from year to year. If, for example, earthworms are low in numbers one year, cereals may replace them. Generally speaking though, earthworms make up about half of a badgers diet.