Badger Dens | The Ultimate Guide


badger-den

We are going to discuss badger dens in this guide and explain some of the different ways that you might be able to identify a badger den. Badger dens provide protection and security from other hazards in the wilderness. These underground dens are similar to shelters. They serve as an underground layer of protection with multiple entrances and exits. 

Another term that can be used to describe a badger den is a ‘sett’.  They are usually constructed with the advanced digging skills that badgers naturally develop as they grow older. There are usually multiple entrances and exits so that badgers can roam around into various parts of their local territory. 

Badger dens are constructed for several reasons. Badgers use them to find food underground, but also to have some protection from the wilderness. They rely on these underground systems of tunnels to protect them and sometimes they can come across a meal that will benefit their diet.

What is the Den of a Badger Called?

The den of a badger is called a sett, a set, or just a badger hole. Animals use dens for many reasons, including shelter from the weather, a place to sleep, giving birth, and storing food in them. Badgers have sets with many tunnels and entrances that make it easy for them to come and go without being detected.

We’re going to refer to badger sets/setts as dens and setts from this point on. So either will mean the same thing. Dens are essentially homes for the badgers, they work on them over time, and they may move or leave a den behind if they need to.

See our article for Where do Badgers Live here.

Badger Den Size

You’re probably interested in learning more about the size of a badger den. Considering that most badger dens are usually combined into an underground network of tunnels, you might be surprised at how large these tunnels can actually be.

On average, these tunnels can be up 10 feet deep and three times longer. Tunnels exceeding 30 feet are not uncommon, but sometimes badgers prefer to build smaller dens in multiple locations within their territory.

One thing that badgers have to consider when digging their den is the concept of flooding from a rainstorm. If not constructed properly, badgers can get soaked or even drown. This is one of the reasons that the main badger den chamber is usually constructed higher than the tunnel system so that flooding is unlikely. 

How To Identify A Badger Den 

As gross as it might sound, badgers actually use dung/scat to mark their territory. This will generally include their den too. Dark green, brown, or grey markings near the entrance of a badger den will pretty much give it away and make it easy to identify. 

If you see these markings near a location where you think a badger has been digging tunnels underground, then you’re probably right to assume that you’ve stumbled across a badger den. There are other signs to look for as well, specifically the shape of the entrance.

Just be sure not to mix up a badger den with a den for some other animal. The entrances can look very similar and it wouldn’t be all that hard to confuse the den with the home for some other animal.

How Many Dens Can A Badger Have?

It is not uncommon for badgers to have multiple dens within their home range. Badgers will usually travel between each of their dens and they can have up to a dozen dens/setts at the same time in their region.

You might be wondering if multiple badgers can live in the same den. This is usually rare, but certainly not impossible. Badgers prefer to remain alone in their den, but sometimes multiple badgers do live in the same den. A group of badgers is called a clan. Source.

badger-sett

How Long Does It Take For A Badger To Build A Den?

It can take weeks, months, or even years for a badger to build a den. The amount of time depends on how sophisticated the tunnel system may be within the den. Having multiple badgers contribute to digging and excavating the tunnel system can speed up the process, but in most cases, badgers prefer to work by themselves.

In-depth badger dens can be more than 1,000 feet in length per tunnel and are capable of having multiple entrances and exits. It could take a badger several weeks or months to construct a network of tunnels that is connected to the upper chamber of their den. Badgers can spend a significant portion of their lives building and living within these tunnel systems. Source.

Fox Den or Badger Sett?

You may have come across a den that you think could belong to either a fox or a badger. There are a few things you can look for that should alert you to which kind of animal it belongs to. Both animals dig dens in the ground, with multiple tunnels and entrances.

A fox den will be a hole around 7-8 inches wide. The tunnel goes down at a slope into the ground about 3 feet down. Their tunnel systems are not as complex as a badger, they have around 2-4 holes dug out just off of the main tunnel entrance.

A badger’s den will have a mound of dirt next to it. The hole is around the same size as a fox’s den. Both animals mark their dens with feces. Scat is a good way to tell what kind of animals are around. Fox scat is much larger than badger scat, around 3 inches long, tubular, and ½ inch thick. Badger scat is mushier since a lot of their diet consists of worms.

Conclusion

Understanding the importance of a badger den/sett can help you to understand portions of their lifestyle. A den for a badger can provide safety and allow them to transport themselves underground without being exposed to potential predators on the surface. This certainly has its benefits and can benefit badgers in several categories, including survival, hunting, and moving efficiently within their environment.

Chad Fox

Chad Fox is an outdoorsman who loves spending time in nature, working on ranches in Texas, and observing wildlife.

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