Badgers - Meles meles; European or Eurasian badger in Oxfordshire

article written by Debbie White, Oxfordshire Badger Group

Most people unfortunately only see one of Britain’s most iconic species lying dead on the side of the road, but some are lucky enough to capture a glimpse of this instantly recognisable animal that has been roaming the countryside for over half a million years.

Whilst a lot of what is known about badgers came out of the great work at Oxfordshire’s Wytham woods, there remains a special enigma around this nocturnal animal that spends a large proportion of its life underground.


Key badger facts:

  • Native omnivorous mammal, related to otters, stoats and weasels.
  • Small head, stocky body and strong claws.
  • Powerfully built with distinctive black, white and grey fur. Erythristic badgers are ginger/brown coloured. Leucistic badgers are pale /white, albinos are rare.
  • Weight 7-13 kilos (15-29 lbs in spring, builds up to 15-17 k (33-37 Ibs) in autumn.
  • Nocturnal, active from spring through late autumn. Less active in winter but do not hibernate.
  • Female badgers exhibit delayed implantation; they mate any time of year and with different males, but always give birth around January/ February.


Oxfordshire Badger Group (OBG) was set up in January 1989 to promote humane, ethical and tolerant behaviour toward badgers and advocate the conservation and protection of their habitats through public outreach and education. We want everyone to understand, appreciate and celebrate this iconic native animal.

Run and staffed entirely by volunteers, OBG helps Oxfordshire’s badgers in several ways:

Badger populations are present in both urban and rural habitats across the county. OBG record officers have been maintaining sett and sighting records for over 30 years. We constantly work to ensure they are up to date through regular sett surveys and checking up on reports from members of the public. We now share information with Thames Valley Environmental Records Centre (TVERC) via a mutual data sharing agreement that respects the sensitivity of our data.


Sett surveying:


OBG receives reports of badgers involved in road traffic accidents every day.

A dedicated team will check each badger, confirm death, and log a grid reference. If the badger is not dead, but injured, the rescue team takes over. Similarly with a dead lactating female, the rescue team will look for orphaned cubs. If the death is deemed suspicious, our crime team will assume responsibility working with Thames Valley Police and The Badger Trust.

OBG includes 7 rescue teams spread throughout Oxfordshire. Working closely with local wildlife hospitals to get injured badgers the help they need as quickly as possible.

In 2018 OBG started a badger vaccination project, vaccinating our first badger in 2019, under license from Natural England. Badgers are vaccinated against Bovine Tuberculosis. Whilst the primary spread of bTB is from cattle to cattle, the disease does spill over into the wildlife population and by vaccinating badgers against this disease we can offer landowners a humane alternative to the badger cull.

One of the main threats to badgers in Oxfordshire is development. Badgers and their setts are protected under The Protection of Badgers Act 1992. It is a serious offence to kill, injure or take a badger, or to damage or interfere with a sett unless a licence is obtained from a statutory authority.

Information shared with TVERC can highlight to developers where badger setts are and ensure that setts are properly mitigated for when planning applications are implemented.

We welcome records of setts, live sightings, and dead badgers submitted via the form on the OBG website. Every piece of information concerning badgers is held confidentially by OBG and only shared on a need-to-know basis with a limited number of organisations such as TVERC, Thames Valley Police and the RSPCA.


Signs of badger activity:

For more information on joining Oxfordshire Badger Group, to submit a record, or to find out more about volunteering to help these fascinating animals please visit:

Posted: February 23, 2022