The badger is an intriguing combination of cute and ferocious. Although a common and unmistakable animal, widely distributed throughout Europe, its nocturnal habits mean it is rarely seen. They are an incredibly social animal, with large family groups living together in extensive burrow systems, some of which can be centuries old! Badgers are very clean animals and will not poo or bring food into the burrow. They use a communal toilet far away from their home so that parasites are not attracted and the chambers stay hygienic.
They are typical omnivores, eating everything from berries to rabbits. However their favourite food is earthworms, of which they can eat 200 in one night. With their strong claws and bite they are also one of the only animals which can predate hedgehogs. Their acute sense of smell (800 times better than ours) allows them to find much of their food deep under the ground.
All of this digging, to find food and to create their burrows, is important for many other species of plants and animals that need these areas of disturbed soil. Many small mammals, reptiles and amphibians use their abandoned burrows as safe refuges.