Badgers’ Bums



Enough of the gloom and doom already! It’s time to smile again.

This is all Chris Smith’s fault (You know who you are Chris), since he set me the challenge. I wrote on my Facebook status that I felt as rough as a badger’s arse, which on reflection was a bad move as I have had endless comments asking me how I know how rough a badger’s behind might be. Then Chris remarked about me writing a poem about it and here we are. Anyway, I hope it’ll put a smile on a few faces(you know who you are, too!)

For the record, I used to work as a warden on a nature reserve, and have more hands-on experience with badgers(bums and all) than most people, though I confess that only a fool would try to stroke a living, wild badger. All the badgers’s bums I have ever touched have belonged to deceased badgers, some of them stuffed and displayed in various places.

Badgers are mysterious creatures and until quite recently not a massive amount was known about their complex social structure because the majority of it was conducted underground. Some bright spark cottoned on to the idea of cameras in setts and we learned a great deal. Badger families are known as clans and are usually matriarchal. An extended family live together in a sett that can often have been used for hundreds of years, if not thousands. They are very clean animals, use purpose built latrines at a suitable distance from their homes and change their bedding daily. A great deal of time is spent on grooming and keeping their fur in order, especially during the long winters. They don’t hibernate but do become somewhat sluggish and inactive.

Badger sows are know to practice polyandry, that is to say, having more than one husband. The chief husband lives and shares the sett bedchamber with the sow, but she has a reserve younger male waiting in the wings, and at some point, the two males swap places. The older male carries on living in the sett and simply ceases to be the top male; it all seems quite amicable…. 

The badger is the largest remainding predator in the UK, being substantially heavier than the red fox. It has also the thickest skin of any animal native to the UK, which is a good half inch thick, meaning it’s also one of the toughest animals around, something that has led to the cruel practise of badger baiting.

I had the privilege many times of watching badgers in the wild, having them approach me to within a few feet, but never dared to put out a hand. They strike me a wise and sensible beasts but unlike otters which continue to play into adulthood, generally they are not playful after cubhood.

Anyway, nature lesson over. Here’s a simple bit of doggerel in honour of the badger and its not so rough bum:       

Rough Stuff?


Badgers’ bums are not so rough:

Trust me on this, I’ve stroked enough!

A badger who keeps his fur in trim

Ensures that no one laughs at him.

It’s not so smooth as kitten fur,

But that’s OK as they don’t purr:

They grunt and snort and sniff all night

And groom their fur so it’s all right.

A badger’s skin’s the thickest stuff

And sure, their fur’s not made of fluff,

But even if you need a shaving brush,

A badger’s fur should stay on its tush.

On reflection I start now to see

That some phrases that are used by me

Do not mean what I’d like them to,

So I shall invent one just for you:

Some things are rougher than a badger’s arse,”

Don’t ask me what, I’ll have to pass!




21 thoughts on “Badgers’ Bums

  1. 😀
    Some things are rougher than a badger’s arse!

    Please Viv, please – tell us what those rough things are?


    • My hair some days for one; it’s like the mane of a Shetland pony!!!
      Actually you can tell if hair caught on a barbwire fence is dog, fox or badger by rolling it between finger and thumb. Dog hair(and fox hair) are round and smooth and roll easily; badger hairs are actually squared and go thunk thunk thunk as you roll it.(very very quietly of course!!)


  2. Priceless, Viv. Love the poem and the story. Are they they only animal (besides humans) to build their own latrine? Never heard of such a thing. Then there’s the extra mate hanging in the wings….


    • Badgers have got it all sorted!
      I think other animals do dig lattie pits. One of the joys(!!) of working with them was going through the latrine pits to retrieve plastic tags we put in food to see quite how far they travelled…the smell changes dramatically according to season and what they’ve been eating.
      The extra mate thing amused me; in the depths of winters, the three of them will all curl up together some times…..


  3. Oh Viv, that made me smile. 🙂 Only you could write an “ode to a badger’s bum”. I’ve got lots to smile about at the moment, but not much energy to do it with, so it’s good to have a smile in spite of the packing . *chuckle*


    • let me know the new address Jenny, and I’ll try and remember to send a card. I forgot for the last move because it was around the same time I’d only just moved here.
      I’ve been in the whole packing space too often.


  4. Loved it Viv! 🙂
    That is some challenge, writing a poem about “how rough a badger’s behind might be” but you definitely pulled it off 🙂


    • I was thinking of writing a post asking my readers to set me a challenge, and get me to write something about a subject of their suggesting. It’s a good exercise; I used to do it a lot for Stories without Words but I’m not a terribly visually orientated person so I sort of dried up.
      What worries me is the possible suggestions that might come up!


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  6. Pingback: Be more Badger ~ calling afresh on an old ally | Zen and the Art of Tightrope Walking

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