Mammal Identification

Badger Meles meles

Identification features


  • Black and white striped face, with black stripes through the eyes
  • Long body with short legs
  • Fur on body is grey/black coloured.
  • Black coloured legs
  • Short whitish tail
  • Feet have five toes, front feet have long claws

Badgers are nocturnal and rarely seen during the day. They excavate burrows (setts) with their powerful feet. Active setts have freshy excavated earth mounds nearby. Badger dung pits can be found near sett entrances.

Other identification clues:


Badger hairs can often be found caught on the bottom of wire fences and mixed in with freshly excavated earth at sett entrances. Badger hairs are black and white in colour and are coarse so that they appear angular when rolled between fingers.

Photo of badger footprints in soil

Badger footprints have 5 toes in front of a broad kidney-shaped palm pad. The toes almost appear to be in a line and the forefoot ones have long claws.


Badger dung pit: Derek WhiteleyThe colour and content of badger droppings vary according to what they have been eating. In the autumn when blackberries are abundant droppings may appear purple. At other times they can be black. They can be found in badger latrines (shallow depressions) near sett entrances which are covered.


Photo: Derek WhiteleyBadger setts, especialy main and annex setts have more than one entrance. The holes are 25-30cm in diameter and dome shaped. Active setts have fresh earth excavated near them. Piles of vegetation used from bedding may also be found nearby when it has been replaced by fresh vegetation.

Status in Derbyshire information