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No licence is required to survey for badgers.Large sett entrance with two tunnels.  Hall 2011.  However, surveys should be undertaken by a suitably trained and experienced ecologist as badgers are protected from disturbance whilst they occupy a sett.

The Stage 1 Survey provides information on the use of the site by badgers.  As badgers are primarily nocturnal and searching for them at night is not cost effective, our Stage 1 Badger paw print.  Hall 2011.Survey focuses on the destinctive signs of badgers instead.  These signs include setts, latrine sites, snuffle holes, footprints, hairs and feeding remains.

A badger sett is fairly easy to differentiate from other animal burrows.  The sett entrance is usually a D shape (having fallen on to its flat side) and is normally wider than it is high (at least 20cm).  Below the sett entrance is Badger latrine.  Hall 2011.usually a very distinctive fan of excavated material.  This can sometimes be very large and can give an indication of the size of the underground tunnel and chamber system that they have created.  This excavated material can have old badger bones and old bedding in.

The badger footprint is also very distinctive and is relatively easy to spot.  The paw print Badger sett entrance.  Hall 2012.usually has five toes, although sometimes only four are clear (partial paw prints can be slightly harder to identify), and usually has a row of corresponding claw marks a couple of centimetres away from the toe marks indicating how long the claws of the badger are.

The guard hairs of the badger are again very distinctive.  They sometimes get snagged on barbed wire, under fencing or in bramble and can be identified by their colours.  The guard hair is roughly 70mm long with a silver tip, a dark band about 10mm from the tip with the rest of the hair being a dirty white.  Guard hairs are oval in cross section and will not roll between your fingers but instead will jump about.

A latrine site can be just that, a hold in the ground for a badger to defecate in, but they can also be a territorial marker deliniating territories of different badger clans.

The Stage 1 Survey can also give an idea of the wider use of badgers of the site by identifying the type of sett found during the survey.  Although the definition of the each sett type is still open to discussion being based on research carried out in areas with high badger densities, they are useful in informing an impact assessment of a development on the badger population.

Setts are classified as either: Main, Annexe, Subsidiary, or Outlier.  The Main sett is the primary home a badger clan.  It is where the alpha sow will normally have her cubs.  It is often quite large with well excavated entrances.  The Annexe sett is normally no more than 50m away from the main sett and is linked by well used badger runs (pathways).  It can also be quite large and may even house the cubs of another female of the clan.  The Subsidiary sett is not linked to another sett by clear pathways but may still be fairly large with several badgers being resident at any one time.  The Outlier sett is normally quite small with often no more than one or two entrances and it often sees very little more than occasional use.

Correct sett clasification can be very important as it enables the ecologist to make an informed decision when deciding how much impact a development will have on a resident badger population.

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