In a complete change from our normal program, today I want to write about badger visits and male urine as a deterrent. It ends with the fact that I had to change my clothes and scrub myself down so keep reading.
Badger Visits And Male Urine As A Deterrent
We have been having visits from our lovely badgers (Madge, Tyson and Boomer). Early evening we start looking out for them and they are often under the mulberry tree near the house so we get a really good view. Their eyesight is dreadful so they don’t seem bothered by our moving around above us, or the music we have playing. We shut the dogs inside but Stevie Mouse likes to sit and wait with us. She is clearly fascinated by the badgers moving around below.
Madge and Niblet
It started with Madge. We had seen her a few times on our night camera. But one early evening she appeared out of the undergrowth from our patch of woodland and we fell in love with her.
One night she appeared in our front garden under one of the trees. We watched her by torchlight and she wasn’t remotely bothered about us or our whispered conversation. She was digging away looking for food in the leaf littler. And then Niblet, our smallest cat, launched herself at Madge and tried to scratch her nose! Madge just turned around and carried on digging!
Tyson and Boomer
A few days later, Madge appeared with a big strong, handsome chappy my parents named Tyson. Then a half grown one appeared that I called Boomer.
Some Destruction Is Inevitable
Some destruction is inevitable when you share some land, half way up a mountain, with a load of wild animals! We have spent years watching the porcupines feast on my iris on my night camera! At the same time I groan at them digging up my precious plants, I am ‘oohing and aaahing’ at how they hold the bulbs and eat them. They are so cute!
Then one night mayhem had been brought to one of my iris beds at the side of the house. I blamed the porcupines as usual. But, when I looked at what was left of the rhizomes that had been dug out, the way they had been nibbled away at was different to how Porcupines approach it. And I thought it might perhaps be the badgers.
My Front Garden
Right at the front of the house is the only bit of garden I have actually tended and is (or should I say was) full of bulbs and iris. It is hard to plant when the land is essentially rock. But I had done quite well. Recently we had the trees pruned which opened up the whole area – the right decision for the trees but clearly a wrong decision in terms of the garden! Yesterday morning we woke up to pot holes and plants strewn everywhere. And clear evidence of badgers with them having made a very obvious toilet area.
We then set about trying to ‘badger proof’ what was left of my little garden. We erected a fence as best we could, bearing in mind we couldn’t bury the bottom of the fence or get the stakes in very far because of the rock.
We reused some old plastic fencing which is probably as much use as a chocolate teapot but we did our best! We piled both sides of the fence with rocks and with empty garden pots to try and put as much of a barrier as possible. Then we come to the yukky bit.
Badgers are very short sighted but have a keen sense of smell. I looked up what things deter them and the first thing that came up was lion dung. Well, just wait while I find me a lion up here on the mountain! Sarcasm aside, you can order it online I have discovered. But it will also deter cats so that won’t work we have 16 of the little furry burgers.
Other smells that put them off including Citronella Oil (not good for cats) and Scotch Bonnet Peppers which again are things not available here. But one thing did catch my eye. But it all depended on Barnet Boy.
Apparently badgers can be put off by the smell of human male urine. Badgers see it as territory marking and they won’t cross it. So the question became, how do I ask BB for his urine?
In the end it was easy. I think nothing I asked him would surprise him LOL. He said he would happily donate but he just needed a jam jar. The instructions for use are to dilute the urine 1:4 with water and spray it on the boundary you want to establish. That way the smell is not too strong. This has to be applied ever five days or so and after it rains so BB could be using that jar every few days for a while.
Luckily we do not have close neighbors and, to be frank, the smell of badger is pretty rank anyway!
This morning I took the jam jar of urine and added it to a spray bottle with the required amount of water. I went outside and started spraying – only for the top to drop off and the bottle bounce showering me with some of the contents. There was enough left for the job in hand, and I gritted my teeth and carried on with the job, spraying all around the bottom of the new fence we had erected. Then I had to change my clothes and wash!
Now we wait to see if all the defenses work. I will put an update here in a week or so to say if it has worked. I have now learned more about badger defenses and male urine as a deterrent than I ever wanted to know. If it works I will be happy. And the badgers have plenty more iris and other things to eat on the rest of the land.
Before you go
My name is Dorothy Berry-Lound an artist and writer. You can find out more about my art and writing at https://dorothyberryloundart.com.
Thank you for reading!