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Smell is the badger’s most important sense. This is indicated by the very large surface area provided by the scroll bones within the nasal chamber of the badger’s skull. These are covered with a layer of membrane containing millions of sensitive cells, largely concerned with the detection of a wide range of smells. Scent plays an important part in recognising other badgers, finding food, detecting danger and following trails, some of which are centuries old.

 

 

Although their tracks are visible to us, they are scent trails to the badger because they have become impregnated with an oily substance which has a rather faint musky odour, which is secreted from a pair of glands just beneath the tails of badgers.

 

 

 

Intercommunication

 

 

 

Badgers, like bears, possess the habit of measuring their full height against some obstacle that affords exercise for their front claws. The trunks of Elder bushes are badgers' favourite scratching posts; Hawthorn, Pine, and Ash trees are also used. The whole clan or family adjourns along the trail at more or less regular intervals to leave the sign of their passing. One sees the claw marks of father and mother high up on the scale of reach, as high as 42 inches. Lower down are the claw marks of the cubs, each having registered its height. Quite often a trampled area clear of leaves close by the scratching post indicates a type of dance and play area where they rush and tumble about with complete abandon. The rest of the territory is treated with caution. There is good reason to think that these scratching posts afford a system of intercommunication for the whole social group. Scent trails are laid down with squat marks and after many generations of badgers use, well worn paths extend across the clans territory. All badgers of the same clan mark each other frequently. This common scent allows them to protect their territory, all intruders are normally driven out of the clans foraging areas.

 

 

Communal latrines mark the perimeter of the clan’s territory well laced with scent. We have found a social group boundary marked with a continuous latrine line extending for more than 20 metres. Another social group leaves their faeces dotted thickly on top of the ground where a path crosses a river.

 

 

Badgers also communicate with sound, from high blood curdling squeals to very low chuckling like sounds. They also make purring noises; one tone appears to be an alarm call. In fact careful study will identify a very complex vocabulary.