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Badgers in Gardens

Many people are delighted and welcome badgers when they visit their garden, but on occasions lawns and plants can be damaged to the disappointment and annoyance of the gardener.


Usually, badgers visit gardens in search of food. They are creatures of habit, living in a social group or family which occupies a territory. This territory may include your garden, and depending on where you live, could include many of your neighbours’ gardens, or surrounding fields if you live in the country. The size of territories can vary considerably.

Badgers are normally nocturnal, so garden visits are generally unseen, unless the sett is nearby when the animals may visit early in the evening. Badgers tend to follow the same routes when they are moving around their territory, so the entry point into your garden should be easy to find.

On occasions an injured or sick badger may seek refuge in a garden and hide away in an outbuilding or under a shed. If this happens, seek expert help immediately. Likewise, if badgers start to excavate a sett in your garden, seek immediate advice.


Badgers are omnivorous and will eat many things. Most of the time they search for earthworms and insect larvae but they will also eat flower bulbs, fruit and vegetables. They are often attracted to food put out for birds, especially peanuts. The most obvious sign of badgers feeding is when they dig small pits in lawns to remove food such as cockchafer and crane fly larvae.


In dry or frosty weather, badgers are unable to get at their normal earthworm and insect larvae food. Putting out food and water at these times may distract them from the other food available, like your fruit and vegetables. They will readily eat peanuts, most soft fruit, bread and meat scraps. Do not feed sweet things like cake or biscuits which will cause caries in their teeth. It is essential that food put out is fresh enough to eat. Don’t put out food that you wouldn’t eat yourself as there have been cases of severe food poisoning in badgers through eating rotten food.

However, food placement may encourage the badgers to visit more regularly, which could make matters worse if they are causing a nuisance. Often though, badgers eat the food put out for them and so lose interest in digging up your lawn for tasty morsels.


It is recommended that you always seek advice before considering any deterrent action. The Essex Badger Protection Group has lots of experience of dealing with badger problems in gardens and will provide free advice.

Watering your lawn during dry periods will make it easy for badgers to eat their favourite food; earthworms, and so will attract badgers to your garden.

The legislation in place to protect badgers and their setts needs to be clearly understood to avoid illegal but well intentioned action. You could, for example, simply block a badger access to your garden, but if this prevented a badger from getting to or from its sett, it could be an offence. Generally there are several solutions which could be considered.


It is possible to construct a fence that will deter badger entry. Badgers are strong and persistent animals that can easily break through or dig under a weak or poorly constructed fence. They can climb, and will squeeze through quite small gaps.

A strong wooden fence with chain link type fencing attached and extended below ground level, or a chain link type fence with the bottom edge buried in the ground is recommended. An alternative is a stone or brick wall with a suitable foundation.

Electric fencing, either battery or transformed mains supplied, can be an effective deterrent. Such fencing needs to be installed with wires at the appropriate height: 8 cm and 20 cm above the ground.

Wire netting can be used to prevent badgers from digging up your lawn. It can be laid beneath the soil to act as a physical barrier.

A two way gate can be installed into a fence and used to reduce badger damage to the fence.

If badgers are raiding your dustbin for food (which can occur when food is in short supply) secure the bins with expanding straps.

Badgers and their homes (setts) are protected by law and the above are some of the lawful deterrents that can be taken to resolve, or at least, minimise the problems.

PLEASE NOTE: It is illegal to use chemicals like creosote, diesel oil, mothballs
or bleach etc. to deter badgers.

Contact Us:

  • Tel: 07341 944567
           07341 944568

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Patron: Mike Dilger
(Natural History Presenter)

The Essex Badger Protection Group
is affiliated to The Badger Trust

Registered charity No. 1111440

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