The new year is upon us and all sorts of things are happening unseen on the reserve. At this very moment, all being well, there are at least five pregnant badgers here on site. We have quite a few badger setts at the Falls of Clyde and within each sett the dominant female will give birth to two or three cubs towards the end of winter. Badgers will mate at any time of the year (most often the spring and summer months), with multiple partners, and they have what is known as delayed implantation. So although the egg is fertilised, it will go into a dormant state until December, where it will then develop into a fully formed foetus.
This means that all cubs (who may all have different fathers) will generally be born in February and you might be wondering why they would do this. It is a brilliant adaptation that allows for the cubs of having the best chance of survival. A cub born at this time of year will begin to emerge from the sett at the beginning of spring. Food availability will increase at this time of year and they will have the maximum amount of time to grow and fatten up before the cold weather arrives in the coming winter.
We are starting to put together this years events programme here at the Falls of Clyde and we will once again be running a number of badger watches from May through to August. We’ve been very lucky over the years to see lots of badger cubs and adults at the sett that we watch, so if you are looking for something a bit different to do this year, make sure to check out our events listings over the coming weeks – www.scottishwildlifetrust.org.uk/events.
Laura Preston, Falls of Clyde Ranger
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