Tuesday, May 17, 2011


Having noted that badgers appear to be embarking on major subterranean engineering works in our garden,  I decided to consult Google on what I might do to deter them.  First thing that popped up was:
"You should consider how fortunate you are to have these animals in your garden, despite any damage they may cause. There are a lot of people who would give anything to have their own garden Badger sett."  
All the same, the thought of a complex of dugouts, ditches and other military-style  earthworks just a few yards from our back door is just the sort of thing that keeps me  awake at night. Especially in view of the next piece of information I unearthed:
"The Badger Protection Act 1992 forbids interference with badgers or their setts until a licence is granted by the government body Natural England, with offenders risking a fine of up to £5,000 for each badger or sett affected."
But this is nothing, compared with the following seemingly innocuous advice:
"... if badgers start to excavate a sett in your garden you should seek immediate help." 
It's the ambiguity that is so alarming here. What sort of help are they talking about? Counselling, perhaps? Or is it something altogether darker that is being hinted at?

I find myself recalling a passage from Flann O'Brien's The Plain People of Ireland. Rummaging through the bookcase, I find it:
"... you'll find it's a badger you have in the house. Them lads would take the hand off you. Better go aisy now with them lads. Ate the face of you when you're asleep in the bed. Hump him out of the house before he has you destroyed man. Many's a good man had the neck off him by a badger. A good strong badger can break a man's arm with one blow of his hind  leg, don't make any mistake about that. Show that badger the door." 
But of course badgers are peaceful and shy creatures. What can I be thinking of?  And we don't have them in the house (just yet). I should try keeping things in proportion.

All the same ....