Photo of European badger

The European Badger (sometimes called the Eurasian badger) is found in much of Europe, apart from some of the colder, more northern areas and some of the southern islands. It is not found in Corsica. Surprisingly, it's closest 'relatives' are stoats, otters and weasels.

The badger is about 90cm long, including a tail to 20cm. It is of course the white stripe up from the nose and across the top of the badgers head that makes it so readily identifiable. There is further white on the tips of the ears, and in stripes from the snout that pass beneath the eyes. The body fur is largely dark grey or dark brown, with the throat and legs almost black. Apart from the rare wolf and bears, the badger is the largest wild carnivore in France.

Badgers live in communities, typically having five to 12 animals, depending on availability of food in the vicinity. They live in an  undergrund series of burrows called 'setts'. These setts can be very elaborate, with interlinking channels and chambers extending tens of metres under the ground. A sett will have several entrances, some used more commonly than others.

Badgers eat at night - earthworms by preference but also small mammals, insects, fruit, nuts, roots and bulbs.

Like most nocturnal animals, your best chance of seeing them is during the twilight hours (or dead in the road), or by being told of the whereabouts of an established sett.

Footnote: recent visitors to our gite from the USA reported skunks looking in the window in the middle of the night. Since we don't have skunks I imagine they must have seen badgers - unusual boldness on the part of the badger to be peering in the window!

See more wildlife in France.