Friday, 18 February 2011

Tales from the A55 - the Badger run...

I’m off down the A55 this evening. I call it the badger run. It might sound a bit ghoulish but I’ve taken to counting the number of badgers that I see dead on the side of the road along my regular sixty mile or so stretch.

I feel sorry for badgers. I remember a time when they were a rare sight. These days you can't drive even five miles west, let alone sixty without seeing a dead one. A few weeks ago I counted six - maybe it’s better to be scarce. Just what makes them walk slowly out in front of cars and the speeding trucks of the A55, surely they enough noise to warn them of the danger? Maybe they’re suicidal, or hard of hearing, or a little blind, or maybe they really are stupid as the talking badgers of Narnia.

But aren’t badgers supposed to be wise? After all, Sergeant Badger (of Tufty Club fame) certainly seemed to have all the answers when I was a kid, and Mole (in Toad of Toad Hall) was desperate to see Badger because he was such an important personage that ‘though rarely visible’ was able to make ‘his unseen influence felt by everybody about the place.’

At one time badger blood was drunk to cure disease and during the Second World War and well into the fifties badger meat was eaten regularly in the UK and still is in Russia, China, and even France as Blarieur au sang. Who knows with the way things are going perhaps we’ll soon be eating badger meat again, apparently it’s a very red meat and tastes like a cross between beef and venison.

I didn’t realise it but badgers are members of the weasel family, Mustelidae, nor did I know that witches smeared badger grease mixed with herbs onto their broomsticks to help them to fly, or that a bridle made from badger leather will give you power over horses. One crossing your path will bring you good luck and if you hear one calling that will bring you luck as well. Badgers are also supposed to be able to change their shapes at will. They are the keepers of the stories and will teach passers-by which herbs and plants are good to eat.

So, with all this going for them you think they’d be able to do something as simple as crossing the road wouldn’t you? Even chickens can do that. Perhaps they need some help - but then there’s never a policeman around when you need one is there? I'm off down the badger run again in a while. I wonder how many I'll count this time?


  1. Ok I admit I don't like seeing any animal killed on the road but I can't warm to the badger especially not since they gave my uncle's cows TB and he had to slaughter them.

  2. Barbara Balding commented on Facebook:
    Badgers are nocturnal and elusive, but remain one of the UK's favourite mammals. Like humans, they are omnivorous, although unlike us, they eat several hundred earthworms every night. Badgers are social creatures and live together in large underground setts, comprised of a series of interlocking tunnels with nest chambers, toilets and several entrances. They inherit these setts from their parents, while always expanding and refining them. The resulting huge tunnel systems are, in some cases, centuries old.

  3. Fridays drive resulted in:
    6 Badgers
    2 Foxes
    3 Pheasants
    and something that looked like a domestic cat