It has been a beautiful and peaceful time at the Speyside Wildlife Mammal Hide and a joy to watch the Badgers continue to nosy their way around the area looking for food in the summer evening light. The clan have relaxed into the more forgiving summer months with both the food availability and the temperatures increasing. They appear to be very happy to feed in close proximity to one another and methodically move throughout the foraging space silently swinging their heads from left to right in order to catch the smell of edible goods.
The birds, however, are beginning to look increasingly tarnished. The nesting season has proved to be a taxing affair and we have had many adults arriving into the hide looking rather perplexed and missing a feather or two. Often these adults are chased by demanding fledglings, their colours and sounds not yet typical of the grown adult, with questioning flight abilities and often a short tail.
The Badgers have been displaying signs that some members of the clan have been mating. The boars often come in with nicks to the scruff of their neck and the top of their tail. These nicks come from the short fights that can occur between the males when there has been a challenge to the social order. These are typical injuries for the males to carry, however, when we have a female arrive with the occasional nick around her scruff and wet marks around the neck this is usually a sign that she has been mated with. The Boars will hold onto the scruff of the neck as they go through the process and this is how she can end up with these marks. This hopefully means that they are preparing for the following year and potentially the arrival of some new faces!
The Badgers do not have exclusive partners and because they live with their family group called a clan they have the luxury of being able to mate all year round. This means that they have to have a process in place in order to avoid the cubs being born at difficult times of the year. This process is called delayed implantation and it means that although the females can become pregnant at any point in the year, the cubs will only ever be born at the best time of year when the weather is improving. The process is timed so that the fertilized egg will not implant in the womb until late December so that the cubs are always born around February/March time and weaned around May when the most food becomes available. This increases the cub’s chances of thriving and surviving into adulthood.
Recently we have had the exciting arrival of a brand new cub into the hide! Our Wildlife Bonanza holiday group have had a wonderful first encounter with this newest member of the clan. This is a slightly later appearance than we would expect and caught everybody off guard! The cub itself, accompanied by their mother into the area, appeared to be very curious and playful in nature. We are yet to determine the sex of the new arrival but they have already become a bold new addition to the clan!
If you would like to come and spend an evening in the hide and possibly catch a glimpse of our newest arrival follow the link below for further information on how to book!