Thursday, February 28, 2013

Why do Badgers groom so much?

Yesterday evening's trailcam footage from Sett C revealed the usual amount of Badger grooming, which never ceases to fascinate me. But why do they spend so much time scratching and grooming? Here's one of last night's individuals self-grooming...this one seems to love spending time stretched out on its back!

Most, probably all Badgers, do suffer from Fleas, Ticks and Lice. In fact, the Badger Flea (Paraceras melis) has the distinction of being the biggest Flea that's yet been discovered! But, providing the Badger is relatively healthy, it certainly won't be infested with parasites. In the New Naturalist book, Badger, Timothy Roper shares the results of his study into ectoparasite infestation in Badgers giving an average number of 3 Fleas, 11.9 Lice and 6.3 Ticks per Badger. If it wasn't for regular grooming the results would obviously be a lot higher, as noted in Badgers suffering from disease and starvation.

The trailcam footage from the last few days confirms the fact that self-grooming deals with quite a bit of the body, but mutual or allo-grooming helps to reach those parts that cannot otherwise be reached easily. Here's another sequence from yesterday evening showing a bout of mutual grooming...

....and ending with a brief mating attempt (there was no evidence of further mating activity on the next video sequence which would have been 30 seconds later!).

1 comment:

  1. Great footage. I've been monitoring a Badgers' sett I've found recently, and have seen similar sights. Great to watch their antics!