Badger on the doorstep of the Soosaare sett inspecting the freshly fallen snow.
Posted by the team of the Animal of the Year, 06.11.2016
Last week the second snowfall in a row came and it seems that so it will be in the nearest future. The weather reports say that there will be steadily more snow, the wintery minus degrees will also stay. In the fresh snow the forest animals behaved as they usually do. They became more settled and so there was less action in the cameras. Even the badgers stayed indoors after the snowfall. After all, the time has arrived to settle down in a burrow for the winter nap.
Before the arrival of the snow however the week was unexpectedly lively.
Facing the Soosaare sett’s front burrows a surprising view opened up. You might have believed that the badgers that we have seen on camera and that have eaten themselves fat and totter on unstable feet across the sett would begin to be increasingly drowsy on the eve of winter. The metabolism too should be preparing for the long fasting period. And yet it was one of the liveliest weeks overall: the badgers romped in view of both the Soosaare bog-side cameras. For the first time the trail cameras recorded all three badgers of the sett in one frame.
The young badger seems to have been the one to take over the playing. It tugged at the female badger, they romped together and scratched each other. Even the old fat male badger, who has not been seen up to now romping in camera view, caught the urge to play. A couple of times the male badger himself even turned a quiet moment into play with his tricks.
As at the first camera there was enough playful mood at the second, bogside, camera too.
At the back-side burrows of Soosaare the badgers were more quiet. In the middle of the video there is series of frames where the badgers move from left to right across the sett, past the burrows facing the camera. They are three badgers returning with short intervals back to the sett before dawn from a joint foraging trip. The camera also caught roe deer and a young elk bull.
For the winter period the use of the burrows at the sett has found another rhythm. While in autumn the first two powerful burrow openings were quite without badgers and the activity was concentrated to the two back ones then now the two front burrows are more popular again and the back ones are simply walked past.
From the back burrows the most clearly trampled-in path meanders down into the forest. Along that they come home in the video: along the path, across the back burrow openings to the front burrows
At the Salumetsa badger burrows it was another week without badgers. Raccoon dogs and foxes regularly go to the sett too. Roe dear also visited.
Last week we also took a look at the burrows of the second home of the Salumetsa badgers. The dry leaves carried into the burrows let us hope that we finally had found them. But there were no badgers. Foxes, raccoon dogs, roe deer and a boar came in camera view.