Intrepid creatures

Submitted by Looduskalender EN on Mon, 05.09.2016 - 22:41

Brown rat in front of badger burrow. All, birds as well as small mammals, seem to regard death outside or inside the predator's burrow as the natural course of things. 
Video: Tiit Hunt

Posted by the Animal of the Year team, 01.09.2016

The list of the numerous guests at the badger sett got an addition – a brown rat (Rattus norvegicus) was busy around the burrow and even slipped inside. Inspecting a potential place to live maybe? Such a creature should of course know where he is straying, an old and experienced animal. The brown rat is a cosmopolitan synanthrop who has become adapted to all kinds of conditions in different continents, so getting out of a badger’s burrow alive is a small thing, or even staying to live there until the natural end of life.  
From spring to autumn the brown rats in our environment are in fact more inhabitants of forests, fields and city parks and leave few signs of themselves in buildings where they move only just before winter to make mischief for us. In the labyrinth of burrows in a badger sett the brown rat can well find space and even so that the houseowner would have no idea of the subtenant. Of course the smell of the rat may betray it since the badger’s sense of smell is very acute and the badger itself a cleanly creature.  
The potential prey animals of the badger seem to scorn death. According to Aleksei Turovski vipers and grass snakes can choose their winter quarters somewhere in a distant nook of the burrow and occasionally even a hedgehog strays there looking for lodgings. So for the badger food walks into the cupboard by itself in such a case – nice to have a fresh mouthful when waking up from hibernation and hunger is pinching .

Tiit Hunt

Audacious creatures at the sett:

Hedgehog  . Life in a badger sett is risky for a hedgehog, since the badger is the only animal whose long claws reach in between the hedgehog’s spines, and what happens then we all know.
Photo: Tiit Hunt
Grass snake. The badger searches out the grass snake in the burrow nooks, when it becomes hungry
Photo: Tiit Hunt
Viper. Quite as grass snakes vipers can also happen to enter a badger sett for wintering. Grass snakes and vipers can  also be in a mixed heap. If it occurs in badger setts is not known.
Photo: Tiit Hunt


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