Soomaa badger sett

Submitted by Looduskalender EN on Mon, 12.09.2016 - 11:13
mägralinnak Soomaal peauks
Posted by the Animal of the Year team, 02.09.2016.

The arched main gate. The highest burrow entrance of the beautiful Soomaa sett goes in between the collapsed walls of the old earth cellar.

mägra kraanikauss
Luxurious bathroom. A human too can drink from the badger’s ”sink”.

The leader of the hunters, Tõnis Korts, showed the fairytale Soomaa badger sett. An arched entrance and 15 burrow openings, magnificent as a country mansion. We marvelled at how the badgers have managed to construct such a powerful fortress here on the low watery ground –in Soomaa where in addition to the fifth season sometimes also a “sixth season” surprises with high waters. As happened this year in mid-August when roads and courtyards,  up to the thresholds, swam in water. “Soomaa is not any place whichever for badgers,” Tõnis Korts explained.” When it turns wet at the wrong time the cold can kill the badger.” But badgers have found the few places suitable for building in Soomaa. “They are the highest places around here”, Tõnis Korts assures. It shows too – all around high humidity reigns, the badger sett however is dry. “The best places in Soomaa man has seen too and on most of them built farmsteads. With the building of farms badgers were driven out. Now when people have gone the badger gets the places back,” Tõnis Korts comments. Maybe at times badgers make trouble too and build their burrows in buildings still in use – then it is not quite as entertaining. Here in the old earth cellar however nobody disturbs the badger. Together we counted 15 active burrow entrances. Which shows that the sett should be protected by law – 10 are enough to achieve this status.

mägra küünejäljed
The badger’s powerful claws have ripped the bark from a trunk broken by the wind – caterpillars could be had there.
mägra vagu
A decent hallway. The furrow from the comings and goings of the badger are clearly visible.
kitsejäljed mägrauru ees
A large badger lives here. A curious roe deer also knows this: it has pressed strong clove tracks on the sand heap scraped out by the badger (on the right, the “holes” in pairs). We found hairs from the badger’s fur  directly at the entrance where it had been scratching itself
mägralinnak vanas talukohas
The stand of deciduous trees of the old abandoned farmstead is higher than the surrounding marshy landscape. The old foundation which now has become a playing ground for the badgers is also visible.



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