Posted by the Animal of the Year Team 27.12.2016
The darkest week of the year was warm and so the Soosaare badgers did not sleep off Christmas. All three badgers of the sett went past the camera. Even the fat male with the fluffy tail who has been most rarely seen up to now. The main occupation each time was care of the fur coat. Unlike the excursions of last week it seemed this time that some longer tours in the wood were made too and that the time spent outside was not limited to activities just outside the burrow openings as before. In a couple of recordings we see the badger scraping up moist and wet leaf mush. The camera did not record carrying of the withered material into the burrow but evidently it got there in the end. The batteries of the camera that oversees the burrow where the leaf residue was carried ran empty and the camera was not activated by all movements.
Why however should a clever animal carry wet things into the burrow? It doesn’t do for sleeping on. It is thought that a badger may close the outer burrow openings partly before a longer sleep. And this is done before lasting cold. Fresh weather forecasts promise wintery minus degrees for the beginning of the new year.
When the badgers are outside the raccoon dogs keep respectfully at a distance. They did not even pass outside the first burrows.
Christmas week passed quietly at the rear burrows of Salumetsa. A couple of times raccoon dogs passed by, As at the first burrows, here too the lens of the camera remained misty for several days. The sett is on the slope of a bog isle and on the moist bog much humid air collects on days with thaw. On one such foggy image we see a badger. Past the burrow facing the camera the most trampled path of the sett meanders down to the forest . The comings from the left, on the path side, verified that the badgers made longer excursions during Christmas.
In view of the Salumetsa cameras a familiar pair passed. The mange-riddled raccoon dog with its healthy-looking mate. They did not come into the same frame but from the background sounds it could be heard that they came together. At the end of the video we can see clearly that the raccoon dog inspecting the burrows is a stranger here. It sniffs and listens cautiously, does not dare to creep into the burrows.
In the depth of the sett however another raccoon dog pair has a pleasant nap. Nobody disturbs them, neither an empty stomach nor the badgers that built the stately house.
There is no sign of where the Salumetsa badgers might be. We hope that their bedding is dry and the sleep sweet. Happy Christmas!