I was used to city foxes in Ealing, town foxes in surrey, an assortment of hedgehogs, squirrels and even bats coated with the grime of London. But never in my wildest dreams would we end up feeding a set of badgers in our back garden in Newquay.
Newquay’s infrastructure is changing dramatically and as the town expands with yet more concrete and glass, rural aspects are receding at an alarming rate. Local wildlife is being forced to live with an expanded population of humans and its associated problems. With declining badger populations, the opportunity to see them is amazing and privileged at the same time.
Around dinner time every night there is an involuntary action where I suddenly end up in the back garden scraping portions of food off my plate for the badgers to eat. Of course, these meagre scraps are topped up with an assortment of nuts, mamma’s famous meatballs and stewed steak. It is also not unknown for me to suddenly sabotage tins of food proclaiming that they are no longer fit for kitchen use and, yet in the garden they open just fine every time.
As it stands, we are currently feeding at least four badgers that we know of, and they often turn up at different times. It is almost like a shift pattern at work where they stagger their times for eating in the canteen. With more than one meal seating per evening, it is not unusual for me to top up the buffet so that none of the badgers miss out on their Michelin star delights.
And with a new garden fence and gate to be erected soon, a large enough space will be provided so that the badgers can continue their passion for five-star dining. Knowing that they are safe in our garden but also loved and respected for being the majestic creatures that they are.
Footnote: There are various surveys and organisations for recording information about sightings of badgers and other animals. ERCCIS Wildlife Information Service and also People’s Trust for Endangered Species.