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The Badger (Broc) --: The badger is a beautiful animal native to Ireland. The badger can be found in almost every county. The badger is a member of the same family as the otter, stoat and pine marten. It measures about 1m in length, has short powerful legs a narrow head with a wide stripe along the side of its face through each eye. For its size it is a heavy animal and looks clumbsy when it moves. The badger hunts, plays and eat at night, this is why the badger is called a nocturnal animal. Badgers are very clean and tidy animals. The badger eats earthworms, rabbits and small mice and rat's. Badgers are silver-grey in colour. A badger can grow to a length of 90cm and can weigh up to 18kg. Badgers have very poor eyesight but their senses of hearing and smell are very good. Badgers dig their underground home with their strong front claws. Their home is called a sett. A sett is a number of connected tunnels with several entrances, ending with a chamber or room. You will find them mostly in dry well drained ground, especially in wooded areas. A badger is very careful to have clean material such as bracken. leaves and grass for bedding and is always careful to keep the sett clean and tidy. They live the greater part of their lives underground and only come out in search of food. 

Young badgers are born in early February or March.Three is the usual litter size.  At six weeks old the cubs begin to explore the tunnels of the sett and come above ground at eight weeks. Badgers cubs are very playful from May to August, by this time they are three quarters grown and some may leave the sett to take up life on their own. Dawn is usually the best time to see them, but most of us would be in our beds at this time, as it is very early  the morning. It eats many different types of food, such as insects, wasps, bees,bulbs of plants and acorns. It looks for this type of food by rooting about with its snout in the undergrowth. It also eats frogs, rats and mice and in spring may steal eggs.

Like other animals it likes to mark out its territory and he has a special gland which has a musky smell, which it sprays around the edges of its territory to wrn off other badgers. A badger will run away and hide but if cornered but it will fight savagely if it has to. Our teacher was telling us about a time when he was small, he came across a badger hunt out in the country. Small tough dogs were sent in to attack the badger and some of them came out with their eyes hanging out from a swipe of the badgers claw. Some people watched for fun. I think that this is very cruel. Most of us only see dead badgers as they are often found dead on the side of the road. this happens when the badger is out hunting at night ,he rambles out on to the road and he gets dazzled by the car lights and he runs out under a car and gets killed.

The hair is used in the making of  shaving brushes and also for artists brushes. My grandad has a shaving brush, but my Dad used a shaving cream from a can, instead of a brush.The badger does not harm anyone. The badger is a protected species under the Wildlife  Act of 1976.

Anthony Dunphy