When my phone rings in the small hours, as it did at about ten past one on Saturday morning, I know what the call is going to be about. Sure enough, as I struggled to wake up properly (I’ve not been 100% over the last few weeks) the voice on the other end of the line was telling me about an injured badger on the side of a road.
The casualty was not too far from where I live (in fact the road in question is one that I use to get to my woodland watching sett), so I dressed and set off on another rescue mission. My caller, at the county police headquarters, had told me that a police car was waiting by the badger and sure enough I could see blue flashing lights in the distance when I was still about three miles away from the scene of the accident.
When I arrived I saw that the officers had parked their car in such a way as to protect the badger from being hit again. I could also see that the unfortunate RTA victim was struggling to get up, but making no progress. His front legs were moving, but his back legs were not, which was not a good sign. I lifted the badger – a yearling, judging by the size of him – into my rescue cage, and headed for the vet’s after calling to make sure that someone would be there to receive the patient.
At the surgery we assessed the badger’s condition. He was alert and his front end was working perfectly, although he made no attempt to bite when I stroked the fur on his flanks. His back end on the other hand was not working. It seemed most likely that he had spinal injuries and permanent paralysis of his hind legs, like the adult badger shown in the photo here who I rescued in 2006. The only option in this situation is euthanasia. However, there was a chance that he might have bruising to the spine from which he would recover. So I left the badger at the surgery and headed home to catch up with my much-needed sleep.
Sadly, the badger showed no sign of recovery over the hours that followed and later that morning it was agreed that he should be put to sleep.
At a rather more civilised hour this morning, my phone rang again. Another badger had been found lying on the side of the road, again not too far from where I live. I arrived at the scene to find that this one was a cub. He had been picked up and made comfortable on a duvet in a dog basket. Although conscious and breathing, he was making no attempt to move. Another trip to the vet’s was in order.
At the moment the cub, shown above, is still at the vet’s. Which means that this blog entry is going to have a cliffhanger ending, and I am going to ask you to keep your fingers crossed and hope that this badger pulls through.