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Native Californian, biologist, wildlife conservation consultant, retired Smithsonian scientist, father of two daughters, grandfather of four. INTJ. Believes nature is infinitely more interesting than shopping malls. Born 100 years too late.

Friday, April 26, 2013

In the family way

We're hoping this badger is in the family way, and we can't even prove it's a she-badger.

But she looks feminine, and she is doing all the right things. 

She's spending an awful lot of time in this one burrow at the Chimineas Ranch, and the burrow has a huge tailing of fresh dirt.

And it's baby-badger-time-of-year. They give birth in March and April.

With the help of our trusty friend Craig, and his assistants, RandomTruth and I spent a few days at the ranch last month setting cams at carnivore dens.

At this promising den I set a Sony s600 for stills, and a Bushnell Trophy for videos of playful badger babies.

Regrettably, the Trophy can't be set for night time only, so there's been a flurry of false triggers in the heat of the day.

Craig, our good man in Chimineas has been cleaning the lenses and checking the memory cards.

Here's his most recent message.
"It seems that the badger shots decreased quite a lot over the course of the month.  I'm hoping it's because she had youngsters. 
As the badger usage decreased, Heermann's kangaroo rat visitation increased.  There are many shots of them bouncing around the entrance to the den. 

When I reset the camera, I saw that there was a rodent hole just above the badger den.  It seems unwise for a fossorial small mammal to have a den next to a badger den, but kangaroo rats were never known for their smarts.  
Raccoons visited the den and sniffed around a few times over the course of the set.  I still think that the badger is using this den."  

Knock on wood, my friends.

Let us hope the blessed event has transpired and that mom is blissfully nursing her litter.


Wornoutrangeman said...

I share your regrets about no longer being able to set the Trophy Cam on nights only. The Model 119405 (2009?) had this feature and I stll use these for nightime only, and complain that it is not available on later models! Great badger pictures.

Camera Trap Codger said...

I think you can hack it to change this feature, but it seems like more work than its worth.

Christopher Moore said...

This is fantastic! Badgers are the one of the few mammals I have not seen live. Legend has it that they can dig so fast that when European colonizers came out west and hunted them (apparently their hair was good for lathering on shaving cream) if the badger tried to escape in the sandy desert soils that they could dig faster than the humans could dig with their shovels! Perhaps some exaggeration there, but the point is there nonetheless.


Camera Trap Codger said...

Christopher, I believe that claim about the badger's olympian skills as a digger were confirmed by E.R. Hall in the Mammals of Nevada. Apparently they pack the soil behind them so tightly that the human digger can't catch up.

randomtruth said...

Excellent. And how lucky she is that in this day and age she has a doctor making house calls. :)

Camera Trap Codger said...

Yes, we're lucky that Dr Fiehlgood makes housecalls.

biobabbler said...

Woo-hoo! How exciting. She's a beauty.

And nice little Dipodomys. I love that you can see how glossy the coat is in your photo. Well done!

Camera Trap Codger said...

Unfortunately, this badger was not in the family way. Sorry for the false alarm, but I try to keep a positive outlook. Another badger den was found about a half mile away, and it may well be hers. Next year, maybe.