Badgers are interesting nocturnal mammals. A Sett is
an underground home occupied by a group of badgers.
The common location of a sett is a small clearing in
woodland or copses. Quite normally, it is easy to identify
a sett in terms of its entrance looking free of any
vegetation, muddy and with badger prints. A typical
sett is a long tunnel leading to a sleeping chamber.
Most tunnels have several entry holes and a network
of interlinking tunnels. A well-established sett will
normally have several entrances larger than that of
rabbit holes. It is quite usual to find piles of earth
outside a sett.
The chambers inside a sett are used by badgers for
sleeping and breeding. A big sett can even have up to
50 or 100 entrance holes. Such setts would have required
teamwork of a number of badgers over several years.
There are even setts that are more than a hundred years
old. Several generations of badgers would have inhabited
such age-old setts.
One of the badger research studies discovered a massive
sett with twelve entrances with tunnels of over 310
metre. It is observed that to create this huge complex
over several years, the badger teams would have excavated
more than 25 tonne of earth. Most setts are less than
one metre below the ground and closely follow the contours
of the surface above it. However in some cases, setts
can be as deep as 4 metre below the ground. In the network
of tunnels, there are several ventilation holes that
connect the chambers to the surface to aid air circulation.
The most preferred locations for setts are those places
that are easy to dig. Since sandy soil is easy to dig
and stays drier than other types of soils, badgers normally
prefer sandy soils. Badgers avoid digging in clay as
it is sticky and remains wet most of the times. Only
when other types of soils are not found, then they have
clay as their last resort. Since water easily drains
out in slopes letting the soil remain dry, badgers prefer
sloppy areas to others. Though hedgerows and woodlands
are the most popular habitats of badgers, it is not
uncommon to find badgers in moorland, sand dunes, open
fields, abandoned mines, sea cliffs and old quarries.
With respect to their size, layout and usage, setts
can be classified into main setts, annex setts, subsidiary
setts and outlying setts.
When badgers do not use a sett or any of its parts,
it can even serve as hideouts and homes for other animals
like rabbits. Some foxes also rear their young ones