Fido the Badger Cub 2015

Fido was a young cub rescued and hand reared in 2015 by a Nottinghamshire Badger Group member who has a lifetime's experience of caring for badgers and rearing cubs.

This is the timid reclusive Fido a week and a few days after he followed a cyclist along a road and into a spinney, pleading for food.
The cyclist took out his phone, googled the nearest badger group and rang the emergency phone just before 6am !

When rescued the young cub was found to be exhibiting a broken tooth and a missing tooth with foot web damage probably from living in a wire mesh cage. He was a sorry sight, too thin, emaciated, cowering and hungry.

He was warmed and fed frequently a little at a time. After two weeks the badger group was told once it was certain survival was highly likely.

The cub was kept warm, draft free and safe. He did not climb out of the container for another week until his front legs were stronger. A normal cub at this size will climb a human body to paw ones face for food, fall off bounce on the floor and be back at ones face in a second or two.

Fido moved in slow motion carefully testing each tentative step. But in a week he was up to normal and exploring.

It appeared likely that Fido had been bottle fed in a prior situation. He was excessive and bit the end off the bottle teat to improve the milk flow. Having recovered enough to climb out of the tub, he was now wandering, exploring becoming a noble wild uncaged beast again...freedom to roam the house and garden.

Growing in strength and confidence, the young cub soon bacame extremely active, exploring his surroundings. He used his teeth to test and explore everything around him, including ankles!

At this point a few selected humans were encouraged to visit, to bottle feed and to interact with the cub.

This helped to discourage the cub from becoming too attached to one carer and was an ideal chance for people to learn from the experience of meeting the cub.

Later the cub was introduced to solid tinned food and day time feeds were discouraged. He was exploring outside and used an area outside as a latrine.

Visitors offered him snails and earthworms to eat and he soon learned how to find them for himself in the ground once shown.

The cub was taken on walks, usually in the early hours of the morning to learn to forage and dig around for food. The cub would bolt back to the safety of the house at any time though if it heard a loud noise or sensed danger. If Fido was active in daytime he really came to life after dark and if frightened or startled there would be a grey flash and the clatter of paws and claws down the road and he would be found hiding in the house.

He enjoyed foraging in the garden also knowing that the safety of the house was close by.

The cub was never caged although he was confined to a smooth sided box when sleeping.

The cub was active for about 20 hours each day and allowed to explore and grow in confidence as a young badger.

A stack of chairs became a makeshift bolt hole or 'sett'. Because he was alone at this stage he spent some time each day in front of a mirror.

Eventually Fido's tail starting to roughen. His coat went from mid moult to white which meant he was now a teenager. He went pure white apart from his legs and face stripes for 10 long days (normally they do not take this long).

Eventually a suitable release scheme at a rescue was found, well away from the badger cull zones, where Fido would join other cubs before being released into the wild. Epping forest was not only the nearest but the only option for Fido. So Fido would have had to battle with Essex female badgers !