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Help ! Mammals digging into rotting tree trunk roots...

Hi. I'd appreciate some advice, please.

We moved into our house over 12 years ago and the previous owners had planted some trees along the side of the garden (there's a meadow beyond our fence). They cut most of them down some 20 years ago (we're told) and we decided to leave some of the old trunks to break down and offer refuge for insects etcetera. None of them posed an issue or were obtrusive.

Earlier this month, for the first time, we noticed that one fair-sized root and what is left of the trunk, had a couple of holes dug into the roots and there were small bits of old wood scattered about the site. A week later, and a few other holes had appeared - and the grass leading up to the trunk had been flattened and scraped at. Went to have a look this morning and there's a couple more holes.

What might we be dealing with ? Anyone know ? I'm sending a photo to show what it looks like. I reckon that most of the holes are between 6cm - 10cm wide but a can't see any kind of 'burrow' going down. The holes are about 10cm deep, but don't appear to go any deeper. Having said that, I haven't 'poked' down them yet, as I'm a bit of a scaredy-cat and don't know what I might find.

Any advice would be appreciated...or even if anyone knows the right organisation in the UK to approach to find answers. A Google search led me to a website that informed me that I may well have a skunk ! (Americans seem to have the monopoly on burrowing mammals.)

Thanks
Jackie

Posts

  • I'm curious - Help because you're curious or because it might be a problem of some kind?
  • If you want to get an identification of what is digging into your stump then there are automated wildlife cameras that you could set up nearby that often have a motion sensor trigger to take pictures of whatever wildlife is visiting your garden. (link to random example). My guess would be a badger is digging into the stump to find grubs to eat.

    Happy gardening!
  • I'm curious - Help because you're curious or because it might be a problem of some kind?
    Thanks for responding ! Both really, Stephen. We have inquisitive grandchildren who, when the weather is fine, play out in the garden. I need to be sure that there are no health risks for them. On a personal level, never having had this issue before, I'd like to be able to find out what's doing it: and I'm having trouble finding out online. I'm hoping other UK gardeners might be able to point me in the right direction for someone (or an organisation) that might be able to identify the mammal from the photo.
  • If you want to get an identification of what is digging into your stump then there are automated wildlife cameras that you could set up nearby that often have a motion sensor trigger to take pictures of whatever wildlife is visiting your garden. (link to random example). My guess would be a badger is digging into the stump to find grubs to eat.

    Happy gardening!
    Hi - and thanks for responding. Yes, that's a good idea about a wildlife camera. I'll have a think about getting one. I'll also see what I can find out about the habits of badgers. That's really useful, and greatly appreciated !
  • BenCottoBenCotto Posts: 4,668
    I would definitely say badgers. Unless your grandchildren like playing in the garden at 1.00 am they won’t come across them.

    We have quite frequent badger visits and by and large they do little damage but can scuff the lawn looking for worms etc.
    Rutland, England
  • BenCotto said:
    I would definitely say badgers. Unless your grandchildren like playing in the garden at 1.00 am they won’t come across them.

    We have quite frequent badger visits and by and large they do little damage but can scuff the lawn looking for worms etc.
    * chuckles* No, Ben. I don't think my grandchildren will be in the garden at 1 a.m. I don't know enough about badgers: so must find out. Do they carry anything nasty ? Anything that might endanger the children's health by being in the area - or touching the stump or holes ? The grandchildren are 13 and 8, so a verbal warning should be enough (but you never know...).
  • BenCotto said:
    Badgers harbour lice, fleas and ticks so don’t play with them, not that there’s any chance of that as they skedaddle at the first sight of humans. There might also be traces of salmonella in their faeces so tell the grandchildren not to mess with others’ poo - a good lesson for life.

    In reality, the risk from badgers is about on a par with the risk of a crow flying overhead, having a heart attack, plummeting from the sky and landing on the child’s head.

    Thanks, Ben. Your sense of humour is very like mine, and you've cheered me up no end this morning ! I shall take note of what you so wisely say (whilst intermittently looking upwards to check for plummeting crows). Heh !
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