Unusual sighting: a badger in broad daylight

Dachs, Zeichnung, Naturstudie, Heike Pander

Dachs, Zeichnung, Naturstudie, Heike Pander

What a lovely and sunny day in spring – we take the opportunity for a ride on our motorbike to the Märkische Schweiz in Brandenburg, not far from Berlin. We love the area with its beautiful hills, forests and lakes. Our first stop is in Buckow to enjoy the best French Fries in the area. We do not stay long as we’d like to head to the artists’ village Ihlow for desert: a delicious home-made cake in the beautiful garden of the organic farm Ihlow.

Today I am riding along as a Sozia – this allows me to enjoy the view over the hilly landscape, which is slowly awakening from its winter sleep. On the meadows, new greenery appears between brown dry tufts of grass. But brown still predominates. My gaze remains fixed on a particularly large pile that seems to be moving. The spot has my full attention – but we pass it too fast on the motorcycle.

As a matter of fact: the grass is moving…

Our visit to Ihlow is a short one, as there is no cake today – like most suppliers the organic farm has closed – thanks to Corona. On the way back we pass the same meadow, and certainly do I keep an eye out for the big moving tuft of grass that had caught my attention earlier. It is still there – and almost at the same spot as before. Again we are too fast for a thorough inquiry – but this time I can clearly see the tuft moving. Not as driven by the wind gently back and forth, but rather from one place to another. This time there is no stopping me and I can convince my driver to turn around.

Quietly he lets the machine roll out at a small bulge directly in front of said meadow and stops. I point to the big pile – and indeed, it moves again. A head emerges from the grass. The animal is looking for food. For a short moment we are irritated. What could this be? Too quickly the head disappeared back into the grass, the animal turns away from us. We stop and puzzle. Badger or tanuki? No, the animal’s legs are too short to be a tanuki! …the head re-appears and the signs are clearly visible this time: the black and white coloration of the face reveals that this is a badger.

Unusual time to forage

So the spring sun does not only lure motorcycle enthusiasts out of their “burrow” and we experience an extraordinary sighting: On the meadows next to the road the badger is moving in broad daylight! We would never have expected this, because the predators from the marten family forage mainly at night. What a meeting in the wild and open. While I can hardly rein in my enthusiasm, Master Grimbart, as the badger is also often called in fables and fairy tales, searches in oblivion on the ground for molluscs such as worms or snails. It still seems a bit too early for fruits or birds’ eggs. I am a little surprised by the brownish colouring of its fur – I had it somehow greyer in my memory.

As cool as a cucumber – the badger keeps on

Suddenly the animal looks at us – and gets a fright! For a short moment it sniffs in our direction, but cannot classify us to friend or foe. Immediately it presses its compact body even flatter into the grass. It looks quite skilfully: because if we didn’t know that it was there – we could hardly see it anymore. The moment of shock does not last too long. The badger realises that there is no danger from us. Quickly it gets up and goes about its business – moving away from us in a zigzag without hurry. I enjoyed this unusual encounter and happily we start our way home.

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