Wildlife Conferences


Wildlife Rehabilitation Ireland


IWM Flyer


Meles meles - Broc



Rehabilitation of wildlife casualties requires a licence and a large investment of time and resources. It is mainly in the animal’s best interest to transfer it to an appropriately trained and equipped individual/organ isation as soon as possible.

Before attempting to capture a wildlife casualty:

  • Observe, assess, discuss, then decide whether intervention is appropriate
  • All wild animals can potentially transmit disease and inflict serious injuries
  • Remember, your own safety is of paramount importance


  • Road traffic casualty
  • A badger that will allow you to approach it is sick 
  • Damaged limb/s
  • Obvious extensive wounds
  • Injured cub
  • Badger cub IF it’s on its own, and ONLY after lengthy observation from a distance.
  • Trapped or caught e.g. in fence – do NOT cut free and release until fully assessed
  • If unresponsive/unconscious – needs veterinary attention immediately


  • ALL  APPARENT ORPHANS, (unless injured, in dangerous situation, or definitely alone)
  • If you are not equipped
  • If you or others would be put in too much danger

FIRST try to call relevant contact number from CONTACT page for further advice.
Badgers are strong animals with a dangerous bite, do not handle unless confident


  • Follow capture instructions below
  • Capture ONLY if you have adequate equipment and container
  • Consider personal safety on roads e.g. reflective jackets, warning signs
  • Bring to a vet if possible, if not bring home temporarily
  • Follow husbandry advice for feeding and housing
  • Call relevant contact number from CONTACT page for further advice


  • If you can approach the animal lay a blanket/coat over the casualty for warmth
  • If animal is on the road, protect it from traffic if possible
  • Consider personal safety on roads e.g. reflective jackets, warning signs
  • Do not drag the animal off the road, IF safe to do so, lift it to a safe place on a coat/towel (see Unconscious casualty capture)
  • Note exact location and call relevant person from CONTACT page
  • Ideally stay with the casualty until someone comes to help



Blanket, gauntlet type gloves, soft headed broom, dog grasper.
Rigid wire mesh container e.g. cat crush cage, puppy crate, or dog carrier
Ideally at least 2 people.

Transport container Rescue Equipment Badger in cage
© Colin Seddon
© East Sussex Wildlife Rescue


Dog catcher

Dog grasper capture (e.g. under a garden shed)

  • Dog grasper slid over the head and one front leg and tightened
  • Badger pulled/lifted into the open (If lifting, support the back end by grasping the loose skin/fur (scruffing) it as you lift)
  • Container open on the ground, badger pulled/lifted into container
  • Container closed, grasper released and carefully withdrawn WITHOUT letting badger out

Entanglement / entrapment capture (e.g. caught in fencing)
Ideally vet/ rehabilitator can come and assess the badger’s condition in person
If not, assess badger’s condition with vet/rehabilitator over the phone
If decision is made to capture the badger, follow instructions below:

  • Dog grasper slid over the head and one front leg and tightened
  • Person two cuts fencing
  • If, and only if, after discussion with the vet/ rehabilitator, all are satisfied that there has been no serious physical damage to the badger, i.e. no fencing material has become embedded in or put pressure on the animal, then it may be released.
  • If worried/unsure, treat as for snaring (see below)continue capture (as below) and bring to vet for assessment
  • Container must be large enough to fit badger and any embedded fencing section
  • Badger pulled/lifted into open container (support rump by scruffing it as you lift)
  • Container closed, grasper released and carefully withdrawn WITHOUT letting badger out

Caught in snare

  • Dog grasper slid over the head and one front leg and tightened
  • DO NOT CUT FREE AND RELEASE! (want to prevent wound damage)
  • Person two cuts wire so animal can be rescued, along with any embedded snare section
  • Container must be large enough to fit badger and any embedded snare
  • Badger pulled/lifted into open container (support rump by scruffing it as you lift)
  • Container closed, grasper released and carefully withdrawn WITHOUT letting badger out

Unconscious casualty capture (e.g. hit by car on road)

  • Consider personal safety on roads: reflective jackets, warning signs etc
  • If animal lying as if unconscious, poke gently with stick/brush to check for movement
  • If no movement, still handle with great care as handling could bring it back to consciousness
  • Use a brush to pin the head to the ground. Put towel over head
  • Scruff tightly with both hands and lift into open waiting container


  • Put towel over head. With thick gloves roll animal onto blanket, lift and tip into open container

Trapped (e.g. trapped in building)
Ideally vet/ rehabilitator can come and assess the badger’s condition in person
If not, assess badger’s condition carefully with vet/rehabilitator over the phone
If decision is made NOT to capture the badger, follow instructions below:

  • If badger deemed fit for release, find suitable point for badger to exit
  • Open exit and bait badger out with food left at exit point
  • Check following day to see has badger left
  • If not, call again for advice, or capture the animal if obviously sick or injured

Box capture (if in an enclosed area)

  • Container laid on its side on the ground
  • Herd badger into box using high rigid boards/fencing
  • throw towel over badger in container
  • Pin badger down with soft brush if trying to escape from container
  • Quickly close container as you withdraw the brush
  • Remove towel only if it can be done without badger escaping!
Badger accomodation
© Becki Lawson

Trap capture (if mobile)

  • Choose an area that the badger frequents on a daily basis, ideally with a hidden vantage point so you can check on the trap
  • Place the trap here
  • Leave food out for the badger every day at the same time
  • Initially leave the food at a distance from the trap but over a few days bring it closer to the trap, eventually leaving it inside the trap
  • Remove uneaten food when bringing fresh food
  • Check trap at least every 6 hrs


Capture notes
If casualty is on a road, attempt capture from road side and herd away from road
Consider personal safety on roads: reflective jackets, warning signs etc
Crouch down when approaching – you appear less of a threat
Approach slowly, stopping if animal appears ready to flee

Sturdy carrier – wire mesh or solid container with secure lid
Big dog crate
Dustbin with tight fitting lid
Avoid direct sunlight – danger of overheating    
Cover container with towel, darkness will reduce stress

NEVER lift a badger by its tail
Do not handle unnecessarily
Once captured do not try to calm animal by talking to it
Keep other domestic animals out of sight

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See Supplies page for food and equipment mentioned below

Cage must be large enough for badger to stand up and turn around in
Cover the container to reduce stress
Bedding can be straw or hay if obtainable, otherwise newspaper
Badgers are very strong and can be destructive
House in quiet area away from domestic animals and children
Dog run
© Chelsea Collins
  • Outdoor dog run
  • Horse stable or similar concrete area
  • Contained area in garage/shed
  • High sided rigid container e.g. mortar tub with well secured lid on top (NB ventilation!)
  • Collapsible dog cage/crate from vet

A hot water bottle wrapped in a towel can be used if badger very sick, unable to stand
Beware overheating can also kill so give enough space that the badger can move away from the heat

Tinned dog or cat food
Bowl of drinking water if animal bright and alert



See Supplies page for food and equipment mentioned below

Step by Step:

  • Weigh
  • Warm up
  • Stimulate to urinate/defecate
  • Provide fluids
Badger Cubs
© Emma Higgs

House in a pet carrier/crate or other secure container
Use towels on top of newspaper for bedding
Keep indoors, in a warm quiet darkened place, away from children and domestic animals
Only handle for feeding

The cub should feel warm to the touch
Warm up slowly with warm towels if very cold
The cub needs to be kept warm; part of the container needs to be roughly 30 degrees C.
A hot water bottle wrapped in a towel can be used
Beware overheating can also kill so give enough space that the cub can move away from the heat
If the cub is cold it will be unwilling to feed

Blind cubs need help urinating and defecating
Toilet at regular intervals: 2 hourly initially, moving to longer intervals as dictated by the animal
Before and after each feed gently stroke their genital and anal area with damp cotton wool for about 60 seconds until urine and/or faeces is produced
Do not confuse the anus with the large subcaudal scent gland located immediately below the tail
If the cub’s eyes are open, still toilet him until you are certain he is urinating and defecating by himself before you stop toileting altogether


Rehydration solution/ ‘milk’ suggestions:

  • Ideally veterinary rehydration solution e.g. Lectade
  • Homemade rehydration solution - “1 pinch of sugar and 1 pinch of salt in 1 cup of warm water”
  • Canine milk replacement e.g. Esbilac/Lactol
  • Goats milk

ALL feeds should be lukewarm.
(24hrs of rehydration solution feeds is fine if milk replacement /goat’s milk difficult to obtain)
Only handle for feeding (for frequency see below)

DANGERAspiration Pneumonia – inhaling fluid into the lungs
If a bubble of liquid appears at the nose or the cub starts sneezing or shaking its head, stop feeding immediately and tilt the head down to allow any fluid to drain out. Dab with tissue, take a break, and then start again very slowly

Preventative measures:

  • Use rehydration solution for the first few feeds while you and the cub get used to feeding
  • Hold the cub vertically and leaning slightly forward or lying on its belly, whilst feeding
  • Always feed patiently, slowly and gently
  • Try to get the cub to lick/suck the fluids slowly rather than guzzling
Feeding Badger Cub
© Andrew Kelly

Take to vet for antibiotics and other respiratory drugs if cub inhales fluids and starts coughing for any extended period of time, breathing heavily or breathing with mouth open

Introducing ‘milk’
1st feed – rehydration solution
2nd feed –rehydration solution
3rd feed – ½ rehydration solution, ½ milk replacement
4th feed – milk replacement


  • Esbilac / Lactol bottle
  • Human baby bottle with a newborn sized teat
  • syringe if very small e.g. still blind, but be aware of aspiration pneumonia (mentioned above) and feed very slowly watching to check that the cub swallows as you feed

Quantity &Frequency  (ROUGH guide)


Approximate age

Quantity per feed


280 g

1 weeks


9 feeds per day

600 g

4 weeks


5 feeds per day

1500 g

8 weeks


4 feeds per day

You can offer a 200g cub 10-20mls every half hour for 3 or 4 hours or until their condition improves

Theoretically cubs may be fed up to 35-40% of body weight per day, depending on appetite
Table above is ROUGH guide, each individual is different
Never feed an animal so much fluid that its tummy becomes hard and distended

If very young, especially if blind, feed 2-3 hourly, through the day. Last feed midnight, first feed 6am
If older and lively feed every 4hrs during the day, last feed 10pm, first feed 5 or 6am
If they are unwilling to wake up and feed, extend the gap between feeds by ½ hour

After feeding, take a few minutes to rub the cub’s back and encourage winding

Keep feeding utensils in a deep bowl of sterilising solution e.g. Milton
Use clean feeding utensils for each feed.
After use, dismantle feeding equipment and clean thoroughly in warm soapy water, rinse, then replace in the sterilising bowl
Rinse utensils before each feed

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Rehabilitation of wildlife casualties requires a licence and a large investment of time and resources. It is mainly in the animal’s best interest to transfer it to an appropriately trained and equipped individual/organisation as soon as possible.

Before attempting to capture a wildlife casualty:

  • Observe, assess, discuss, then decide whether intervention is appropriate
  • All wild animals can potentially transmit disease and inflict serious injuries
  • Remember, your own safety is of paramount importance

Read GENERAL PUBLIC section first. Extra information for long term husbandry below


Initially, veterinary shor-line kennels with divider, if in intensive care
Warm, quiet and dimly lit area

Destructive animals
Very strong and can dig
Chewing on cage can damage their teeth and potentially ruin their chance of release
Ideally house in outdoor run with shelter, suggestions:

  • Solid sides e.g. brick, metal, thick wooden sheets, or vertical metal bars that can’t be chewed or squeezed through, to a height of 1metre then weld mesh fencing above that to head height. Concrete or slab base
  • Or, solid floor, solid sides to at least 1.8m e.g. horse stable
Badger housing
© Andrew Kelly
Straw or hay for bedding
Car tyre filled with soil as a latrine
Heavy water and food bowl
Sufficient area to exercise
Big leafy branches, thick logs, and dog toys for hiding in, chewing, enrichment and stress reduction
Locate in quiet area away from domestic animals
Badger on straw
© Becki Lawson

Tinned and dry dog food, also occasionally offer choice of apple, carrot, raw egg
Badgers in the wild will eat the entire animal they kill so additionally feed day old chicks or mice
If young badger, chop chicks up initially
If reluctant to eat/drink, entice, or if sick, syringe feed, with human ‘Ensure’ liquid nutrition

Water should be available at all times.  Initially, an additional bowl of rehydration solution can also be left in the cage.
Badgers can survive without eating or drinking for a few days as long as they are not vomiting or suffering from diarrhoea 


Hand-rearing should not be undertaken unless:


(Email < info@irishwildlifematters.ie > if you acquire an orphan, you will be put in touch with other orphan carers)

  • The cub will be kept as wild as possible
  • Suitable accommodation facilities will be provided
  • It is understood that it will require a commitment of 4-10 months
  • It is understood that rearing and successful release of a badger requires considerable expertise and specialised pre-release accommodation

Extra info for long term husbandry:

Weigh same time each day
Weight loss or static weight is an early indicator of underlying problems

Badger cub
© Andrew Kelly

Keep the cub warm when tiny and eyes closed (part of the box should to be roughly 30˚C)
Use heat mat or heat lamp
Only cover part of the cage so the cub can move away from the heat if necessary

Birthlight grey fur, pink skin, blind, 75 – 130g
4 wks – 600g
5 wks – black and white fur, eyes open, small milk teeth, 800g
8 wks – 1500g, in the wild; seen above ground near sett
12 wks – 3kg, start weaning
15 wks – 5kg, independent

Rehydration solution – Lectade or equivalent
Canine milk replacement e.g. Esbilac – no additional vitamins needed

Begin when cub is able to walk around and teeth have come through
At 12 weeks introduce puppy food, then chopped chicks. Bottle feed only twice daily then gradually stop altogether
Encourage to drink from bowl, once cub learns, always keep fresh water available

Routine records should be maintained of weight, times of each feed, quantities of food consumed, urine/faeces production and general condition/demeanour

Gripe water, or equivalent, if problem develops

Good – soft and dark brown
On milk formula, faeces will be soft and pale yellow. This is NORMAL for milk diet

Bad – pale/black, runny, watery

If faeces become bad, initially try withdrawing food for 24hrs and give only rehydration fluids (ideally at least 50ml/kg/day)
Sterilise all feeding equipment and once faeces looks normal, slowly reintroduce milk formula or try alternative milk formula
If faeces remain bad after 24 hrs, seek veterinary attention

Easily done, potentially prevent release
ALWAYS rear more than one of a species together (not doing so will produce abnormal and dangerous behaviour)

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Always seek advice from specialist organisations with knowledge of suitable release sites/habitat

Careful assessment and appropriate health checks should be carried out prior to release, as to the risks of released animals introducing new diseases into the wild population/environment

Release criteria/considerations
Need to be wild – wary/scared of humans, domestic animals and any other natural predators
Must be physically fit, mentally sound, stable body weight for over 7 days
Can’t be released if underweight, unable to recognise/eat normal diet etc
Must be of an appropriate weight for the age, sex, and time of year for the species
Do not release in winter unless it has sufficient body weight to cope with the cold
ALWAYS return adults to original location unless dangerous or unsuitable (not cubs they may be killed)

Release away from roads, species specific predators, areas where they could cause damage
Consider natural history of the animal and the location of local wild groups of these animals

Release during a period of favourable weather.
Ideally identify animal in some way e.g. microchip/tag, for post release monitoring/identification

Badger microchip
© Becki Lawson

Preferred habitat
Badgers have a wide habitat range. Deciduous mixed woodland/copses with well-drained soil.
Coniferous woodland, hedges, scrub, riverside habitat, agricultural land and grassland. Also inhabit suburban areas and urban parks


HARD RELEASE (direct release)

Hard release technique
The animal is simply allowed to exit a transport container with no further care or feed provision

Hard release candidates
Hard release technique only suitable if animal rescued as an adult and only if in captivity for short period of time, and only if to be released where originally found
Release timing
Preferably release as soon as possible for the maximum chance of survival
If longer period of captivity necessary, preferably release in late autumn of the year they were found, when food available, breeding finished and natural dispersal starting. Or early spring the following year

Species specific considerations
Adult badgers MUST be released back to exactly where they were found, they are territorial and moving them could also create a TB risk

Open carrying cage and let animal leave in its own time
Release well after dark


SOFT RELEASE (gentle or gradual release)

Soft release technique
Soft release aims to slowly reintroduce the animal to the wild while still in a comfort zone e.g. cage it was reared in, and allow the animal to leave the cage once confident and independent
It involves continuing to care for animals at the release site, and aims to compensate for difficulties of newly released animals finding food and shelter in a new environment

Soft release candidates
Essential release method for hand reared animals
If more than one young animal in care, if practicable, try to form a release group
Release group - try to have mixed genders, appropriately matched age group
Also suitable for adults that have been in care for a long period of time, or animals that cannot be released back to where they were found and so have to establish a new territory

Release timing
Preferably release in late autumn of the year they were found, when food available, breeding finished and natural dispersal starting, or early spring the following year

Species specific considerations
Hand reared cubs should be TB tested pre release (see below)
Ideally cub must be a minimum of 6 months of age
Locate on site free of badgers within a 2km radius. Ensure vacant site is now suitable
Away from danger – roads, development, snaring areas
With landowners consent

Temporary cage placed in release location
Artificial sett placed within caged area, cub provided with water and only natural food, at dusk, in the enclosure, for 2-4 weeks
Animal fed only natural foods it will come across in the wild
Cage opened and left in-situ for animal to come and go until it feels confident enough not to return
Food provided, decreasing in quantity, until the animal no longer returns
Soft release may take months

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“The Minister may grant a licence to a person to have in possession, for a reasonable period of time —

  • an injured or disabled protected wild animal, or
  • one or more than one dependant young of a protected wild animal which is orphaned, with the intention of tending and later releasing such animal or young back into the wild when and only when such animal or young, as the case may be, is no longer injured, disabled or dependant, or
  • to retain possession of a protected wild animal, that for reasons of disability or for other reasons deemed reasonable by the Minister, would, if released, be unlikely to survive unaided in the wild.”

*Compulsory licence details at end of document*

Let us not waste time complaining about the excessive bureaucratic legislation covering wildlife today. The intent was to provide protection for wildlife and the data is valuable.

If we don’t want to be legislated upon, or don’t like current legislation, we must offer legislative solutions. Apply for your licences but also email  your ideas for a more practicable solution for ‘policing wildlife rehabilitation’ in Ireland, to info@irishwildlifematters.ie

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.
Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has
.”  (Margaret Mead)



Irish Wildlife Act 1976 and Wildlife (Amendment) Act 2000 - protected species
Berne Convention, Appendix 3
Irish Red Data book - least concern
Wildlife (N.I.) Order of 1985 - protected species

Department of Agriculture legally kill badgers, using marked snares, for alleged control of TB
The Minister may grant a licence to capture or kill for educational, scientific or other purposes

Protection of Badgers Act 1992 –
It is an offence to:
Wilfully kill, injure, take or attempt to kill, injure or take a badger
Possess a dead badger or any part of a badger
Cruelly ill-treat a badger
Use badger tongs in the course of killing, taking or attempting to kill a badger
Dig for a badger
Sell or offer for sale or control any live badger
Mark, tag or ring a badger, without a licence
Interfere with a badger sett by: - damaging, destroying, obstructing access, allowing dog entry, disturbing an occupied sett

Rescue and Rehabilitation
Due to their status as a protected species, a *licence MUST be applied for to the NPWS ‘to possess/retain an injured or disabled wild bird/animal’

Subject to the conditions set out in the licence provided for the possession/retention of a wild bird/animal

Report suspicious activities or equipment to the NPWS Conservation Ranger (see CONTACTS page)

Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (N.I) - section 11
It is illegal to deliberately snare a badger, except under special licence.
The use of self-locking snares for any animal is illegal; a self-locking snare is one which continues to tighten as the animal struggles to escape and will not slacken off.
Snares should never be set on a badger run or in an area of known badger activity.
Any person setting a snare in a position where it is likely to catch a badger may be guilty of an offence even though the aim was to catch a fox or other lawful quarry species.
An offence would be committed if all reasonable precautions were not taken to prevent injury to protected and domestic animals.
Snares are required by law to be inspected at least once every 24 hours.
Where reasonable precautions appear not to have been taken, the snare should be rendered harmless (without damaging it) and its location reported to your local NPWS Conservation Ranger
Or the snare can be removed and taken to the Gardaí.

It is LEGAL to set free-running snares, which loosen as an animal relaxes, for catching non protected animal species e.g. fox, rabbit and grey squirrel

It is ILLEGAL to set self-locking snares that do not loosen

Badger in snare
© Badgerwatch Ireland

* For licence application form for the possession/ retention of a wild animal - click HERE

Post to the address below OR email back to wildlifelicence@ahg.gov.ie

Wildlife Licensing Unit,
National Parks and Wildlife Service,
Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht,
7 Ely Place,
Dublin 2

Tel:  (01) 888 3242

This legislation section is not intended to cover all aspect of legislation associated with this particular wildlife species, in all instances, the current legislation and appropriate statutory bodies should be consulted.

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  • Bovine Tuberculosis

Clinical Signs – emaciation
Diagnosis – serum sample-Elisa (Stat-Pak in UK) or triple testing procedure in cubs
Treatment – if strongly suspect TB (emaciation, lung lesions at X-ray etc) then euthanase
Comments – no test to confidently identify positive animals (elisa only 50% sensitive).spread by aerosol, urine, wound discharges, faeces and saliva.
TB test pre release necessary for all hand-reared badgers cubs (see ‘Badger Rehabilitation Protocol’ at www.secretworld.org for further details)



  • Road Traffic Accident

Clinical Signs - commonly fractures, sometimes ruptured diaphragms, livers or spleens, in-coordination, disorientation, shock
Diagnosis – examination and radiographs.
Treatment – treat as for shock. Temporary splint and pain relief. Assess thoroughly once stabilised
Fractures –leg, jaw and skull.
Can take 2 – 3mths to heal, euthanasia may be most humane if fracture in adult casualty
Fracture in cub – will be in captivity for months regardless so surgery may be considered. Must be very high quality, ideally external fixation
Comments – euthanize if amputation required. Remove metalwork before release.

  • Concussion

Clinical Signs – possibly no visible injuries. Possibly unconscious; immediate non response to stimuli, loss of corneal reflex, dilated pupils, muscle weakness.
Diagnosis – history, clinical signs
Treatment – treat as head trauma case below
Comments – propylxanthine/propentofylline can be useful

  • Head Trauma in Mammals

Check airway, breathing, circulation
VITAL - If unconscious provide oxygen via intubation, mask or oxygen chamber
Keep immobilised, do not manipulate neck
Check head for haemorrhage/CSF leakage
Monitor respiratory pattern and pupil responsiveness
Treat as for shock, see above
Single dose of dexamethasone or 30mg/kg methylprednisolone (Solu medrone V)
Course of antibiotics - enrofloxacin
IV fluids – Hartmann’s, Haemaccel or Hetastarch. Mannitol if increased intracranial pressure (keep muzzle on to prevent chewing IV line)

  • Bite wounds (other badgers)
Clinical Signs – open, chronic, deep wounds if inflicted by other badgers. Mainly on the rump, above the tail, also on the head and neck. Wounds often filled with maggots.
Diagnosis – clinical signs
Treatment –short course of broad spectrum antibiotics. NSAID if pain from cleaning. Regular flushing of wound. Removal of maggots. Topical cleaning and use of hydrocolloid products. Usually heal well with basic care.
Comments - likely to be infected, possibly septicaemic. Careful consideration of release site; possibly release in different area to where found. 
badger bite wound
© Becki Lawson
  • Snare/Entanglement injuries
Clinical signs – injury to the limb, chipped teeth from chewing at it, underlying tissue damage
Diagnosis – ligature marks, snare/netting attached, history
Treatment –remove snare/netting under GA. Analgesics and antibiotics. Clean daily with dermisol. Aggressive fluid therapy.
Comments – keep for at least 7 days to monitor for pressure necrosis or self mutilation.
Badger snare wound
© Chelsea Collins


A normal burden of ecto and endo parasites should not be treated in fit adults.
Only treat myiasis and large debilitating burdens of ectoparasites in cubs.

  • Myiasis - maggot infestation

Clinical signs – visual infestation in open wounds or orifices
Diagnosis – clinical signs
Treatment –flush with water/ dilute triclosan, manually remove, apply dermisol. Use clippers for egg removal, or brush off. Inject with ivermectin. Only clean thoroughly once stabilised.
Comments – monitor progress of American nitenpyram tablet trials

  • Fleas – (Paraceras melis)

Clinical Signs – fleas, +/- anaemia, skin irritation
Diagnosis - clinical signs
Treatment – pyrethrum based flea powders, fipronil spray
Comments – badger flea very large, can be seriously debilitating in cubs

  • Biting Lice  – (Trichodectes melis)

Clinical Signs – lice – flat white discs attached to hair roots, skin irritation
Diagnosis - clinical signs
Treatment – pyrethrum based flea powders, fipronil spray
Comments – it is surmised that badgers frequently switch sleeping places in order to avoid a build up of ectoparasites in their nest material.

  • Endoparasites

Clinical Signs – emaciation, or no visible signs
Diagnosis – faecal sample
Treatment – ivermectin or doramectin
Comments – treatment advisable if excessive parasite burden

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  • Dental disease

Clinical Signs – inflamed, bleeding gums, mouth pain, emaciation, bad breath, drooling
Diagnosis - clinical signs
Treatment - symptomatic
Comments - all animals’ mouths should routinely be checked. Cannot be released if damage results in all canines needing removal.

  • Ousted

Clinical Signs – found in areas of human habitation; towns, outbuildings, sheds
Diagnosis – ousted after fights, lost, orphaned
Treatment – form a release group for soft release with artificial sett
Comments – liaise with badger group for suitable site

  • Parturition in captivity

Clinical Signs – none may be seen on admission due to delayed implantation
Diagnosis – probable month for parturition is February
Treatment – interfere as little as possible
Comments –soft release. Liaise with badger group for suitable site

  • Runt

Clinical Signs – abnormally small, sometimes deformed
Diagnosis – clinical signs
Treatment – none
Comments – often too weak to survive in the wild, short life expectancy

  • Trapped

Clinical Signs – found in empty outdoor swimming pool, dry well, corn cellars
Diagnosis – location
Treatment – rescue and release immediately if uninjured and only been trapped for up to 24hrs
Comments – dog grasper very handy




  • No quality of life when recovered
  • Amputation necessary
  • Bovine TB in cub
  • If all canine teeth need removing


  • Pentobarbital sodium


  • Sedation then IV into cephalic or saphenous vein
  • General anaesthetic then intrahepatic or intracardiac injection








Badger Anatomy



between shoulder blades


quadriceps or lumbar


proximal femur


to the right of midline at the level of the umbilicus (with animal in dorsal recumbency)


cephalic, saphenous or jugular (if very sick or anaesthetised)


in food



Temperature (°C)


Pulse rate (beats per minute)


Respiratory rate  (breaths per minute)



Avoid inserting thermometer in subcaudal scent gland, located immediately below the tail


Care with hygiene handling all badgers
Ideally observe discreetly before examination; wildlife hide injuries
Sedation often the only way of examining adult badgers

badger gland
© Becki Lawson

If sedation necessary, inject through the container if mesh, otherwise tip badger into crush cage to inject
Slip broom into cage to pin head before scruffing with BOTH hands

Sharp front claws must be restrained
Tape muzzle plus Baskerville muzzle
Try not to change grip when handling, avoid eye contact
Always muzzle when handling, even after sedation or if badger appears to be unconscious

badger claws
© Andrew Kelly


  • Weigh
  • Warm up
  • If baby badger; stimulate to urinate/defecate
  • Fluids
  • Drugs

RTA casualties will often be suffering volume related shock, treat as below


  • Warmth (stop animal loosing heat, warm slowly)
  • IV fluids – Hartmann’s or Haemaccel (keep muzzle on to prevent chewing IV line)
  • Oxygen as required
  • Analgesia (if head trauma do not use buprenorphine , finadyne or carprofen)

Steroids (ONLY if CNS trauma e.g. ‘Solu medrone V’ or dexamethasone)
Antibiotics if appropriate, IV
After treatment for shock, attend to conditions that are life threatening or could worsen over 24hrs

Assess every few hours. As soon as stable, sedate, examine thoroughly, and decide on a treatment plan or euthanise as appropriate



Isoflurane (commonly used and very effective)
Medetomidine/ketamine or medetomidine/butorphanol/ketamine reversed with atipamazole

(MK and MBK provide roughly 25mins anaesthesia)

Badger Anaesthetic
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