The elusive badger is notorious for its digging capabilities and if one has been at your garden you will surely know about it. Badgers can leave devastation in their wake and can make short work of your lawn or flower bed leaving you to pick up the pieces.
Badgers are nocturnal mammals that you will rarely see except unfortunately when they are lying dead by the side of the road but if you are lucky enough to see one, it is best to just watch it and leave it be.
Badgers are protected in the UK and in 1992 the revised Protection of Badgers act was issued meaning that it is an offence to interfere with badgers or their setts.
We are going to have a look at how to stop badgers from digging in your garden.
How to Stop Badgers Digging in Your Garden
As badgers are a protected species, it is always best to seek advice when trying to deter badgers from your garden. If your garden falls in their territory and they need to use your garden to get to/ from its sett, you may not be able to do anything about it.
If, however, the badger is just passing and only foraging food, there are a few harmless ways to deter badgers and make your garden less appealing as there is nothing worse than waking up to a destroyed lawn or terrorised flower bed.
1. Wire Mesh
Chicken wire (amazon link – opens in a new tab). If your flower bed has been devastated and the bulbs have been eaten, there is a good chance that badgers were the culprit. They are opportunistic animals and tasty flower bulbs make for an easy meal. Badgers are also quite partial to root vegetables and can completely destroy a vegetable patch if the opportunity arises.
You can lay down some chicken wire over your flower bed before the first shoots of spring, it will not affect your plants, but it will be an obstacle that badgers will not want to try and beat.
2. Natural Scents
Badgers have extremely poor eyesight but the same cannot be said for their sense of smell. It is said that badgers have an incredible sense of smell up to 600 times better than a human and call sniff out bulbs, root vegetables and grubs in no time.
With such a strong sense of smell, you can make an assault on a badger’s nose with a few scents that are known as badger repellents.
The main two are citronella and scotch bonnet peppers and both can easily be made into a natural spray to spray around your garden or entry/ exit points.
3. Predator Scents
Studies show that there are 2 main predator scents that will keep badgers away and neither animal is likely to look for and eat badgers at all.
Considering that there are no lions roaming the UK countryside, lion scat is the surprising entry of predator scents (amazon link – opens in a new tab) that are known to keep badgers away. You can purchase pre-soaked pellets that give off the odour of a lion that has marked your garden as his territory.
This product has been designed with domestic cats in mind but there are those among us that swear by its use as a badger deterrent.
Yes, you read that correctly, human pee, male human pee to be precise. Although humans are not in the habit of eating badgers, it is well-known that badgers fear us.
Watering down some human male urine is known to deter badgers as they will sense that the territory belongs to someone else. Be careful though, and ensure that you water it down, you do not want to upset the neighbours.
4. Electronic Devices
There are numerous electronic devices (amazon link – opens in a new tab) available that emit variable high-pitch noises inaudible to humans that are designed to keep wildlife away.
The point of the device is to make the high-pitched noise uncomfortable to listen to for any length of time, therefore, making the badger or other animal look elsewhere for its meal.
Although badgers are territorial and omnivorous, meaning that they will eat meat as well as fresh vegetables, they do not like confrontation with animals of equal size or larger.
If you install a fake predator in your garden, especially a solar-powered one with eyes that glow up at night, badgers will certainly think twice before tearing up your garden.
6. Motion-Sensor Lights
Motion sensor lights (amazon link – opens in a new tab) Badgers are quite nervous animals and will not want to hang around if something makes them jump. Motion-sensor lights that come on can certainly be a distraction to a badger and they will not hang around to find out what it is.
For all the badger knows, it could be a torch being followed by a pesky human!
Things to Consider When Trying to Keep Badgers Away
There are other things to consider when you are looking to keep badgers away from your garden as they will certainly forage for food in bins or eat food that has been left outside for other animals.
Keeping your rubbish or refuse inaccessible is important. Badgers will not think twice about scavenging in your black bags that have been left in the garden ready for collection day.
Keep refuse in a wheelie bin or refuse cupboard to prevent your bin bags from being the target of some night-time foraging.
Quality of your Lawn
Overnight badgers will tear up lawns looking for grubs and tasty morsels to eat. If you have an abundance of grubs in your lawn, it means that the lawn is probably not that healthy and the badgers are probably doing you a favour as those grubs will eat through the roots of the grass.
If you have a well kept free-draining lawn, there are likely to be fewer grubs and insects because well-drained soil is not ideal for laying eggs.
Another thing that you can do if you think that the badgers are tearing up your lawn foraging for food is to introduce some nematodes. Nematodes will help clean up your lawn and predate the grubs at the larvae stage meaning that there will be less food for the badger to come and find.
The good thing is that the nematodes will leave alone the helpful critters such as earthworms.
Never leave cat or dog food outside overnight. Pet food is attractive to many animals that you do not want to visit your garden during the night and the point is to deter animals from your garden, not encourage them.
Foxes and badgers for example will soon be coming back night after night to get a nice taste of your pets’ biscuits.
We have covered a few different ways how to stop badgers from digging in your garden but do not forget that badgers are protected by law. It is an offence to trap or injure a badger or interfere with their home (sett) so if you have badgers that are causing a nuisance, we recommend contacting your local badger trust or another badger conservation society to help assist you with what to do.
We have given you a few different options but please seek advice if you are not sure what to do.
Garden Doctor Tips
“Remember to water down your pee and use a spray bottle on your garden, there is no need to go and take a leak up your garden shed!”
“If you are using a spray deterrent whether that is pee or citronella, ensure to respray after a heavy rainfall to prevent it from washing away!”
“Nematodes are a great natural remedy to clean up your lawn and remove the attraction of grubs that badgers find so tasty!”
“If badgers appear to be building a sett in your garden and you are concerned, you must contact your local badger conservation society immediately. Do Not Interfere with what they are doing as it could get you in trouble!”
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you know if you have badgers in your garden?
Badgers leave behind lots of tell-tale signs. If you have badgers, they will leave a trail of devastation. Badgers will tear up lawns looking for grubs and earthworms to eat and they will also destroy flower beds to eat your prized flower bulbs.
Badgers will also dig a small hole to use as a toilet so if you see a small hole that has been used in this way, you are definitely being visited by badgers.
How do I get rid of badgers in my garden?
There are various ways of getting rid of badgers and preventing them from coming to your garden in the first place but always take it under advisement by your local badger authority as badgers are a protected species in the UK.
Trapping or harming a badger or interfering with its sett is an offence by law.
What damage do Badgers do to gardens?
Badgers will destroy lawns when searching for food such as grubs and earthworms although that is often a good thing as an abundance of grubs points to a very unhealthy lawn and the badgers are actually doing you a favour.
Badgers will also dig in flower beds and eat your prized flower bulbs and they are quite partial to your fresh root vegetables.
Hi, I’m Trev and I’ve been growing things since I can remember. When I was younger, I grew up on a farm, so I have always been around plants and animals. After studying horticulture at university, I decided to start my own nursery which I have run now for 25 years. In my spare time, I run this website – which is a resource for people who want to learn more about their gardens.