Latin name: Meles meles
Rarely seen but instantly recognisable, the badger is a highly social and playful animal that lives in family groups with a dominant male and female.The badger is the largest carnivore in the British Isles but with access to a varied range of food from both animal and vegetable origin, its diet is actually omnivorous. The badger is nocturnal and emerges from its sett at dusk to search for food and will happily eat earthworms and other grubs as well as fruits, nuts and berries. Woodland habitats provide an ideal environment for badgers but in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, but where woodland cover is low badgers will often seek out alternative habitats.
In the National Park, most badgers are found in lowland areas. However a few have been found on higher ground. The highest reported sett in Yorkshire was found at 520 metres above sea level in Upper Wharfedale. Their nocturnal habits make it difficult to determine the true population status of the badger but it appears that although they are widespread throughout the Yorkshire Dales, they are not particularly common. The Badger Trust is a charity dedicated to the conservation and welfare of badgers. It represents a number of local voluntary badger groups and provides advice on all badger-related issues.
The badger is now a protected animal under the Badger Act of 1992.