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Badgers and Mental Health by Lucy Cox

Lucy is a local mum with 2 kids. She is involved in scouting and has a passion for nature and Badgers. In this blog she writes about how Badgers have helped her cope with health issues during the first lockdown in 2020.

If ever there was a good thing to come out of lock down it was finally meeting Stephen and Bentley’s Crew!

I, like many thousands in UK, turned to shielding at the start of lockdown from either being high risk or instructed by the government. My imminent heart surgery was put on hold and in effect so was our life and daily family routine.

Being lucky enough to have the golf course on our doorstep I discovered right at the end of the firmer lockdown rules that it had been open to the local people to walk round whilst no golf was occurring... I am a very outdoorsy person and don’t like being cooped up, we had a very difficult family situation with my Nan teetering on the brink of leaving the mortal realm... for the sake of my mental health I carefully planned one evening, a time when I knew no one would be about and wandered down to try and find the badger sett Stephen had told me about.

The first time I went I had my little boy with me, we didn’t know what to expect and it was chilly. We sat down and saw a flash of white and a badger darted out between the nettles for the briefest of glimpses which set our hearts racing... it was the first time in my whole 38 years I had seen a real live badger in the wild! Needless to say we were hooked!

I finally caught up with Stephen from a distance a week or two later where he filled me in all about the badgers. One badger I saw twice and briefly was the huge, hulking Bentley... so we decided to name them Bentley’s Crew... but it wouldn’t be Bentleywho would become the star of the show.

I longed to get a good photograph, but the sound of just a rustle would send the badgers darting off and away. Armed with a plan and plenty of treats (peanuts) I started to gain their trust... one badger shone above the others and very quickly built up a delightful rapport with myself... she gave me an extra reason so get out each night.

Scarlet, very different from the rest, quickly became comfortable with my presence and stephen too, many evening would be spent watching her and I finally got my first badger photo and what a beautiful shot it was too.

Then I got the call to go in for surgery and I couldn’t make it down for six weeks... Scarlet however pushed me to get back on my feet and gave me a reason to go for a walk... I gathered my strength and went down again after what felt an absolute age... to my dismay she didn’t turn up that night, nor the next, nor the one after that... I stared to wonder if it was me having not been down to drop a few treats off, or had she been involved in an RTA!? For the next few nights I walked down the main road from Potton to check each evening for any victims but there were none to be seen so I set up my trail cam.

I collected it the following night and worked out a badger had set it off, though sadly this badger was in a very bad way, unable to walk and severely injured, but in a glimpse in the tiny screen my heart skipped as I knew instantly it was our missing Scarlet!

I got home quick and uploaded it and sure enough it was our missing beauty. I quickly contacted Stephen and we tried to set a POA. This followed for the next few weeks a daily food and water delivery in the evening and close monitoring using the trail cam to see how she was doing, after weeks of extra nutrition and specialist care, and a plan to trap and get her some veterinary care scarlet finally turned the corner and started walking again.

Scarlet had been a joy to behold and is a daily topic of conversation not just in my household but also with my 93 year old Nan who we nearly lost in lockdown... she brings us all hope and never fails to make us smile with her antics, be it sneaking off with her favourite peanut butter cracker, doing the great egg snatch or blowing bubbles in her water hole, she has been a true blessing in these dark times. My children have adored seeing her in person and assisting with her daily food preparation and food drops and both are keen to learn more or watch the videos I come back with... to see them both getting something so positive and beneficial

from a beautiful, majestic and natural being on our own doorstep has been a massive mental boost when we have needed it. You can guarantee your head will clear and you will feel

Relaxed after visiting the JoG at dusk to check in on Bentley’s Crew and scarlet... the best things in life are free (or well maybe just the price of a bag of peanuts) but I can guarantee you that feeling when you first see her each night is priceless!

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1 comentario

Chris Smart
Chris Smart
13 may 2021

I can understand your passion. I have enjoyed the cold evenings it's still a huge buzz when a womble appears.

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