Sunday, 15 May 2011

Sussex big cats do prey on badgers

The evidence that Sussex big cats prey on badgers is stacking up.Firstly,the young badger skull found in march was at a sighting of a big cat seen going up a tree at night.The witness stated that he heard a terrific racket like several cats fighting and,worried about his own cat being outside,went out armed with a lamp shining it around the field to see a very large black,alsation sized cat running away towards the nearby wood and go up one of the trees.

Last year while investigating the Telscombe sheep kills a partly eaten badger carcase was reported to me by the farmer,cause of death unknown,however there was intense big cat activity going on there at the time,this shouldn,t be a victim of circumstance i know but it,s still interesting nonetheless.

A few years previously further east in the county a witness had heard a terrific screaming noise she described as like a cat fight only louder,deeper and more violent sounding,the next morning a badger carcase was found in the garden partially eaten.

I have never heard a badger make more of a sound than the pig-like grunting noises it makes when rooting about for food however i remember from somewhere that they can make a terrible ,blood curdling screaming sound that sounds like "6 cats fighting together" although i would of thought that if a big cat was taking down a badger the throat grip that they prefer would of stifled any screams,not so it seems.

In the past year of wildlife surveys and trail camera set ups in areas of intense big cat activity a distinct lack of,especially young,badgers has been noted and this is contrary to observers in other areas who have noted no notable decline in their local badger populations.

Anyhow,i contacted Johnathen Mc.Gowen from all the way over in Dorset(see his very informative website here ) to see if he had come across any evidence of big cats preying on badgers down in his neck of the woods and he replied "I very rarely find any evidence of large cats eating badgers but... my first sighting was of a puma stalking a 6 month old badger cub.... i have seen several photos of cat eaten badger carcasses and found remains of such in my study areas... along with several eyewitness accounts from people who have seen (big)cats killing badgers...I think that they prefer deer,rabbits then foxes and lastly badgers."This was very valuable information from Johnathen Mc.Gowen as Dorset is around a 100 miles away and shows that badgers as prey in Sussex could not be just a purely local phenonemon.

Well,i haven,t seen a badger carcase myself yet that could be attributed to a big cat kill like i have with deer and fox carcases but things do certainly seem to be fitting together even the fact that i found the skull in march which is the "hungry gap"time of year for big cats in Sussex.Without a body there is no murder but i found a skull so it,s a start to be going along with,a carcase is the best evidence but i must admit that i,m still very surprised that badgers fall prey to anything seeing as how tough they are.Keeping an open mind is the best way to explore new (to me) possibilities........