Page last updated at 00:12 GMT, Saturday, 14 November 2009

Badger 'clans' recorded on moors

Badgers were found in urban areas as well as the countryside

Badgers have been "surprisingly" found on barren moorland and along coasts, according to organisers of the largest survey of the mammals in Scotland.

Charity Scottish Badgers said the animal was adapting to habitats beyond its traditional woodland one.

It said there were about 9,000 social groups, or "clans", across Scotland.

Scottish Badgers said this represented a healthy population and also showed that, like the rest of UK, numbers were increasing.

Almost 900 sites were assessed during the three-year Scottish Badger Distribution Survey, which received Lottery funding.

Survey co-ordinator Elaine Rainey said setts were recorded in urban areas as well as the countryside.

Comprehensive study

She said: "Many think of badgers as essentially woodland creatures.

"Although this is true in the majority of cases, we are now seeing badgers adapting to a wide range of habitats.

"Volunteer surveyors found badger setts in almost all areas of Scotland, from the furthest corners of north-west Sutherland, through Glasgow and Edinburgh, to the Isle of Arran and the Scottish Borders."

Environment Minister Roseanna Cunningham said the survey was the most comprehensive and detailed study ever undertaken on badgers in Scotland.

She added: "That this thorough and professional work was undertaken by volunteers is testament to their enthusiasm for the species."

Badgers are omnivores, feeding mainly on earthworms, but can also take young rabbits, small mammals, frogs, slugs, and snails.

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