In defence of badgers

My dog was bitten by an adder last week. Jessie had been snuffling around in bracken a few yards from where I was walking when I suddenly heard this anguished yelp, followed by still more disquieting, even harrowing yelps. I knew immediately exactly what had happened. I have been boring my family for months with warnings about where not to take Jessie for a walk, because of the adders. They think adders are a manifestation of my warped imagination and do not really exist, possibly something dreamed up by the QAnon people. They never believe me when I tell them anything about animals and yet – ironically, you might think

Kill badgers to save hedgehogs

Until last month I hadn’t seen a hedgehog for close to 30 years, though they were part of everyday life when I was a child. In the school holidays, we’d rush first thing to the nearby cattle grids to check for animals who’d fallen in overnight. It’s what passed for fun back then: picking damp critters out of concrete prisons. Sometimes there were lambs, wedged in up to their woolly armpits; sometimes there were angry, pulsing toads. But it was hedgehog rescue that was our sacred duty. We’d pick them up in towels and take them to the hedgehog spa in the boiler room, where they’d spend the day lounging