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[hal-02978425] Le blaireau européen (Meles meles L.). Synthèse des connaissances européennes. Partie 1 : choix de l'habitat, structure et densité spatiale des terriers

29 October 2020

The European badger (Meles meles L.) has a wide range in Europe and France; it is a social animal that generally lives in a group or family clan that are housed in setts. Although badgers sometimes settle in urban areas, environments chequered with oak trees and open areas (meadows, hedges, rangeland) are the generally preferred biotope. In these environments, they tend to dig their burrows in looser earth on moderate slopes close to the edge of the forest, but far from manmade infrastructures. The surface area of a sett va- ries from a few square meters (< 100 m2) to several hundred (> 500 m2). Typically, the number of entrances, the incremental length of the tunnels and the number of chambers increase with surface area. In smaller setts (< 100 m2; referred to as “secondary”), the number of entrances is generally less than 10 (often 4 to 6), the number of chambers is between 0 and 3 and the incremental length of the tunnels less than 70 m. For larger setts (at least 200 to 300 m2; referred to as “main setts”), there are between 10 and 15 entrances, and there are often more than 10 chambers and the incremental tunnel length exceeds 100 metres. In Europe, the average density of setts is 1.1 ± 1.9 per km2. The highest densities are in Western Europe (Ireland, United Kingdom, France, Spain, etc.) where the average values recorded are between 1.4 and 2.2 setts per km2. Observations further to the east (Central and Eastern Europe) find densities that are 10 times less, with often less than one sett per 10 km2.