The badger is a social animal, but only up to a point. Related individuals, and some immigrants, live together and collectively defend a territory, but they do not go round in a pack or herd. They do not help each other in the rearing of cubs. They rely mainly on scent as a means of communication, with very little in the way of visual displays or vocalizations. The author calls this 'social life at its most primitive' and examines the ecological factors that have moulded it. As long as sites for setts are available, then most of the rest of badger ecology revolves about food, especially earthworms. Food supply is in turn dependent on land use. There is little doubt, the author concludes after careful analysis, that in most parts of Europe, including Britain, badger populations, their density, the size of their clans, the area of their territories, their food selection and foraging strategies, are almost totally dependent on agriculture or other human activities. In the final chapter he suggests management practices to promote the coexistence of landowners, agriculture, and badgers, based on a scientific understanding of how badgers really live and what is important to them.
Information previously only available in scientific papers is here made accessible (with much new material) to all naturalists, ecologists, and conservationists interested in the ecology of this familiar but sometimes destructive animal.