THE European badger (Meles meles) is the largest carnivorous British mammal and is common throughout much of the UK. It is found in most rural areas below an altitude of 500 m, but is especially common in south-west England and southern Wales. Road traffic accidents (RTAs) are one of the main reasons veterinary attention is sought for badgers. Indeed, RTAs account for at least half of all badger deaths in monitored populations. It must not, however, be assumed that a badger found by the roadside has been hit by a car – some of these animals may have been poisoned, may have territorial fight wounds or may be debilitated in some other way that has subsequently put them within view of a passing motorist or pedestrian. This article provides guidelines on how to deal safely and competently with a badger found by the roadside. It discusses associated legal and safety issues, and describes how badgers may be captured, handled and anaesthetised to enable a clinical examination. It also outlines the approach to first aid and highlights situations where euthanasia may be the best course of action.
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