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Badgers spotted in Fremont Hills. Check these photos.

By Gary Bogue
Monday, June 13th, 2011 at 7:41 am in Badger.

Badgers in Fremont hills. Photo by Paul Turner, Fremont, CA
1badger paul turner fremont

Gary:
A couple of days ago a friend, Paul Turner, asked if I wanted to take a “short”  hike up a creek on his ranch (in the Fremont, Calif., hills). Well, he is 70 and I am 64, just your typical kids anticipating an adventure in the “good old” local creek. So, after telling his wife what we were up to, we took off on a longer than planned outing.

It was uneventful, for a few hundred yards. That is until we noticed Mountain Lion tracks in the mud near one of the springs. We checked the wind  and headed in the opposite direction so as to avoid too much adventure so early in the hike. As we left that canyon and hit the top of the creek we were greeted by what we mistook for a Bobcat on the side of the hill. A few seconds later there  was not one but four “non-Bobcats.”

Three of these animals shot out of their den and charged down the hill singing us a threatening chorus. As they came closer, our eyesight improved and we realized that they were not Bobcats at all but Badgers.

Badgers charging down hill. Photo by Paul Turner, Fremont, CA
1badger2 paul turner fremont

Not much relief there, as, yes, they were badgering us, by backing up a bit then charging again. So we stood our ground, in a statue stance, to give them and us a chance to reconsider their and our situation. It all worked itself out slowly as they eventually and cautiously went back up the hill to their den and we slowly and cautiously went our way, again in an opposite direction.

I have never seen Badgers this close to town. In fact neither of us have seen Badgers anywhere in the Fremont foothills on the east side of the San Francisco Bay. When we got back no one believed our far-fetched story. None of them had ever seen nor heard of anyone seeing Badgers in our area, even though Paul’s family has lived in that area for over 100 years and I’ve lived here since 1963. So I am glad Paul had the insight to bring a camera. We have pictures of the Badgers, yes badgering us.

The only other threatening wildlife we encountered were several ground squirrels and a Golden Eagle that we had seen in the area before. So, even if a person is a kid of 64 or even 70 or more, they might take a nature walk close to home in the Bay Area and  encounter more than expected. Ours’ was a fun five or so miles.
Al Matto, Fremont, California

Badgers in Fremont hills. Photo by Paul Turner, Fremont, CA
1badger paul turner fremont

Al:
There used to be a lot of badgers in the San Francisco Bay Area, then as the area became more developed, local Ag. departments started poisoning ground squirrels to keep them from digging up local backyards and other areas, and since badgers depend primarily on those ground squirrels for food, it also affected the local badger population

Interestingly, in the last 10 years or so, badgers seem to have been coming back. They are getting seen more on and around Mount Diablo in Contra Costa County. I’ve had some reports from the Mount Tam area of Marin County. And now your report (and photos) from the Fremont Hills.

That’s VERY good news. Any other badger reports from other areas? /Gary

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5 Responses to “Badgers spotted in Fremont Hills. Check these photos.”

  1. Dave Harper Says:

    Wish I was there, have only seen Badgers ran over on the roadways. I would love to see one out during the day. Dave

  2. Rich Girard Says:

    My only Badger siting was also sadly a dead one along side the road on Vasco Rd. I too have lived in the East Bay in Antioch since 1967. Growing up in the foothills I never saw a Badger, so I was surprised to see a dead one. In my boyhood adventures in the hills south of Antioch, I saw much wildlife, including Rattlesnakes, Gophersnakes, King snakes, scorpions, tarantulas, also sited a cougar at least once, also coyote,and fox. But never a Badger. It’s nice to see that some of the wildlife populations are making a comeback!

  3. sfbaywildlife Says:

    It is pretty awesome that Paul Turner has badgers on his property.

  4. Laura Oliver Says:

    I saw a family of badgers about to cross the road in San Gregorio about ten years ago. I was in my car and from far off, I thought they were raccoons and wondered why raccoons were out in the day. As I got closer, I saw their heads and knew they were badgers! No one believes my story either!

  5. Susan Kirks Says:

    Hello, a friend forwarded this posting and photographs to me. Our nonprofit in Sonoma County is working on BadgerMap, based on the American Badger advocacy and habitat protection efforts for the past 11 years.

    We have focused diligently to protect a 100-year-old habitat in West Petaluma, determined to be a core maternal area. There are a few locations in Sonoma County (some open space protected lands, as well) with American Badger habitat and presence.

    This time of season is about the time for dispersal of young. For this # of badgers to have emerged from a burrow or burrows may likely have been a female with her young about ready to disperse. Otherwise, the badgers would not be interested in taking a defensive position. Your response (and presence of mind to take the photos, kudos) sounds very appropriate. To stand after retreating, calmly, and then not make eye contact, wait for the badger to retreat, or when things seem calmed down, back away quietly and carefully to give the message, actually, of apology for encroaching upon a habitat where a threat was felt by the badger, thus the offensive movement, is a best practice.

    I wondered if there have been any nearby habitat losses of grassland areas or development? Nearby could be within a 5-10 mile radius.

    Please contact me if you would ever like a site visit or any additional information. We make complimentary consultative visits to help determine best practices to protect the badgers as well as facilitate understanding of how and why they may have found their way there.

    With the mention of ground squirrels, there must be sufficient forage for the badgers found there.

    Badgers have been reported in the South Bay, but as one poster above said, sadly, many are killed by vehicles in trying to cross roadways. Fragmented habitat and competition for foraging are significant issues, similar to burrowing owls.

    Helping to protect their habitat and movement areas is a great act to help this special status mammal try and survive.

    It’s also good the sighting was on private property and the water source nearby sounds like a good choice for a female badger likely about to help her young disperse to find their own territories.

    Thank you for sharing the photos and your experience.

    If you see them again, please share. Much appreciated. We’ll put this general location with the sighting in our BadgerMap project.

    PLAN will be at the Beaver Festival in Martinez on Sat., August 6 – stop by and say hi if you’re there.

    info@paulalaneactionnetwork.org
    http://www.paulalaneactionnetwork.org
    707-773-3215

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