Eurasian Badgers (Meles meles) at Wytham Woods, UK: Sett Locations and Distribution of Territories

The following Google maps have been created as part of the online Field Techniques for Surveying Mammals and Reptiles course at Oxford University Department for Continuing Education. As a result of this, the maps may reference tools or resources you are unable to access. If you would like to use this practical with your own students you will have to provide your own mechanisms to replicate these.

These maps are designed to teach the principles of surveying European badger setts and their territories, and are not intended to be a completely accurate simulation of the animals under study or to be used for research purposes.

Created by:
Jocelyne Hughes (Department for Continuing Education, University of Oxford)
Chris Newman (Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, Department of Zoology, University of Oxford)
Christina Buesching (Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, Department of Zoology, University of Oxford)
John Lee (Department for Continuing Education, University of Oxford)

Technical development by TALL.

Please cite this exercise as Hughes J, Newman C, Buesching C & Lee J (2010) Eurasian Badgers (Meles meles) at Wytham Woods, UK: Sett Location and Distribution of Territories. Google maps exercise at:


All badger data are provided by the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, Department of Zoology, University of Oxford. Thanks to Professor David Macdonald for making them available.

Nigel Fisher, Conservator of Wytham Woods, University of Oxford, provided insightful comments on aspects of the ecology of the woods, and made available the Wytham Atlas (Oxford Forestry Institute 1976, Wytham Woods Atlas, Oxford Forestry Institute, University of Oxford).

Our thanks to Dr Teddy Wilkin, Edward Grey Institute, Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, for making available the data on oak tree distributions.

Photo credits

  • Charles Bangham
  • Jocelyne Hughes
  • Inigo Montes
  • Chris Newman

Aims of the Practical

This practical will take you through the process of constructing a protocol in order to answer the research questions on badger sett location and badger territories at Wytham Woods, UK, as well as designing two data recording sheets. The result of the practical will be the production of a data matrix that will enable you to comment on the distribution of badger setts in relation to environmental variables at Wytham, and a map of latrines that will enable you to comment on the spatial distribution of their territories.

Research questions

  • What environmental variables influence sett location at Wytham?
  • How are the badger territories in Wytham distributed spatially?

Research report

The output of this exercise will be a Research report, which you will upload to the Badger forum. The Research report will be in two parts: the first part dealing with sett location, and the second with badger territories. For each part you will provide a:

  • short protocol
  • data recording sheet
  • data matrix (for badger sett location) or latrines map (for badger territories)
  • short paragraph with your findings

Reading material

There are two key articles that will help you with this exercise:

The following book provides additional background reading on Wytham Woods:

  • Savill P, Perrins C, Kirby K & Fisher N (eds) 2010 Wytham Woods: Oxford’s Ecological Laboratory, Oxford University Press.

In each map you can:

  • Click on location markers for further information.
  • Zoom in and out on the maps by using the navigation on the left-hand side of the map.
  • Move around on the map itself by clicking on the map and dragging with your mouse.
  • Choose to view the map in Map, Satellite, Terrain and Earth modes using the buttons in the top right hand corner of the map.

Click on each map in this sequence: