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Abstract

Badger setts vary considerably in size, ranging from simple single-entrance burrows to complex tunnel systems hundreds of metres long with multiple entrances and underground chambers. Data from 19 excavated setts show that main setts are larger than other setts in terms of area and volume, and contain more chambers, nests and latrines; but setts of different sizes and types are built according to the same basic architectural principles. Little is known about the environmental conditions within setts, other than that temperature and humidity are constant in parts of a sett that are at least 7 m from the nearest entrance. Setts are used for breeding and as sleeping places and refuges, but a question remains as to the functional value of large setts. It is suggested that large main setts allow members of a social group to avoid one another underground, especially when breeding. Little is known about the use of other types of sett.