For nearly five hundred years, Craignethan Castle has stood strong against war, attack, and treason. But now, a different kind of invader is forcing people to flee. He’s furry, he’s built like a tank, and he is mad as heck. The invader is, according to castle staff, a very angry badger.
Craignethan Castle in South Lanarkshire, Scotland, was built around 1530, by architect and military engineer James Hamilton. Due to political intrigue — Hamilton himself was executed for treason — the castle passed in and out of the family’s hands several times. In 1949, the government took control of the property. Today the organization Historic Scotland looks after it.
Hamilton designed Craignethan Castle to resist attack. First, steep slopes protect the castle on three sides. Also, on the fourth side, there is a deep ditch. There is also a tunnel leading to the cellar. These defenses repelled invaders for centuries. But they were no match for this furious furry.
Historic Scotland tweeted, “If you’re heading to #CraignethanCastle over the next few days you might find the Cellar Tunnel closed due to the presence of a very angry badger. We’re trying to entice it out with cat food and send it home.”
Beware the #AngryBadger!
If you're heading to #CraignethanCastle over the next few days you might find the Cellar Tunnel closed due to the presence of a very angry badger. We're trying to entice it out with cat food & send it home to #chilloot https://t.co/K4C2lA84xD pic.twitter.com/nTuC9VPOuo
— Historic Scotland (@welovehistory) April 13, 2018
What are Badgers, Anyway?
Badgers are omnivorous beasties, and relatives of weasels and polecats. They can weigh as much as 37 pounds — that’s about the size of a Welsh Corgi. Only unlike Corgis, badgers can be, shall we say, irritable.
They can also run at speeds of 25 to 30 miles per hour. That’s faster than Usain Bolt. So if you tick off one of these edgy little monsters, don’t bother trying to run.
Employees at Historic Scotland think the Craignethan critter wandered into the castle’s tunnel from a nearby woods. It became disoriented, they believe. And, understandably, the badger lost its chill. And it’s causing a real mess, digging up dirt, disturbing the stonework, and frightening visitors.
It might sound silly to close a lucrative tourist attraction because of one irritated badger. But badger attacks are no joke. Their claws are nearly two inches long, and their sharp canine teeth aren’t much shorter.
Victims of one badger attack in Britain described it as “like something out of a horror movie.”
It was the middle of the night. Homeowner Michael Fitzgerald went down to his garage to investigate a loud bang that had awakened him. Finding a badger in his garage, he opened the door to let the animal out. Instead of leaving, though, the badger charged Fitzgerald. As a result of the attack, Fitzgerald had to have skin grafts and plastic surgery. And he will have permanent scarring, as well.
The badger then went on a two-day rampage, savaging four more people in the area.
In addition to being aggressive, these scrappy little critters carry rabies, as well as other diseases that can transfer to humans.
So closing the castle until the critter clears off is a matter of public safety.
Where is the Badger Now?
Castle staff has been trying to lure the Craignethan Critter out of the tunnel with cat food. So far, it hasn’t taken the bait. You can follow the story on Twitter at @welovehistory, or by following the hashtags #CraignethanCastle and #chilloot.
Featured Image is CC BY 2.0, by Larry Lamsa, via Flickr.