Watch A Badger Bury An Entire Cow By Itself

Posted: Apr 1 2017, 5:34am CDT | by , in News | Latest Science News

 
Watch a Badger Bury an Entire Cow by Itself
Camera trap images of an American badger burying a calf carcass by itself in Utah's Grassy Mountains, January 2016. Credit: Evan Buechley
  • Badger found Burying Entire Cow Carcass in Utah Desert

A badger was found burying an entire cow carcass in the Utah desert. Such extreme forms of scavenger behavior have rarely been seen before.

Biologists were studying scavenger behavior in the Great Basin Desert of Utah when they came upon a badger which was attempting to bury a calf carcass all by itself.

Although badgers and similar creatures have been known to stash away food supplies, this was the first such incidence of a badger trying to cache away an animal much bigger than itself. This suggests that badgers may not have any limits as far as the animals they cache are concerned.

The fact that badgers play a role in hiding away large carcasses of animals means that their behavior may benefit cattle ranchers in the western regions.

While scientists know a whole lot about the anatomy and physiology of badgers, their behavior is something regarding which there is pretty much a blank space.

This particular instance of burying a whole cow carcass was a type of behavior that is common in badgers but remained unknown by scientists up until now.

The group of experts had not originally wanted to study badgers in particular. Seven calf carcasses were deposited at various sites and a camera was installed near each one.

This was so that any scavengers that came close to the carcasses could be caught in action. Vultures and other birds that scrounged around for scraps of food were being studied by the scientists.

When one of the carcasses went missing, the researchers decided to take a closer look at what exactly was going on underneath their noses. They thought that a coyote or puma had dragged the carcass to its lair in order to make a tasty meal out of it.

Then they saw that the ground on which the missing carcass had been deposited was uneven. When photos were taken later on, the badger was spotted.

The researchers had not come looking for the badger but the badger had literally come to them. Badgers are a mysterious class of animals. A large part of their lives are spent in subterranean tunnels.

They are also a night creature. Therefore direct observation of these curious animals is a pain in the neck. As the camera footage showed, the badger expended quite some energy creating the right conditions for the carcass to sink into the ground leaving no trace of its whereabouts on the surface.

It accomplished the task over a five day period. At the end of the herculean task, the badger looked satisfied by the looks of it.

The study, published in Western North American Naturalist, was funded by a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowsh ip to doctoral candidate Evan Buechley.

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