2023 Author: Bryan Walter | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-05-21 22:24
Researchers from the University of Utah recorded badgers on camera, which buried (one part, and the other completely) a cow carcass for later consumption. The authors note that this is the first documented case of an American badger hiding a dead animal larger than itself. Research published in Western North American Naturalist Publications.
The American badger (Taxidea taxus) has long been known for its habit of hiding and burying food, including animal carcasses. Food hidden in this way is hidden from other scavengers, and the badger can return to it later to eat. However, until now, this behavior has been observed in relatively small animals - for example, badgers buried small rodents or rabbits. However, this time scientists managed to see an unusual sight - the badger managed to completely bury the carcass of a calf.
A group of scientists from the University of Utah studied scavengers in the Great Basin in Utah. To observe the behavior of animals, researchers in January 2016 positioned seven carcasses of calves (Bos taurus) in different places in the Grassy Mountains with camera traps installed nearby. According to scientists, they primarily expected to see feathered scavengers - for example, vultures.
A week later, one of the authors of the article, making a detour around the baits, discovered that one of the cow carcasses was missing. According to him, at first he was upset, thinking that the carcass was carried off by a coyote or a cougar, but then he noticed that the ground was dug up at the place of the bait. The scientist uploaded pictures from the camera of the camera trap and saw that a badger had hidden the carcass.
It turned out that the male American badger dug a hole under the carcass in just five days, where he completely hid a dead calf, which weighed 3-4 times more than himself. Subsequently, it turned out that almost the same thing happened with another bait, but in the second case, the badger could not completely hide the carcass under the ground and it was visible on the surface. Each badger dug a hole next to the cache, and eventually spent most of the time underground, up to 11 days in a row, during which he ate and slept. The badgers spent 52 and 41 days at the baits, after which they left these places.
Badgers are resourceful predators - for example, they can sneak into a person's home and get food from the refrigerator. Other predators of the marten family are also famous for their ability to adapt to the environment. The honey badger, for example, can open the latch on the door of the enclosure or build a hill of earth and stones to climb over the wall, and the Californian sea otters are the only mustelids who know how to use tools - they carry a stone in the folds of their skin, on which they break the shells of mollusks.