When it comes to Mother Nature, hardly anything is surprising. Following the case where a team of researchers trained a couple of bees to play golf using liquid glucose, a team of scientists from the University of Utah has discovered that badgers can be quite crafty, especially when it comes to procuring and storing food.
It all started when Evan Buechley, a doctoral candidate, and his team decided to study the behavior of predators from Great Basin over the winter. For the purpose of this experiment, Buechley and his colleagues acquired several cow carcasses from local producers and transported them to the area using a truck.
According to the doctoral candidate’s statements, the purpose of the cow carcasses was to attract predators in the vicinity so that they can study their behavior more closely. Each dead cow was outfitted with a camera which was turned to go off each time an opportunistic predator approached the carcasses.
As Buechley recalls, one week after the experiment began, he and his team of biologists from the University of Utah, went on a trip to the Great Basin to check up on the dead cows and to see if the cameras caught something interesting. Buechley added that the cow carcasses were secured to the ground using metal stakes to prevent any predators from stealing some beef.
Shortly after arrived at the location and counting the carcasses, Buechley saw that one of the cows were missing. Of course, this would have been a major setback because, according to Buechley, it’s very difficult to acquire and transport a cow carcass to that area.
However, after carefully inspecting the area, the researchers discovered that the ground around the metallic stake was disturbed as if someone wanted to bury something.
Buechley said that he immediately downloaded the pictures from the camera in order to see who stole the cow carcasses. To their astonishment, it would seem that the cow thief was actually a badger who saw the opportunity of a lifetime in the cow carcass.
The pictures snapped by the camera shows how the badger rips the cow from the stake, drags it a couple of meters, digs a big hole, stuff the cow in it, and covers it with dirt. Buechley noted that the badger returned after a few days to dig up the carcass and to have a bite to eat.
Moreover, it would seem that the other cameras caught badgers trying to steal cow carcasses. The head researcher said that this is not an atypical behavior since the badger is known to bury its food in order to keep it safe from other predators.
Image source: MaxPixel