Badger Observed Burying an Entire Cow by Itself

Posted on April 1, 2017

Badger observed burying a cow carcass

University of Utah biologists have observed an American badger burying an entire cow carcass by itself. This is the first time a badger has been documented burying something larger than itself. The scavenger behavior was observed in January 2016 in Utah's Great Basin Desert.

Badgers are known to cache food stores and the researchers suggests the observations indicate that "badgers may have no limit to the size of animal they can cache."

Ethan Frehner, first author of the research paper, says in the announcement, "We know a lot about badgers morphologically and genetically, but behaviorally there's a lot of blank spaces that need to be filled. This is a substantial behavior that wasn't at all known about."

University of Utah biologist Evan Buechley placed seven calf carcasses in Utah's Grassy Mountains as part of the study. A camera trap was setup nearby each carcass. The study was intended to observe vultures and other avian scavengers but ended up capturing the badger's burying skills.

Buechley also says, "There's not a lot of resources out there. A large dead ungulate can provide a ton of resources. So far on the carcasses we've put out, we've had turkey vultures, golden eagles, many ravens, bobcats, kit fox and coyote, so there's a lot of animals that could be using this resource, and the badger just monopolizes it."

A research paper on the study was published here in the journal, Western North American Naturalist. Here is the video of the badger burying the calf carcass which weighed about 50 pounds. Take a look:



Photo: Evan Buechley
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