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Shocking Video Shows Tiny Badger Burying Massive Cow By Itself -- World's First Footage

Apr 03, 2017 12:58 PM EDT
A badger peers through the brush, April 19, 2001 in Sublette County, WY. Environmentalists are concerned that the recent surge toward exploration and production of fossil fuels will harm wildlife and their habitat.
(Photo : Michael Smith/Newsmakers via Getty Images)

Scientists were completely dumbfounded when they found photos of American badgers (Taxidea taxus) burying a body of a dead cow in two separate incidents. The carcasses were nearly 23 kilograms while American badgers, on average, weighs only six to nine kilograms.

As reported by The Guardian, researchers from the University of Utah had left seven calf carcasses in Utah's Grassy Mountains and set up camera traps in January last year to learn about the habits of "scavengers" in the area.

"I was expecting we were going to get a lot of vultures and maybe some eagles and coyotes and different things," Evan Buechley, a doctoral candidate at the University of Utah and co-author of the study, told the news site. "But then this badger stole the show."

According to the study published in Western North American Naturalist, two American badgers were documented burying the carcass. One of the American badgers partially buried the carcass and the other did it entirely. Both of them built burrows alongside their hoard and they stayed there for 11 days, ravaging their banquet.

Badgers are small mammals with long feet and sharp claws, Live Science notes. They feed on both plants and meat and are nocturnal. However, in the video, researchers observed that the badgers who buried the cows kept on digging in both morning and evening.

The research is the first documented case of badgers caching the bodies of animals larger than them. This implies that badgers play a larger role in nutrient cycle and influence food supply of other animals more than previously thought.

National Geographic noted that if this behavior is similar to all the badgers around the world, the ranchers would mostly benefit from it since burying dead animals would reduce the chances of diseases spreading to their livestock.

Time lapse of the images collected by the researchers show one of the badgers looking directly at the camera, seemingly enjoying his accomplishment as it sits atop of its cache.

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