The University of Utah

Never Before Seen: Badger Buries Entire Cow in Utah Trail Cam Capture

Here's video proof that badgers do store animal carcasses larger than their own bodies.

Evan Buechley, a conservation biologist, does some interesting field work. As a method to study scavengers, Buechley left seven small cow carcasses in Utah's North Basin - with trail cameras set up - in order to record the visitors. One day, in January of 2016, an entire cow carcass disappeared. This left the biologist scratching his head.

Believing it to be the work of coyotes, Buechley searched for the 50-pound calf. He had no luck. It wasn't until he reviewed the trail camera footage that he made an unbelievable discovery - the disappearing carcass was the work of an industrial badger.

As you're about to see in this fascinating footage, a single badger - over the course of five days - excavated tunnels beneath the calf, allowing the carcass to fall into a pit.  It then covered it's cache completely, building a burrow beside it, and ultimately feeding on the beef for the next 11 days.

The scientific significance to this discovery is great: up until this point, the largest animal on record being entombed by a lone badger was a jackrabbit.

"I was really shocked by the fact that these badgers could completely monopolize and dominate that food source," says Buechley, who published a study on the new behavior March 31 in the Western North American Naturalist with three colleagues from the University of Utah.

This discovery could be a win for ranchers, as by badgers burying dead animals, it would minimize the risk of disease spreading to healthy livestock.

Nature never ceases to amaze.

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