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Weird News Why this coyote and badger 'friendship' has excited scientists

05:55  06 february  2020
05:55  06 february  2020 Source:   nationalgeographic.com

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Scientists have known for a long time that coyotes and badgers in the American West hunt cooperatively for small mammals; the The video, taken by the nonprofit group Peninsula Open Space Trust, is an important discovery for scientists : It shows both the first example of coyote - badger

Studies have shown that badgers and coyotes actually make a good team when it comes to hunting. The badger can dig into ground squirrels' dens and then once " Having that interaction on film and seeing how these two different animals that lead different lives, how they interact, it's just so exciting ."

a black and white photo of a cat: A coyote waits for a badger to follow it down a wildlife underpass in the southern Santa Cruz Mountains. © Photograph Courtesy Peninsula Open Space Trust

A coyote waits for a badger to follow it down a wildlife underpass in the southern Santa Cruz Mountains.

Like a page out of a child’s storybook, a coyote and a badger trot side by side, seemingly the best of friends.

The remote camera video clip was captured recently under a busy highway in California’s Santa Cruz Mountains. It’s gone viral on Twitter, showing just how much people love to cheer on unusual animal bonds. 

Scientists have known for a long time that coyotes and badgers in the American West hunt cooperatively for small mammals; the partnership is even featured in Native American mythology. But until now, the phenomenon has always been thought to be purely transactional. What’s so striking about the video, says independent behavioral ecologist Jennifer Campbell-Smith, is that it’s not “these cold, robotic animals taking advantage of each other—they’re instead at ease and friendly.”

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A wildlife camera caught a coyote and badger heading through a tunnel together in California. It could be the first to show that kind of behavior between the two animals, Peninsula Open Space Trust said. It actually can be very helpful for the two to hunt together, POST said scientists have found.

“The coyote can chase down prey if it runs and the badger can dig after prey if it heads underground into its burrow systems.” Mr McSpadden’s video has been viewed more than 2.2 million times in nine hours, with one Twitter user suggesting the pair should run for president.

Case in point: The coyote wags its tail and bows down playfully, signaling that it’s inviting the badger to follow it into the tunnel. The badger’s body language is relaxed; the animal even lifts its tail to waddle more quickly to keep pace with the coyote. “The badger was showing happy behavior—for a badger,” she laughs. The animals are known for being notoriously grumpy.

What’s more, the affability between the animals shows that they certainly know each other as individuals. “I wouldn’t scientifically want to use the term friends, but these are two wild animals that clearly understand their partnership.”

The video, taken by the nonprofit group Peninsula Open Space Trust, is an important discovery for scientists: It shows both the first example of coyote-badger cooperation ever taken in the San Francisco Bay Area and possibly the first video showing two species sharing a culvert—a tunnel that allows water to flow under a road and wildlife to bypass highways. But there’s another crucial takeaway here, she adds: Helping the public to relate to the wildlife in their own backyards.

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‘ Coyotes and badgers are known to hunt together and can even be more successful hunting prairie dogs and ground-squirrels when they work in ‘Studies have shown that this unusual relationship is beneficial for both species. The coyote can chase down prey if it runs and the badger can dig after

A coyote and a badger were caught on camera charmingly using a culvert in tandem to cross under a busy California highway. The coyote - tail waging - then scampers into the culvert, before turning around to watch as its badger friend laboriously makes its way down the grassy slope.

Such clips help “people see that, oh wait, just like I can have a friendship with a dog, they can, too,” she says. “It’s not just a human thing; all animals can collaborate.”

Win-win situation

Coyotes and badgers occasionally form short-term alliances to hunt ground-dwelling creatures, particularly in areas with relatively high densities of predators and prey, such as open expanses of Wyoming, Montana, and Oregon. The most common structure is one coyote and one badger, though occasionally two coyotes will join up (two badgers have not been observed, however), notes Campbell-Smith. (Learn how coyotes are hacking life in the city.)

It's not known how the relationship begins, or whether it’s learned behavior from the species’ parents, she says. But there’s no question the association is mutually beneficial.

That’s because the carnivores complement each other’s hunting styles. If a coyote spends time near a badger, there’s a good chance the badger is going to scare up a squirrel, which the coyote can then run and catch. If the badger hangs around a coyote, there’s a likelihood the coyote will drive the prey underground, which then gives the badger—a superior digger—a meal.

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Coyotes have managed to elude much serious scrutiny by being exquisitely wary, so much so that even dedicated coyote scientists can struggle to find ways to lay eyes on them, not to mention hands. Dr. Laura Prugh, a wildlife ecologist at the University of California, Berkeley, said trying to survey a

The appellation “The Badger State” is an indirect reference to the behavior of badgers , while describing that of the miners. The miners were called badgers because their act of digging the caves in the ground was a little too similar to that of the badgers who also dug underground places of abode.

Research has backed up the efficacy of this mutualism: Coyotes and badgers that hunt together are both more effective at getting food. For instance, observations in Wyoming have revealed that coyotes that team up with badgers save energy and likely time by not having to search, chase, and stalk Uinta ground squirrels.

Such studies have also shown the coyote-badger affiliations are more common in rural areas untouched by humans—making this video all the more exciting, notes Megan Draheim, a conservation biologist at Virginia Tech and founder of the District Coyote Project, which studies the predators.

“This is a great reflection of how much nature and wildness there can be in urban areas, and why it’s important to think about nature and plan for it.”

It also gives the public a glimpse into the coyote’s playful side, Draheim adds. 

Usually considered “mean, skulking animals,” coyotes are “very intelligent, and have a lot of interactions with other animals around them.” It’s amazing, she adds, “how close that [coyote in the video] mirrors the playfulness of our own dogs.”

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© AFP PHOTO / Max Nash The British Julian Fellowes has been responsible for writing the plot of "Wind in the Willows" , a film adapted from the children's book of the same name. Julian Fellowes, the scriptwriter of the film "Gosford Park" (script for which he was Oscar winner) and "Downton Abbey", was commissioned to write the plot of "Wind in the Willows", a film adapted from the book for children of the same name.

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