Recently, the Peninsula Open Space Trust released footage taken from a night vision camera outside of a tunnel, featuring a seemingly unlikely animal duo. Initially, a coyote waits at what is technically a culvert pipe in anticipation of passing under a California highway, according to boredpanda.com.
As if expecting something, the coyote peeks around the piping’s outer rim, looking out of the view of the camera, curiously. Then, it begins jumping.
The coyote attempts to hurry something that is out of sight, expressed in its demanding body language and general impatience.
It heads into the tunnel before turning in excitement as something fuzzy and round creeps into view, moving at a lethargic pace. Whatever approaches appears to be on friendly terms with the formidable coyote.
Within a matter of seconds, a badger crawls into full sight heading towards the culvert, naturally trailing the coyote. This begs the question: are these two animals… friends? Hunting companions or whatever they may call it, it’s fascinating.
Mutually beneficial arrangements between animals occur naturally, whether specifically for hunting or other reasons. Realistically, these two likely aren’t together for friendship, but are instead taking advantage of each other’s complementary hunting characteristics and senses.
In fact, coyotes and badgers are common hunting partners, a phenomenon that has been observed for centuries.
Coyotes benefit immensely by hunting alongside badgers, making it easier to catch burrowing organisms including ground squirrels and prairie dogs. Coyotes are more commonly found alongside badgers than they are members of their own species, according to howstuffworks.com.
The quicker coyote will often hunt animals above ground, while the badger specializes below. Coyotes are very swift on their feet and badgers are excellent burrowers. It’s been estimated that coyotes can catch about a third more food with the help of a badger. The relationship is even featured in Native American folktales from hundreds of years ago, according to howstuffworks.com.
Once the approaching badger makes it to the tunnel behind the coyote, the unlikely duo look toward the darkness together, continuing their hunt.
Fortunately, both coyotes and badgers are very well-suited for the night. Although coyotes aren’t necessarily nocturnal, they have many more rod receptors in the retinas of their eyes than humans, giving them incredible night vision. Human retinas, on the other hand, are cone-dominant, all according to coyoteyipps.com.
Badgers are indeed nocturnal, with most of their hunting coming at night, says badgerwatcher.com. Additionally, badgers have an incredibly keen sense of smell, forming a natural pair with the coyote’s sharp vision.
The coyote and badger tandem continue their journey, trotting their way deeper into the black.
What lies on the other side? What adventures await the unlikely duo deep down the culvert?
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Source: [Peninsula Open Space Trust – POST]