(TMU) — The concept seems like something lifted straight out of a Disney or Looney Tunes cartoon: wild animals of completely different species joining up to go on an adventure.
But in a rare video that’s gone viral, an energetic coyote can be seen playfully waiting as a badger companion ambles along to catch up before the pair travel together through a tunnel.
In adorable footage shared to Twitter by the Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST), the two creatures can be seen using a culvert to travel beneath a highway near Gilroy, California.
The scene is only 13 seconds long, but it already seems like it could be the basis for a great animated movie. The coyote seems to be bursting with energy, jumping about and wagging its tale as its little chubby sidekick appears to be in no hurry to get to its destination.
The pair then march into the tunnel as the coyote leads the way and the badger waddles behind.
This is the best thing you'll see all day! 🐾
Our wildlife cameras spotted a #coyote and #badger together — the first time this type of behavior has been captured in the San Francisco #BayArea.https://t.co/YDcnhyiWL1 pic.twitter.com/qZQgcbwtTk
— Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST) (@POSTLandTrust) February 4, 2020
POST, which captured the footage, said that while coyotes and badgers are known to join forces for hunting purposes, this is the first time they’ve been caught on camera traveling through a manmade structure.
While coyotes are adept at chasing down their prey, badgers can dig whenever creatures try to escape by burrowing underground.
“Badgers and coyotes have long been known to team up to hunt, but we believe this is the first video documenting the pair travelling together through a human-made structure.
Studies have shown that a badger and coyote hunting together can be beneficial for both species, as they pursue favorite prey such as ground squirrels. Maybe that’s where they’re headed?”
According to U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the two species actually form a very effective partnership when it comes to catching prey. The agency wrote in a 2016 blog post:
“Coyotes and badgers are known to hunt together and can even be more successful hunting prairie dogs and ground-squirrels when they work in tandem. 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 prey if it heads underground into its burrow systems. Each partner in this unlikely duo brings a skill the other one lacks. Together they are both faster and better diggers than the burrowing rodents they hunt.”
POST, a nonprofit organization that protects open spaces for wildlife, is currently running a program using over 50 remote sensor cameras to record how animals interact with large roadways especially around regions like the Santa Cruz Mountains.
The cameras have been used to capture video of skunks, bobcats, raccoons, and other animals that can be found across the urban-wildlife interface of coastal California. Wildlife have benefited from culverts and passageways beneath bridges and roads which allow them to travel and live their natural lives without being killed crossing highways or becoming genetically isolated from the rest of their species.
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