Coyotes Catch More Squirrels Than My Dog Does. Maybe He Needs a Badger, Too.

9 days ago
72 in animals

CoyBadg.jpg

My dog loves chasing squirrels. The hills behind our house are poked full of so many ground squirrel holes that they look like Swiss cheese. During the spring and summer, there must be hundreds of them on each hill, which is a big reason why we also see coyotes, hawks, bobcats, and other appropriately-sized predators in this area.

CAgrndSq CC Flickr Howard Cheng.jpg
Ground Squirrel. Photo credit: Creative Commons via Flickr by Howard Cheng.

Alas, my dog’s ambitions are greater than his squirreling skills. He caught a vole once, but has no luck with the squirrels. I need to get him his own badger.

Recently, I wrote a post about coyotes’ adaptability and how they are expanding their geographic range. Their adaptability extends to their hunting strategies also. A few years ago, when someone told me that badgers and coyotes hunt together, I laughed. But it turns out they were very correct.

The coyote-badger partnership creates perfect synergy when they are hunting ground squirrels. Badgers borrow underground, tunneling down toward the ground squirrels’ and prairie dogs’ nests (I’ll call them “squirrels”). Meanwhile, coyotes stay on top and catch the critters running scared out of their burrows. If the coyotes scare the squirrels into their tunnels, the badgers catch them.

CoyoteBadger1.jpg
CoyoteBadger2.5.jpg
CoyoteBadger3.jpg
CoyoteBadger2.jpg

By working together, both predators increase their chances. How is that possible if the other animal gets some of the squirrels? Their teamwork means that the coyote and the badger may not catch a squirrel each time they hunt. But even hunting alone, they don’t win on every hunt. By teaming up and scaring the squirrels into or out of the burrows, the joint coyote-badger hunt creates more chaos and it improves their overall chances.

In other words, coyotes and badgers both have a higher chance of catching a squirrel when they hunt together than when they hunt alone. According to scientists, a coyote can catch roughly 30% more prey when hunting with a badger than when hunting alone.

Here is a video showing coyotes and badgers hunting together:

Nature is quite amazing, isn’t it? There are many symbiotic relationships in the animal world, but this is one of the strangest partnerships. One would think that two predators with the same target would be foes, but it is rarer for these two turn against one another. They recognize that each one brings a complementary skill set. Not only do they tolerate one another; coyotes and badgers also have been seen walking, running, and even relaxing together between hunts.

My dog needs his own pet badger so that he can finally catch some squirrels. He also could use some help digging holes in the backyard. He tries to bury his toys and bones back there, but in summertime, the clay soil is hard as a rock. American badgers have huge claws and have been known to dig concrete up to 2 inches thick. A pet badger certainly could loosen the soil back there. In return, I’m sure my dog would let them play with some of his toys.

dog2.jpg
Author photo

But on second thought, these badgers are mean-looking creatures. If there were a badger in our yard, I think my dog would run inside, hide under the table, and start whining. Maybe he’s not ready for his own pet.

Parks.jpg

Badges2.jpg

References:

Ecology Info Review: http://www.ecology.info/badger-coyote.htm

Badger-Coyote Partnership, Animal Planet Video: http://www.animalplanet.com/tv-shows/animal-planet-presents/videos/top-10-odd-animal-couples-badger-coyote/

Hiscock, Bruce. “Coyote and Badger: Desert Hunters of the Southwest.” Boyds Mill Press (2001).
Line, Les. "The benefits of badgers." National Wildlife. December-January 1996. (Dec. 22, 2008) http://secure.nwf.org/NationalWildlife/printerFriendly.cfm?issueID=103&articleID=1308

Minta, Steven C.; Minta, Kathryn A.; and Lott, Dale F. "Hunting Associations Between Badgers (Taixdea Taxus) and Coyotes (Canis Latrans)." Journal of Mammology. Vol. 73. Issue 4. 1992. (Dec. 22, 2008)http://www.jstor.org/pss/1382201

Images: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Parks Service (Public Domain), unless otherwise indicated. "Stinking Badgers" image from The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (Warner Brothers, 1948).

Authors get paid when people like you upvote their post.
Join our amazing community to comment and reward others.
Sort Order:  trending
55
  ·  8 days ago

This reminds me of what the Tibetan Bear and Fox combo do:
http://www.pbs.org/video/1791007183/

·
72
  ·  8 days ago

That's awesome. Thanks!

65
  ·  8 days ago

Great post. Dogs don''t work well with badgers like coyotes seem to. My three dogs stretched out a big badger not far from the house. They had it upside down and tried to pull it apart. I realized that the badger was just sitting there waiting for the dogs to tire and once they did, it took a swipe and almost got one of my dogs. Badgers are real tough

·
72
  ·  8 days ago

Wow, great story. I don't think my dog could handle one.

68
  ·  9 days ago

A good cooperation. Maybe symbiotic mutialism in universe. And a good analogy for humans.

67
  ·  9 days ago

I'd never heard of this little symbiotic relationship, but I knew badgers were tough and 'bad'.

·
72
  ·  9 days ago

Those claws are amazing. They are tough critters for sure.

63
  ·  8 days ago

Wow I have never heard of this and what a unlikely friendship between a badger and coyote, but it works for them they even have their own rules in seems, the video was fascinating to watch thanks @donkeypong

·
72
  ·  8 days ago

Nature is really amazing. I would not have suspected this partnership either.

67
  ·  8 days ago

Wow, this is incredible! That is definitely not a pairing I would have suspected. As I mentioned in your first post on coyotes, I love learning about the wild things that live among us. This information definitely falls in TIL for me, and one of the cooler til's to date!

·
72
  ·  8 days ago

Yes, it surprised me when I first heard about this one also.

·
·
67
  ·  7 days ago

I love unlikely camaraderie between animals. I once watched a video about a polar bear playing with some huskies. The owner of the dogs had thought they were going to get killed, but instead the bear decided to 'hang out' with them instead.

69
  ·  8 days ago

Humans can learn much from animals. Instead of acting against each other we should pull on the same strand

·
72
  ·  8 days ago

That's certainly true. If you turn that into a post, send it to me and I'll upvote. ;)

·
·
69
  ·  8 days ago

I'll consider it. In the meantime I enjoy my new voting power :D

42
  ·  9 days ago

Don't people keep badgers as pets?

·
72
  ·  8 days ago

Good question. I don't know if people keep pet badgers.

60
  ·  8 days ago

Pretty cool relationship, nice to see animals working together although its bad news for the squirrels.

·
72
  ·  8 days ago

Yes, the squirrels have a rougher time if they can't go underground or stay above.

63
  ·  9 days ago

Great post. I didn't know about this relationship out nature. Makes me want to take a look and see what others unique partnerships are out there!

·
72
  ·  9 days ago

Yes, there are many other symbiotic relationships in nature, all of them fascinating!
post

·
·
63
  ·  9 days ago

I took a quick google search and apparently they think sloths and moths may have a symbiotic relationship as well!

The Strange Symbiosis Between Sloths and Moths

·
·
·
72
  ·  9 days ago

Wow, not only do their names rhyme...

63
  ·  8 days ago

Great cooperation. :) Amazing!

56
  ·  9 days ago

What interesting video, coyote and badger hunt together! Nice !

·
72
  ·  9 days ago

The pictures and articles alone didn't convince me, but the video did!

67
  ·  8 days ago

This is a very interesting post, thanks for sharing, I never knew these animals worked together like they do.

74
  ·  9 days ago

"Nature is quite amazing, isn’t it? There are many symbiotic relationships in the animal world"

^^ love this. Great writing friend and fantastic post. upped

56
  ·  8 days ago

They don't always get along.

52
  ·  8 days ago

An amazing story!

59
  ·  8 days ago

Cute and funny!

65
  ·  9 days ago

Nice post @donkeypong

40
  ·  8 days ago

Really interesting!!! Makes me think of I can't remember if it is crows or ravens that help wolves hunt sometimes. Also, the dog comparison made me laugh.

48
  ·  8 days ago

Hello verry intresting post !
I dont want to disturb you, but maybe you will like to support some positive project ?
@positive-trail
Happy steeming !

61
  ·  8 days ago

Very special man!! Love it!!

66
  ·  8 days ago

That is awesome, my neighbor usually gets rid of his badgers on his property so this probably won't happen to get rid of my gophers on my property. I trap a lot myself, since we have horses and they are a problem then. I'd love to see them handled naturally but I think most of the farmers around here kill the coyotes cause they kill their chickens. Leaving gopher havens.

65
  ·  7 days ago

So super cool and fun to read. I always loved your well written charming stories . This one made me laugh.
What did I learn today? I had no idea what a badger is lol. Where are you from?

61
  ·  4 days ago

Nice post! I resteemed!