The animal kingdom has been baffling humans since the dawn of time. Whether it’s unlikely friendships or impressive hunting techniques, wildlife never ceases to amaze us! Today we’re going to dive into the unique bond between coyotes and badgers, and why these two creatures hunt together!
Both are cunning carnivores, so it stands to reason that they would be adversaries or at the very least stay away from one another given how frequently they hunt the same animals in the same plains. Coyotes and badgers have a long-standing agreement that demonstrates why it can be advantageous for enemies to cooperate, even though they don’t always get along.
But why on earth would these predators team up? They are not known to split the spoils when one of them ultimately succeeds in catching something. What’s the point then?
Teamwork Makes the Dream Work
Increasing the chances that at least one of the critters will catch some prey appears to be the goal. The alliance seems to benefit both species over time, even if it means that one goes away empty-handed.
Each hunter in the group possesses a unique set of abilities. Coyotes are adept at pursuing prey across a wide prairie because of their agility and quickness. Badgers have evolved to hunt small animals in underground tunnel systems, thus they are slower and less agile runners than coyotes, but they are superior diggers.
Hence, badgers typically dredge up prairie dogs or ground squirrels when they go hunting on their own, while coyotes pursue and attack. The rodents, therefore, employ various tactics depending on the type of predator pursuing them: They frequently elude a digging badger by emerging from their burrows and racing aboveground, while avoiding coyotes by returning to their burrows.
But when badgers and coyotes cooperate, they utilize these abilities to hunt more successfully than either could do on its own. When it comes to underground chases, badgers take the lead from coyotes. Despite the possibility that just one gets a meal, research indicates that both hunters gain from the cooperation.
Frenemies in Nature
Coyotes and badgers don’t always get along, though. While most of their interactions seem to be helpful to both of them or neutral. Ecology Online observes that they occasionally prey on one another.
According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), the two species have come to have a form of open relationship because they frequently cooperate throughout the summer and then wander apart as winter approaches.
But once winter inevitably gives way to spring, these two hunters might find themselves in need of one another once more. They’ll come to an understanding, accept one another’s differences, and resume their job as they have for thousands of years.
Take a look at the unlikely duo hunting below!
The photo featured at the top of this post is © Dennis Laughlin/Shutterstock.com
Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.