Badger buries entire cow

In January 2016, Evan Buechley found one of his carcasses in Utah’s Great Basin had disappeared.

The conservation biologist, who leaves animal corpses out in the desert and sets up cameras to record scavengers, figured a pack of coyotes had dragged the 50-pound calf away.But after a short search yielded no sign of the carcass, Buechley downloaded the camera’s images to see if he could find some clues.What he saw, no one had ever seen before.Over the course of five days, the photos reveal, a single American badger excavated tunnels beneath the calf carcass until the whole thing collapsed into a pit. The badger then covered the carcass completely and constructed a burrow beside it, inside which it feasted on beef for 11 straight daysLater investigation into the scientific literature revealed no one had ever recorded a badger entomb anything larger than a jackrabbit.Found throughout the United States, southern Canada, and northern Mexico, American badgers are known for creating underground food lockers called caches. Such stores keep food safe from competing scavengers and prevent decomposition, thanks to the earth’s natural coolness.Similarly, the corgi-size creatures, which are related to weasels and wolverines, have a number of adaptations that allow them to dig like nobody’s business.For starters, badgers have powerful, heavily muscled forelimbs and long rakes for claws, which allow them to rip through hard, compact dirt. Their heads are cone-shaped, perfect for a life spent scooting around in tunnels. The burrowers also sport a third eyelid, called a nictitating membrane, which helps keep dirt from getting in their eyes.But for all their burying prowess, no one has ever seen a badger tuck away such a large carcass, not to mention one more than two times its weight.

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