Saturday, May 30, 2015

Red in Tooth and Claw

They're pretty cute right? American badgers? Lookit those cute little dirty faces. So innocent, so sweet. Or not.  The first time I saw the male, he was running along with a rabbit he had just killed. Well yeah, nature. Gotta eat, gotta feed those baby badgers. Watched him head to his burrow and then got lucky enough to see both male and female pop their heads out of the burrow. (excuse me, cute!)
A few days later, I saw the male throwing something around (violently, really violently. so violent.) in his mouth. I jumped out of the truck to see what was happening and noticed it was ANOTHER BADGER in his mouth. Brutal. It was about half the size of the adult male (who was pretty hefty himself). After he dropped it, we went to check it out.  It was a female who was very dead with badger bite marks all over her. She was a young female, and I am wondering if this was a case of infanticide. I found a link to an article about infanticide and cannibalism in american badgers, but don't have access to my Web of Science account right now, so I'll have to read it later.
This was probably a once in a lifetime thing to see, and as a biologist, I can very much appreciate witnessing this gruesome act of nature, and it was pretty cool (yet disturbing),  but as the overly emotional nutcase that I am, it was a little rough and obviously, there were some tears on my end.   The dead badger wasn't there in the morning and I'm guessing the male came back for her (ate her?? Oye.) (Top to bottom: male and female; female after digging; sneaky male; male with rabbit he had killed; the culprit before the storm)

1 comment:

Janie said...

I've only seen a badger once, and I've always thought they were cute. Maybe not so much, after hearing about the infanticide or whatever it was. Kinda sad.