As a field biologist, I spend a lot of time outside when I am trapping and observing small mammals and interactions between Pacific pocket mice and the other rodents they share their habitat with (see A Night with the Pocket Mouse Field Crew). As a bonus, I get to see a lot of other creatures that are around: bobcats, foxes, snakes, and tarantulas! I have some camera traps out to catch images of some of these guys. Camera traps are triggered by movement and have an infrared camera and lights to take pictures and videos of animals during both the daytime and at night. It can be a great way to learn about species that are difficult to observe.
I recently caught this great video of a badger following a coyote down a road. Did you know that these two species often hunt together? I had heard of this relationship but never witnessed it, personally or remotely! Together, they both cooperate and compete for their food, which is often small, burrowing mammals such as ground squirrels or prairie dogs. Coyotes are great at chasing and catching prey above ground, while badgers are excellent diggers and can get to the prey when it is hiding in its burrow. Sometimes a digging badger will scare the ground squirrel up, where the coyote can chase it and catch it. Other times a coyote might chase a prairie dog into a burrow, where the badger can quickly dig it out. They don’t share what they catch, but each has a better chance of getting a meal when they are together than when they are alone.
While I don’t know if this pair was successful in catching any ground squirrels this day they were out, it was really exciting to get a video of them heading out to hunt together!
Rachel Chock is a graduate student and volunteer with San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research’s Pacific pocket mouse project.