On a purely surface level, the American badger is quite the mysterious omnivorous mammal. For one thing, it buries carcasses — very large carcasses — that will later serve as a major source of food.
This is actually a recent development on the American badger science front. The Guardian reports that the critter was caught burying a dead calf on camera, and it worked day and night to finish the tedious task.
Seven dead cows were hauled to Utah's Grassy Mountains last year so researchers could study scavenger life.
"I was expecting we were going to get a lot of vultures and maybe some eagles and coyotes and different things," Evan Buechley, a doctoral candidate at the University of Utah and co-author of the study, said to The Guardian. "Then this badger stole the show."
In the video above, the badger can be observed digging around the dead body, until it collapses into the ground. Afterward, the badger throws dirt on top of the cow until it's completely invisible. Finally, it sits on top of the mound and stares into the camera.
"I was really shocked and amazed, and really excited,” Buechley said to The Guardian. According to Buechley, the badger buried its meal "so it inhibits decomposition."
Additionally, another badger exhibited similar behavior with a different cow carcass — meaning it wasn't a singular, "one-off" action, Buechley said. The event was published in the Western North American Naturalist.
Looks like we still have a lot to learn about badgers.
Banner and thumbnail credit: Flickr, Ed Bierman