Unlikely Interspecies-Friendship: The Odd Couple Of A Fox & Badger

Of late date, the Internet appears wildly attracted to stories and videos about "interspecies friendships" between two or more animals. I personally can't count the number of blogs I've written about this topic. Some have entailed a puppy and pigeon, a cow running with bison, a cheetah and puppy, a lion, tiger and bear (oh my!), and a Mother Goose coming to the rescue of an orphaned pooch — just to name just a few.

Here is a new one from Atlas Obscura you might not have read about or seen on video.

Atlas Obscura

Neal Sharma is the wildlife program manager at the Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST), an organization that released a short video shot under a highway near the southern part of California’s Santa Cruz Mountains. It poignantly demonstrates how an odd couple like a coyote and a badger could actually become pals.

Sharma was speechless when he came upon them end noted: “The playful body language of the coyote first got my attention. But when the badger snout entered the frame, it blew me away.”


Atlas Obscura

According to the NY Times Best Seller Atlas Obscura who posted this video, "sometimes badgers and coyotes team up when hunting, in a symbiotic relationship that seems straight out of a children's book."

Out on the prairie, both species hunt ground squirrel. However, when collaborating their efforts: "coyotes search, stalk, chase, and pounce, while badgers “are basically backhoes,” says evolutionary biologist Marc Bekoff, professor emeritus at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

In other words, while you may think these two species are competitors, offering their shared skilled sets when hunting actually makes it beneficial for both parties.


While biologists consider these partnerships to be provisional and hunting-related, in 2016, Kimberly Fraser of the National Black-Footed Ferret Conservation Center in Colorado observed a coyote and badger that simply seemed “happy to be together. They’d rush forward to greet each other, sun themselves right next to each other, explore, and travel side by side.”

So, I like to think of this interspecies-friendship as a comforting children's book, and similar to how nationalities of the human race become friends and are accepting of global partnerships that are committed to cooperation and compromise.


The truth about cats and dogs—and other interspecies pairings—is that unlikely friendships can and do develop in nature. This photo was provided by Grahm S. Jones, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.


Unlikely Interspecies-Friendship: The Odd Couple Of A Fox & Badger

I will be exploring other interspecies-friendships over time. But if you find one that sounds interesting, please don't hesitate to make note in the comments below.

Primary Source: Atlas Obscura