PALO ALTO (KPIX 5) — Researchers studying how animals travel at night recently spotted some footage of a unique pair playing together in a South Bay tunnel.
It was during the normal review of the video when researchers saw something they had not expected. In the Coyote Valley south of San Jose, the Peninsula Open Space Trust is studying how animals travel at night.
There are 50 game cameras hidden around and under highways. In this particular clip, infrared night video records a coyote about to cross under one road when it suddenly stops, bounds in the air happily and wags its tail as a badger appears.
Peninsula Open Space Trust Wildlife Linkages Manager Neal Sharma says coyotes and badgers are known to team up and hunt together.
“Badgers like to dig, and they like to dig fast. So there is footage out there of a badger flushing a ground squirrel nest and getting a ground squirrel of it’s own. But there’s another ground squirrel that comes out another entrance to the den, and the coyote nabs that one.”
The scene was almost like something one would see in a Disney movie. Different predator species not just getting along, but playing. Another video shows a full grown buck moving under a freeway, not paying any attention to the roar of traffic just above his head.
“One by one, spot by spot, using these cameras and the road kill surveys, working with our research team Pathways for Wildlife, we’re getting a really good perspective of the wildlife dynamics and interactions with the roadways,” explained Sharma.
The group is only a year and a half into the planned three-year study, but so far the cameras are showing a great deal of movement at night and providing a great deal of useful information.
The data is expected to help shape future urban planning decisions.