Y'all. I cannot stop watching this video. The Peninsula Open Space Trust's (POST) wildlife cameras recently captured the cutest unlikely animal friend pair: a coyote and a badger, hanging out together in the San Francisco Bay Area. They posted the video to Twitter, where it proceeded to go completely viral and warm the hearts of everyone on the internet.
"This is the best thing you'll see all day!" their tweet reads. They were not exaggerating. In the video, a coyote can be seen excitedly waiting at the mouth of a tunnel for an off-screen friend. It's hopping around, clearly super happy to see its friend. Then, a little badger waddles on screen, and the two of them set off on their nighttime hunting adventure. Everything about it is perfect.
The little hop! The tail wag! The look back for his badger friend! And then the adorable trot and his badger bud waddling right behind him. I can't take it! It's too adorable. The video, which was posted by POST and also by videographer Russ McSpadden, has amassed over 17 million views and countless comments in just about two days.
People are in love. And it's hard not to be! Coyotes are usually viewed as dangerous; if you spot one in real life, you should be cautious. We rarely ever see the playful side of these amazing animals. The fact that this coyote is friends with a badger is next-level. The coyote was so excited to see his badger friend, and people can't help but stan.
Apparently, while this was the first time this behavior was captured in the San Francisco area, it's not all that uncommon for coyotes and badgers to be pals. They hunt the same sorts of prey and each has certain skills that benefit the other.
In an Open Spaces post from 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service explains that coyotes and badgers are known to hunt together and can be even more successful when they work together. They both hunt prairie dogs and ground-squirrels, so why not double their efforts to double the reward?
The post reads, "Studies have shown that this unusual relationship is beneficial for both species. The coyote can chase down prey if it runs and the badger can dig after prey if it heads underground into its burrow systems.
"Each partner in this unlikely duo brings a skill the other one lacks. Together they are both faster and better diggers than the burrowing rodents they hunt."
I never thought I'd say this about mutually beneficial hunting practices, but, "Awwwwwwww." And I am certainly not alone in having that reaction.
People all over the internet absolutely fell in love with this pair of nocturnal hunters. I wasn't kidding when I said I can't stop watching the video. I literally cannot. It's too cute. I've probably seen it 50 times at this point.
But the coyote-badger duo — or as I've been calling them, Captain and Tennille — aren't the only adorable woodland creatures wildlife cameras have captured in that area. In a post on POST's blog, marketing manager Matt Dolkas shares clips of mischievous raccoons, a gorgeous buck, a slinky bobcat, and one very silly skunk.
Neal Sharma, POST's Wildlife Linkages Program Manager, says, "Our project is focused on identifying the swaths of habitat that wildlife are using to navigate to these undercrossing features and also to learn whether there are locations where there are concentrations of wildlife-vehicle collisions,” he says. “These are important dynamics to understand so that regional conservation efforts can take them into account.”
Neal says the goal of this project is "for our region to be a place where wildlife can move, adapt, and thrive in the face of a changing landscape and climate.” He emphasizes that this work is more important than ever due to the effects of climate change. "Wildlife need to be able to locate the resources they need for survival, now and into the future," he says.
This work is extremely important. But while POST is off doing important things, the rest of us will be over here planning a buddy-cop animal movie starring a coyote and a badger, probably called something like, The Adventures of Kai and Boomer. Ooh, that's good. Someone write that down.