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September 23, 2021, 07:05

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Press Service of the Moscow Zoo

Honey badgers are known for their courage. If something threatens their lives, they do not hesitate to attack. They can easily attack a lion, leopard and buffalo, they do not care about the poison of a cobra and a scorpion.

For the first time honey badgers appeared in the exposition of the Moscow Zoo. These are unique predators native to Africa and Asia. They are famous for their brave character, although they are small in size. No wonder the animals got into the Guinness Book of Records as the most fearless mammals in the world. Honey badgers have many names. They are also called bald and honey badgers, ratels, dog bears.

The zoo is now home to young male and female. They arrived in the capital from the Czech Republic. Both honey badgers survived the flight well. While the animals were in mandatory monthly quarantine, a dwelling was prepared for them. The aviary is located in the African Ungulates pavilion next to the giraffe, dik-wilds and meerkats. An outdoor area adjoins the inner premises, however, heat-loving animals will come out into the fresh air only by the end of spring, when the temperature reaches plus 20 degrees. The honey badgers have already moved to the updated aviary, and now everyone can admire them.

“These are real fidgets. So that they could throw out their irrepressible energy, we hung hollow logs and wooden houses in the aviary, and then hid the delicacies inside. In the process of such a hunt, honey badgers have to make a lot of effort, because they need to get the coveted piece, keeping their weight. The arrival of the honey badgers is an important event for our zoo. The number of these animals in the wild is steadily declining, the species is listed in the International Red Book. Various zoos and nurseries around the world are working to create a reserve population. We look forward to contributing to it. Hopefully, in the future, our new inhabitants will mate and produce offspring. Now they are inseparable, they eat and play together, ”said Svetlana Akulova, General Director of the Moscow Zoo.

Although honey badgers got their name in honor of their favorite delicacy – honey, they are still predatory animals whose diet should consist of meat. The menu includes beef, chicken, horse meat and lamb. They get carrots, pumpkins and apples as a beneficial supplement.

Honey badgers belong to the weasel family. Their habitat covers vast territories of Africa and Asia. In Africa, honey badgers are found in different parts of the world, with the exception of the tropical zone, from Morocco and Egypt to South Africa. In Asia, they were spotted on the Arabian Peninsula, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, India, Nepal, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Most often inhabited by steppes and sparse deciduous forests. The number of honey badgers in nature is decreasing due to the destruction of the natural habitat and poaching. The most serious damage was incurred by the population in the southern regions of Africa.

These animals can boast of a memorable appearance. Unlike their closest relatives, graceful and light martens, they have a strong and stocky physique, similar to that of a bear. This is where another of their names came from – the dog bear. The body length of the animals does not exceed 80 centimeters, the weight of an adult is approximately 12 kilograms. Thick, tough fur and thick skin protect against stings from bees, spiders, snakes and scorpions. Honey badgers are mostly covered with black hair, and their crown, back and tail are white. Badgers have a similar black and white color. The contrast between the lower part of the body and the upper part is so vivid that it seems as if a light raincoat with a hood was thrown over the animal. An extravagant outfit serves as a signal to other animals: don’t get close.

It’s really better to stay away from him. Honey badgers are brave, unpredictable and wayward. They are not afraid of large and dangerous animals, including lions, leopards, cows and buffaloes. If something threatens the honey badger’s life, he will rush into battle without hesitation, even if the strength and size of the opponent is many times greater than his own. Anyone who encroaches on his property is not good at it. The brave animal has an effective weapon in its arsenal. He, like a skunk, knows how to emit a fetid secret. Only if the skunk does this when defending himself, then the honey badger himself attacks his offender. Because of their impressive fighting qualities, these animals are often compared to wolverines, also representatives of weasels. The Guinness Book of Records in its 1998-2003 editions proclaimed the honey badger the most fearless mammal in the world. And Kenyan hunters believed that if you eat the heart of this predator, you can feel as brave and invincible as he is.

Honey badgers are most active at dusk, but they can stay awake during the day. From the suffocating heat, they prefer to hide in their burrows. They are skilled hunters, not only rodents, but also larger animals become their prey. Insects, larvae, birds and bird eggs can also be food for honey badgers. They easily hunt poisonous cobras and scorpions. When the poison enters the body, the animal loses orientation, but after a few minutes or hours comes to its senses.

The life expectancy of honey badgers in nature is unknown; in captivity, they live up to 26 years.

This fall, the collection of the Moscow Zoo was supplemented with one more rare animal. Anteaters settled here for the first time in the history of the zoo. Now the exposition presents tamandua, or, as they are also called, four-toed anteaters. Male Pancho already can see in the pavilion “House of Primates”, and the female Lola is still in quarantine.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and or sentence structure not be perfect.

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