Fearless fighters and sweet tooth: Honey badgers move in the Moscow Zoo

September 27
Parks and pedestrian areas

For the first time, Honey badgers appeared in the Moscow Zoo. These unique predators originate from Africa and Asia. They are famous for their brave character, even though they are small. Not without reason these animals are listed in the Guinness World Records as the most fearless mammals in the world. They are known by many names: bald badgers, ratels, Mellivora capensis, dog bear.

A young male and female now live in the zoo. They came from the Czech Republic. Both honey badgers coped well with the flight. While the animals were under mandatory one-month quarantine, a home was prepared for them. The enclosure is located in the Hoofed of Africa pavilion next to the giraffe, dik-diks, and meerkats. An outdoor area adjoins the indoor room, but the heat-loving animals will only come out into the fresh air by the end of spring, when temperatures reach plus 20 degrees. The honey badgers have already moved into the renovated enclosures, and now everyone can admire them.

“They are real fidgets. To allow them to release their irrepressible energy, we hung hollow logs and wooden houses in the enclosure, and then hid treats inside. During this hunt, honey badgers put a lot of effort, because they have to get their honey pot, keeping suspended. The arrival of honey badgers is an important event for our zoo. The number of these animals in the wild is steadily declining, and the species is included the International Red Book of Threatened Species. Various zoos and nurseries around the world are working to create a reserve population. We are looking forward to contributing to it. We hope that in the future, our new residents will form a pair and breed. Now they are already inseparable, eating and playing together," said Svetlana Akulova, General Director of the Moscow Zoo.

Although honey badgers get their name after their favourite delicacy, honey, they are still carnivores, whose diet must consist of meat. The menu includes beef, chicken, horse meat and lamb. They get carrots, pumpkin and apples as a nutritional supplement.

Honey badgers belong to the Mustelidae family. Their habitat covers vast areas of Africa and Asia. In Africa, honey badgers are found in many places other than the tropical zone, from Morocco and Egypt to South Africa. In Asia, they have been seen in the Arabian Peninsula, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, India, Nepal, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. Most often inhabits are heaths and sparse deciduous forests. The number of honey badgers in the wild is declining because of destruction of natural habitat and poaching. The population in southern Africa suffered the most serious damage.

These animals have a memorable appearance. Unlike their closest siblings, the graceful and lightweight martens, they have a strong and stocky physique similar to that of bears. From this came another of their names, the dog bear. The body length does not exceed 80 centimeters, and the weight of an adult is about 12 kilograms. Dense, tough fur and thick skin protect against stings of bees, spiders, snakes and scorpions. Honey badgers are mostly covered with black fur, while their top, back, and tail are white. Badgers have a similar black and white coloration. The contrast between the lower part of the body and the upper part is so striking that it seems as if a light-colored cloak with a hood was thrown over the animal. The extravagant outfit serves as a signal to other animals: don't come close.

It's really better to stay away from them. Honey badgers are courageous, unpredictable, and capricious. They are not afraid of large and dangerous animals, including lions, leopards, cows and buffalos. If a honey badger's life is threatened, he will immediately rush into battle, even if the strength and size of the opponent is several times greater than its own. Whoever trespasses on its possessions will be in trouble. The brave animal has an effective weapon in its arsenal. It, like a skunk, can emit a stinky secret. Although a skunk behaves this way when defending itself, a honey badger attacks its attacker on its own. Because of their impressive fighting qualities, these animals are often compared to the wolverine, also a member of the Mustelidae family. The Guinness World Records, in its 1998-2003 editions, proclaimed the honey badger as the world's most fearless mammal. And Kenyan hunters believed that if you ate the heart of this predator, you could feel as brave and invincible as it.

Honey badgers are most active at dusk, but can also be awake during the day. They prefer to hide from the stifling heat in their burrows. They are skilled hunters, their prey are not only rodents, but also larger animals. Honey badger food can also be insects, larvae, birds and bird eggs. They easily hunt poisonous cobras and scorpions. When the poison enters the body, the animal becomes disoriented, but recovers in a few minutes or hours.

The lifespan of honey badgers in the wild is unknown, in captivity they live up to 26 years.

This fall, the Moscow Zoo's collection was enriched by another rare animal. For the first time in the history of the zoo, anteaters settled here. Now the zoo's exposition presents tamandua also called collared or four-toed anteater. The male called Pancho is already in the House of Primates pavilion, while the female Lola is still in quarantine.

Source: mos.ru

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