Scribblings Resurrection

The Badgers of Basra

Saturday, 14 July 2007

Honey Badger or Ratel

I love the story which has surfaced on the BBC News site about the British Army allegedly releasing a swarm of savage badgers1 into the city of Basra in Iraq.

Despite the head of Basra’s veterinary hospital, Mushtaq Abdul-Mahdi, pointing out that the badgers had first appeared in 1986 some people still prefer to believe they were released by the British. Suad Hassan, a local woman, said that one of the badgers had attacked her while she was asleep. She told the AFP news agency “My husband hurried to shoot it but it was as swift as a deer. It is the size of a dog but his head is like a monkey.”

What I really like about the story though is that the British Army in Basra has felt the need to issue a denial. Major Mike Shearer said “We can categorically state that we have not released man-eating badgers into the area”. For some reason I find it hard to imagine the major saying that with a straight face.

Update (14 July 2007, 13:10)

There’s a bit more on this story on The Times site. Sattar Jabbar, a farmer, said that he’d seen a badger attacking animals much larger than itself including a cow which the badger is said to have torn up piece by piece and then eaten. Mr Jabbar said that he tried to shoot the badger but he missed and it ran away into the orchards.


1 These badgers are not the same as the black & white striped animals found in the UK. They are a related species known as the Honey Badger or Ratel.

Posted 14 July 2007, 12:13 BST