From bad to worse in Iraq: Man-eating badgers.

The Fearsome Ratel: Sure, it isn't giant, and it's not eating a person, but you try doing that to a snake. Man, those mustelids are something else. (photo from Wikipedia commons)
The Fearsome Ratel: Sure, it isn't giant, and it's not eating a person, but you try doing that to a snake. Man, those mustelids are something else. (photo from Wikipedia commons)
Sometimes things happen in the real world that are so cool that my imagination just has to sit down in the corner and pout with jealousy.

Rumors have been spreading in the Iraqi port city of Basra that giant, man-eating badgers have begun to stalk the city at night. Many believe that British military forces stationed in the area released the creatures. A spokesman for the British forces said this: “We can categorically state that we have not released man-eating badgers into the area.”

Iraqi scientists believe that the offending creatures are much more likely to be a type of Honey Badger, or Ratel, than a genetically engineered weapon of the Brits. However, the badgers are reported to have killed livestock on the outskirts of the city, and even to have attacked some humans, and many insist that these incidents began only after the invasion of Iraq in 2003, and so the rumors are dying hard.

Ratels are in fact native to the region, but are nocturnal and generally avoid humans. They are also fearsome hunters, with prey ranging from earthworms to small crocodiles, and have been known to attack animals much larger than themselves.

Also, Wikipedia’s entry on Ratels includes this statement: “Several African tribes report that the honey badger attacks the scrotum of larger mammals if provoked and has even castrated humans.” This is an unsourced claim, but it’s one of those things where I’d just as soon err on the side of safety with Ratels. At the very least, one can’t blame the people of Basra for getting a little jumpy around them.

Night of the Killer Badgers

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

Liza's picture
Liza says:

My brother Michael and I have an intense interest in all things cryptozoological. And since Michael is serving with the 82nd Airborne in Iraq, this story captured our interest when it came out last week.

He's definitely going to be on the lookout for cow-eating badgers while on patrol. And keeping the junk covered up, if you know what I mean.

But overall, we've decided that badger hysteria is a good thing. It means that the people of Iraq, bombings and beheadings notwithstanding, are still able to worry about stuff like this. :)

posted on Mon, 07/16/2007 - 10:18am
Thor's picture
Thor says:

I'm not sure, but hasn't our president gone on record as saying that if we don't fight the Ratels in Iraq, we'll end up having to fight them here in America?

posted on Mon, 07/16/2007 - 3:18pm
shanai's picture
shanai says:

I think I've just found my spirit animal.

posted on Tue, 07/17/2007 - 11:44am
Hannah's picture
Hannah says:

what is a spirit animal?!?!?!?!?!?! I want to know does this mean they are lucky or have like a different sense to thiem...

posted on Tue, 07/17/2007 - 1:13pm
shanai's picture
shanai says:

Good question Hannah! the term 'spirit animal' or 'power animal' sometimes refers to a religious or spiritual belief that human beings can get power from animal spirits. Here is a wikipedia article if you want to learn more about how some cultures refer to animals and other totems.

To me spirit animal just means an animal that a person identifies with, like a mascot, I guess. I choose the Ratel because it is nocturnal and generally avoids humans. The Platypus is also appropriate, because its so strange.

I don't believe that they are lucky.

posted on Tue, 07/17/2007 - 1:47pm
braunbear's picture
braunbear says:


posted on Wed, 07/25/2007 - 2:58pm
bryan kennedy's picture

Nope, that's a ratel in the picture. You are right that a wolverine (picture) does look pretty similar and they are fierce little guys though. Go Michigan!

posted on Thu, 07/26/2007 - 9:44am
Gene's picture
Gene says:

As a resident of Lansing, capitol of Michigan, I have to say:

1) Wolverines, far from "prolific," are virtually unknown here. One was spotted in 2004. Before that, none had been seen around here for some 200 years.

2) Go STATE!

posted on Thu, 07/26/2007 - 1:42pm

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