Last Friday, while agents of the Ceará Military Fire Department were controlling a fire in Ipueiras, Brazil, they were surprised by the presence of a terrified anteater.
The animal was trying to escape from the fire by moving away from the smoldering bushes, but it was not quick, and in a very short time the anteater was surrounded by flames.
The firefighters knew they had to act fast to help the frightened animal, and decided to follow. When the bear finally stopped, it stood up on its two hind legs and raised its front legs in a totally surprising gesture.
After the terrified animal opened its front paws as if to surrender it stood still, and when it saw that the fireman was doing nothing to it, it got back on all fours and continued to run away.
When the fireman shrieked again, the bear resumed its motionless pose. Then it moved out of the way and started climbing up a tree.
“It was scared and I think it felt threatened because it stopped, stood up on its paws and made a movement as if to make itself bigger so that we would be afraid of it,” said Lieutenant Dutra, a member of the Ceará Military Fire Department.
The position adopted by the mammal is known as the “anteater hug”, and can be clearly seen in the video recorded by the firefighters, below:
These animals have very strong paws and claws that they use to invade termite nests and defend themselves from predators. Although anteaters do not have good vision and hearing, when they feel threatened they can be dangerous.
According to veterinarians and animal behaviorists, they stretch their front paws when they feel threatened to appear larger and when they are about to attack.
But we can’t deny that the anteater’s gesture may seem somewhat amusing to most people, who compared it to that of a guilty person who has been captured.
Fortunately, firefighters are trained to perform such rescues and had no doubt that following him was the right thing to do to get him to safety.
“We left it in a place similar to where we found it, so that it would have water and food available,” added Inspector Dutra.
In a statement, the firefighters assured that the animal was successfully rescued and released into its natural habitat:
Un oso hormiguero se queda inmóvil y con las patas en alto al encontrarse con unos bomberos en un incendio. El animal estaba huyendo cuando un oficial le chistó, momento en el que se paró en seco. Fue rescatado y el incendio fue extinguido: https://t.co/L9EODlyPAe pic.twitter.com/d5YPRwUmGy
— 20minutos.es (@20m) October 9, 2020
They also reported that the fire in the northeastern state of Ceará was extinguished the following day.
Share the story of this anteater, which luckily was able to change its fate thanks to firefighters being able to capture and release it unharmed in a nearby safe area.