As wildfires continue to devastate many areas, firefighters have been hard at work battling the flames—and helping the victims in their path.
That includes many animals, many of whom have been left scared and burned as their habitats and homes have been destroyed. Luckily in many cases rescuers have been able to save them.
But one rescue has really caught the internet’s attention, thanks to the unexpected behavior of one anteater.
The story comes from Ipueiras, Brazil, which recently faced forest fires. Firefighters responded to the scene, trying to save the animals displaced by the flames.
One of those animals was a southern tamandua anteater, running away in a frightened hurry.
Seeing how terrified the possum was in the burning forest area, naturally the firefighters followed to rescue it.
But then, the possum stopped and did something unexpected: he stood up on his hind legs and raised his arms.
While it does appear the anteater is embracing the firefighters, surrendering to their rescue, it’s actually quite the opposite.
The anteater was actually in a defensive stance known as the “anteater hug,” trying to make himself bigger and more intimidating.
But it made the firefighters realize how scared the anteater was.
“He was scared and I think he felt threatened because he stopped, stood up and made a movement as if to make himself bigger so that we were afraid of him,” Lieutenant Dutra of the Ceará Military Fire Department told The Dodo.
And, despite the anteater’s defensiveness, the firefighters were still able to successfully save him from the forest fire, relocating him to a safer location.
“We left him in a location … similar to where we found him, so that he will have water and food available,” Dutra said.
Watch the video below:
What an interesting video! It’s fascinating animal behavior — and shows how scared animals are in situations like this.
Thank you to these firefighters for saving this anteater! Share this story!