Sunday, July 17, 2011

Arctonyx collaris

Arctonyx collaris (Pulusan)
Pulusan also called Pig Trunk. In English is called Hog Badger. One of the habitats found in the Gunung Leuser National Park in Aceh. That's all I know about this spisies.

Scientific Klasifikaksi: Kingdom: Animalia; Phylum: Chordata; Class: Mammalia; Order: Carnivore; Family: Mustelidae; Genus: Arctonyx; Species: A. collaris. Binomial name: Arctonyx collaris (Cuvier, 1825).

And recently, as I was driving slowly out of the forest enjoying the natural beauty along the way, I saw something on the roadside that forced me to pull over - a hog badger.

Through the pick-up truck's window I observed the creature for a while before I decided to reach for my camera on the other front seat. Unintentionally, I knocked on the horn and the honk blared through the forest's silence.

The photo opportunity was gone, I thought. But the badger was still there. It didn't even budge.

So named because of its pig-like snout, the hog badger is a nocturnal animal which feeds on roots, tubers, earthworms and insects which it digs up from the ground with its sharp claws.

To see this elusive species exposing itself to possible predators in broad daylight is strange enough, but to see it showing such complete indifference to humans is even more bizarre.

So I put down the camera and grabbed for my binoculars instead, to take a closer look at the badger. Perhaps an injury was the reason for such uncommon behaviour. But I saw no wounds or blood. In fact, the animal seemed to be sleeping comfortably, breathing in and out with a constant rhythm. Sometimes it stretched out its body and moved into a better position before falling back into slumber.

I took several pictures of the badger from the vantage point on the truck. Seeing that the animal still paid no attention to me I switched off the engine, got out of the vehicle and walked toward it as slowly and quietly as possible. A couple of metres before I could reach the badger, I stopped-it would be unwise to get any closer to the wild animal armed with such awesome claws.

Anyway, the hog badger was still fast asleep. And that made me doubt whether the animal was really okay. I felt I had to find out, because if the animal was sick I should take it to a park official for treatment.

So I threw a small rock near to the badger to see if it would wake up. No, it didn't.

Then I tried again by scratching the ground on its side with a stick. Still no reaction. I became more worried.

I scratched the ground again, this time the badger opened its eyes a little but immediately went back to sleep. As I made another scratch, the fellow moved its body as if annoyed but still didn't care to wake up. On my fourth scratching attempt, however, the badger finally, and slowly, got up on its feet and walked to a nearby tree under which it continued its afternoon nap.

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