In 1831, an Australian settler named George Fletcher Moore chased a strange animal through a west Australian woodland. It was small and reddish-brown, with white stripes across its hindquarters, a pointed muzzle, and a long bushy tail.
Humans have always feared animals that roamed the dark. Anything that conducts its business after sundown must surely be malevolent in nature. Bats, in particular, have been held in very low esteem for centuries, especially in the western world. In the realms of human imagination, bats are often little more than creatures of evil, associated with the deepest night and devilish goings-on.
Deep in the dense tropical rainforests of the northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo in Central Africa, there lurks a very curious creature. With its long legs and predominantly dark brown coat of short fur, it looks, at first glance, a bit like a horse, though a second look will reveal a somewhat deer-like face atop a relatively long, flexible neck, and, most strikingly, horizontal white stripes on its upper legs and rump.
Today is National Badger Day – the perfect time to celebrate the UK’s largest living land carnivore. But although most people have a strong affection for this bumbling black-and-white creature, the badger is probably Britain’s most controversial mammal, commonly hitting the headlines – and almost always for the wrong reasons.