Clearly the British army has to do more to win the hearts and minds of folks in Basra.
After all the Badger is a member of the same family as the weasel .
"We can categorically state that we have not released man-eating badgers into the area," said British military spokesman Major Mike Shearer.
To make it crystal, another spokesman added: "We have not released giant badgers in Basra and nor have we been collecting eggs and releasing serpents into the Shatt al-Arab river."
Rumours abound among people in the southern Iraqi city that British troops based in the area since 2003 introduced bear-like beasts, with large fangs and claws and a penchant for human flesh, to sow panic.
But despite the fantastic rumours spreading through Basra about the origins of the animals, they have been identified by local vets as the honey badger.
Mushtaq Abdul-Mahdi, director of Basra's veterinary hospital, has inspected the corpses of several dead badgers and has tried to reassure his fellow citizens that the badgers are not a new post-war arrival in the region.
"These animals appeared before the fall of the regime in 1986. They are known as Al-Ghirayri and locally as Al-Girta," he said. "Talk that this animal was brought by the British forces is incorrect and unscientific."
The honey badger, or ratel, is known as a brave predator capable of killing a cobra. It weighs up to 14 kilos and is not known to kill humans and drag them away to its lair.
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