A big animal jumped out of the grass while a crew of firemen fought back flames in Ipueiras, Brazil, on Friday.
The anteater, a southern tamandua, attempted to flee the blazing bushes but was unable to do so. The anteater was soon engulfed in flames, and the firefighters realized they needed to act quickly to save the animal.
When the anteater came to a halt and got up on his hind legs, the firefighters began to pursue him.
He threw his arms out wide as if surrendering, a stance known as the “anteater’s hug.”
“He was worried, and I guess he felt threatened,” Lieutenant Dutra, a member of the Ceará Military Fire Department, told The Dodo. “He halted, rose up, and made a movement as if to make himself bigger so that we were fearful of him.”
Anteaters have powerful limbs and claws, which they employ to rip termite nests apart and protect themselves from predators. When an anteater feels threatened, he may be dangerous despite his limited vision and hearing.
The firemen, who are skilled in animal rescue and removal, decided that saving the anteater was worth the risk.