The Niabi Zoo in Coal Valley (near Rock Island) warns the public not to approach them because, well, they're badgers.

Why wouldn't someone feel safe approaching one or both of these cute, fuzzy, obviously friendly creatures...

fotostock, Getty Images

Oh. Right. I see their point now.

From the Quad City Times:

The badgers are native to this region and pose no risks to people, domestic animals or the environment, according to a news release from the zoo.

The zoo has a thorough protocol in place to recover animals and is taking steps to bring the badgers home. Zoo officials ask the public not to search for the badgers. If they encounter a badger, they should not try to touch or capture the animal, but call the zoo at 309-799-3482.

The zoo isn't saying exactly how the escape happened (think Papillon), and although the pair escaped on October 4th, the zoo only made the public aware on October 10th. The Niabi Zoo does feel pretty positive about the chances of reacquiring them:

“We’re confident the two badgers will be recovered,” said zoo director Lee Jackson. “Badgers will only behave aggressively if cornered, so we ask that no one attempts to capture a badger.”

Badgers are best-known for their digging skills and ability to burrow into compact dirt. The solitary animals are most active at night.

There are no distinguishable markings on the badgers that were in the zoo. The pair are fully immunized and chipped.