Category: North American Mammals
Facts about Honey Badger, The Honey Badger is a member of the weasel family. The Honey Badger received its name for its common habit of going after bee hives for food.
"Scientific name for the Honey Badger is mellivora capensis". The Honey Badger is the only member of the genus Mellivora; it is closely related to the weasel or marten subfamily but has its own subfamily. The Honey Badger's closest relatives are the extinct members of the Eomellivora family.
It is called the ratel in several local languages.
Appearance of Honey Badger
Honey Badgers average three to four feet in length and weigh around thirty pounds. The Honey Badger has inch and a half long claws on its feet. The Honey Badger also has very prominent, razor sharp teeth. Honey Badgers have small heads and a short muzzle and their ears are small.
The Honey Badger has quarter inch thick skin that is rather loose on the body. If something bites the Honey Badger, it has enough strength to turn and bite or slice at it.
Honey Badgers are mostly solitary animals. They are nocturnal during the summer. Honey Badgers are diurnal during the winter. When they live near humans, they tend to be nocturnal year round.
Physical Description of Honey Badger
The Honey Badger has black fur on the stomach, face, and legs but white on its back. They look a little like a skunk with a much wider stripe, but skunks try to avoid humans unless rabid, whereas a honey badger is prone to attack the human. There are a dozen subspecies of Honey Badgers, each distinguished by how white or grey the back stripe is and its size. The black ratel in Ghana is entirely black, whereas others have narrow white stripes on the spine or grey across the entire back.
Honey Badgers have been known to attack buffalo, wildebeest, and boars for food. They’ll attack snakes, whether to steal its prey or eat the snake. It depends on its mood. The Honey Badger will eat young foxes, jackals, wild cats, and antelope if they can catch it. Honey Badgers will attack lions, jackals, and other predators to drive them off. Honey Badgers will eat spiders, scorpions, bird eggs, and bee larvae. This is how it got its English name – observers thought it wanted the honey, not realizing it was after the larva. The Honey Badger simply shoves its head into the hive and eats. Those living in the desert will eat melons to get water, but they get most of their water from their diets.
The Honey Badger can release a foul smelling liquid from its glands, but the odor doesn’t last as long as a skunk’s.
Habitat of Honey Badger
The Honey Badger has no predators. This is unusual given that other animals their size are eaten by lions, cheetahs, snakes, and so forth. Honey Badgers are partially immune to snake venom.
The Honey Badger ranges from Africa to Southeast Asia to India. Its wide range and virtual immunity to predation means it is not of concern by the IUCN.
They are wide ranging animals, documented to cover as much as 20 miles in a single day. They can climb trees and dig in the dirt.
Trivia about Honey Badger
In South Africa, they will say that someone is as tough as a Honey Badger which means they don’t put up with anything and they are fearless. This is why the South African Army’s infantry fighting vehicle is named the Honey Badger.
The Honey Badger has been seen attacking predators by attacking their genitals.
Image By Peter Trimming (Flickr: 'Honey') [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)]