Honey Badger

Category: Wildlife

Honey badgers are famously tenacious members of the Mustelid family, which includes badgers, weasels, otters, and the wolverine. Honey badgers are found in Africa, Southwest Asia, and India.

Honey Badger

Honey Badger

Scientific & Common Names

Class: Mammal
Order: Carnivora
Family: Mustelidae
Subfamily: Mellivorinae
Genera: Mellivora
Species: M. capensis
Common Names: Honey Badger, Ratel

Characteristics

Honey badgers have mostly black fur on their bodies, with a broad white patch running from head to tail. It is a stocky creature with very loose skin which is also incredibly thick. This adaptation allows them a superior maneuverability and resistance to attacks from the teeth and claws of predators.

Breeding

Clouded leopards reach maturity just after two years of age. They mate between December and March, and the gestation period lasts nearly 100 days, after which a litter of one to five cubs is born.

The young are born blind, and do not open their eyes until around 10 days after birth. They are cared for by their mother until around 10 months of age, at which point they become independent and go off on their own.

Behavior

Honey Badgers have a reputation for being fearless and incredibly tough. Their thick skin is extremely difficult to penetrate, and even porcupine quills have trouble getting through it. Thanks to these adaptations, the honey badger is known to put up quite a fight when it can’t escape a predator, and has been known to fight off lions and other large predators.

Honey badgers eat almost anything they can come across, though as their name implies, they like honey most of all. They’ll eat honey straight from the beehive if they can find one, relying on their tough skin to protect them from bee stings.

Honey badgers also eat insects, rodents, snakes, birds, eggs, and even tortoises, using their powerful jaws to get through their protective shells.

History

Honey badgers have a tense relationship with the humans that share their range. They are notorious for attacking and feeding on domestic poultry and livestock. Because of this, it is seen as a nuisance, and one that is particularly hard to repel due to its toughness.

Honey badgers were long believed to have a symbiotic relationship with a bird called the honeyguide. It was believed that this bird, which desires honey that it is unable to obtain from the hive by itself, would lead the honey badger to the beehive. Once the honey badger broke open the hive, the bird would be able to access the honey. However, while honeyguides are known to lead human beings to bee hives, there is no evidence that this behavior extends to the honey badger.

Present Status

Honey badgers are a species of Least Concern, though their behavior toward livestock and poultry could cause them to face threats from farmers who consider them a nuisance.