Name: the honey badger (Mellivora capensis) – also known as the ratel – is a member of the mustelid family. Despite the name, they are actually closer to weasels than other badger species.
Appearance: honey badgers have black heads and bodies with a white stripe running down to their tails. They have short sturdy legs, small heads, and strong claws. Their skin is remarkably thick and loose, making it difficult for predators to take a hold. It is so strong that it can even resist machete blows!
Size: they measure around 30 cm tall and 100 cm long. They can weigh up to 12 kg making them slightly smaller than European badgers, although there are reports of some weighing up to 18 kg!
Diet: honey badgers find most of their food by digging it out of burrows. They have a varied diet, eating everything from honey and berries to frogs and snakes. Honey badgers are fierce and determined scavengers and have been known to chase away young lions from their kills.
Did you know: while relatively small, these amazing animals have few natural predators. This is thanks to their thick skin, killer strength, and ferocious attitude. When cornered they have been known to savagely attack and fight off other species including lions, hyenas, and Cape buffalos. They can also release a suffocating gas that can deter predators and calm bees when raiding a beehive!
Location: they can be found throughout most of Sub-Saharan Africa, Arabia, and Western Asia.
Where to see honey badgers
According to reports submitted to WildSide, you can see honey badgers in the following places:
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Photo credit: Derek Keats under a Creative Commons licence from Flickr