Honey badger (Mellivora capensis)

Hard-nut or head-case? Meet the honey badger. Either way, this stocky little member of the weasel family has a ferocious reputation that belies its modest size. Known for its tenacity and aggression, even big cats will think twice before taking one on.

5 Fascinating Facts

Let us introduce you to yet another intriguing creature that is native to Africa, Southwest Asia and the Indian subcontinent – the fearless and resourceful honey badger.

  1. Honey badgers measure just 60–70 in length, with a 20–30cm tail. They can drive a young lion from its kill and overcome a three-meter python.
  2. The word is that the honey badger enjoys a mutual relationship with a bird called the greater honeyguide. According to folklore, the bird leads the badger to ransack a bees’ nest and then feeds on any larvae left behind. But there is no proof of this... yet.
  3. A honey badger’s skin is too tough for most predators’ teeth or bee stings to penetrate. additionally, it is so loose that the animal can twist and turn when seized by an attacker –  in order to retaliate and escape.
  4. Beekeepers persecute honey badgers because of their pesky habit of breaking into beehives. However, this problem is totally solvable – simply by raising the beehives a meter or so off the ground, on steel poles.
  5. Honey badgers are partially plantigrade. Like bears, they walk on their soles rather than the toes of their feet.

Wildlife encounters

You may be wondering whether or not the honey badger is a danger to humans. Let's put it this way, we wouldn't advise you to get close enough to one and find out the hard way. It's always best to keep your distance. Observe from afar. Better safe than sorry – especially if you're camping. If you're planning to go on safari and have any questions about African wildlife and what you should or shouldn't do, please contact us at SafariBookings.

By Mike Unwin
United Kingdom UK

Mike is an award winning wildlife writer, editor of Travel Zambia magazine and author of the Bradt Guide to Southern African Wildlife.

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