The honey badger (Mellivora capensis), also known as the ratel, is a mammal widely scattered in Africa, Southwest Asia, and the Indian subcontinent. Because of its wide range and appearance in various habitats, it is classified as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List.
The honey badger does not resemble other badger species; alternatively, it bears more anatomical proportions than weasels. It is essentially a carnivorous variety and has few actual predators because of its thick skin, strength and ferocious protective abilities.
Predators and Threats
Honey badgers are the world’s most courageous animals. The honey badger is a weasel family member associated with skunks, otters, ferrets, and different badgers. Its proper name is ratel, but it gets the widespread name honey badger from what appears to be its favorite food: honey. The honey badger has a quite long body but is expressly thick-set and broad across the back.
The honey badger is more potent than its condensed size recommends these animals are built for battle, not for speed. Although in the 1860s it was selected to the badger subfamily, the Melinae, it is now usually accepted that it bears few similarities to the Melinae. Instead, they have received the reputation for “not caring,” an appropriate representation for animals that attack and steal at will!
Honey Badger Facts
- Prey: Bees, Insects, Small Animals, Bulbs, Roots, Bird Eggs
- Name Of Young: Kit
- Fun Fact: Most fearless animal on Earth!
- Population Size: Unknown
- Biggest Threat: Humans
- Most Distinctive Feature: Large, sharp claws
- Other Name(s): Ratel
- Gestation Period: 6 Months
- Habitat: Dry Areas, Grasslands, Forests
- Predators: Leopards, Spotted Hyenas, Pythons, Crocodiles
- Diet: Omnivore
- Average Litter Size: 2
- Common Name: Honey Badger
- Number Of Species: 1
- Location: Africa, Asia, Indian Subcontinent
- Group: Mammal
- Skin Type: Hair
- Lifespan: 7-8 years in the wild, 24 years in captivity
- Weight: 11 to 35 pounds
- Height: 9.1 to 11 inches
- Length: 22 to 30 inches
- Age of Sexual Maturity: 1 to 2 Years
- Age of Weaning: 2 to 3 Months
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Mammalia
- Order: Carnivora
- Family: Mustelidae
- Subfamily: Mellivorinae Gray, 1865
- Genus: Mellivora Storr, 1780
- Species: M. capensis
Honey Badgers are approximately 250 mm high at the shoulders and weigh 12 Kg. Their coats have a long and coarse saddle of grey hair running from above the eyes to the base of their tail, which distinguishes them starkly from their black underparts. They have a low-slung body, with small ears and strong legs, and have huge claws.
Honey Badger is essentially terrestrial but can climb, particularly when attracted by honey. It travels by a jog-trot but is energetic and trails its victim until it is run to the ground. Typically, they’re within 9.1 and 11 inches tall and 22 to 30 inches long, including from the shoulder. Males typically weigh about 20 to 35 pounds on average, while females shift the scales between 11 and 22 pounds, around the size of a small or medium dog.
Honey badgers are animals that are both particularly irritable and destructive. Ratels are both courageous and anticipate, and they’ll attack virtually any animal, including humans, when there’s no freedom. To boot, they deliberately pick fights and roughly take over different animals‘dens. For the most part, honey badgers attach to themselves, but mating pairs infrequently hang out collectively in the spring.
Honey badgers are experienced diggers that can claw long tunnels and caves in under 10 minutes. Different times, when they’re considering lazy, ratels will administration the caves of aardvarks and warthogs. Like skunks, honey badgers ignore an atrocious odor to repel predators. Their scent also paralyzes bees, producing it more accessible for honey badgers to attack hives for honey.
The honey badger ranges within most sub-Saharan Africa, from the Western Cape and South Africa to southern Morocco and southwestern Algeria and outside Africa through Arabia, Iran, and western Asia to Turkmenistan and the Indian Peninsula. It covers from sea level to 2,600 m above sea level in the Moroccan High Atlas and 4,000 m in Ethiopia’s Bale Mountains.
Twelve subspecies of honey badgers are distributed across Africa and portions of the Middle East, Asia, and the Indian subcontinent. Communities of the species stick to dry areas, grasslands, and forests. The 12 various species of honey badgers live in several areas, shown in the table below.
Subspecies Name with Locations
- Cape Ratel: South and Southwestern Africa
- Indian Ratel: Asia, Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, India
- Nepalese Ratel: Nepal
- White-Backed Ratel: West Africa, Southern Morocco, Congo, Gabon, Central African Republic
- Black Ratel: Ghana, Congo
- Lake Chad Ratel: Sudan, Somali-land
- Speckled Ratel: Sierra Leone
- Ethiopian Ratel: Ethiopia
- Persian Ratel: Iran, Iraq
- Kenyan Ratel: Kenya
- Arabian Ratel: Southern Arabia
- Turkmenian Ratel: Turkmenistan
Ratels are omnivores with gigantic appetites, and when they kill, they eat the complete animal, including fur and feathers. Honey badgers obtain a chunk of their nutrients from digging up larva and different insects, but they also feast on snakes, frogs, lizards, turtles, rodents, bird eggs, berries, bulbs, and roots.
Honey badgers who call the Kalahari home also eat sheep and goats, and in India, ratels seldom dig up human remains for feeds. They also consume a lot of poultry, and it’s almost difficult for game farmers to guard against honey badgers because they dig tunnels to gain admittance to chicken coups. Their name intimates that honey badgers also prefer honey and frequently raid beehives to snatch their favorite snack.
Predators and Threats
Humans aren’t the only species that honor honey badgers as dangerous and fearsome enemies. Though identified to kill honey badgers occasionally, mighty lions will typically grant the tenacious fighters a wide berth. Not only is the species combative by nature, but their anatomical characteristics assist as extremely efficient armor. They can squirm throughout in their thick, loose skin, creating it more complex for would-be predators to latch on.
Honey badgers are equipped with killer claws and teeth strong enough to slice through tortoise shells. Yet, despite their formidable protection mechanisms, honey badgers have several natural predators, including African leopards, African rock pythons, Nile crocodiles, and spotted hyenas.
Honey badgers are deemed threatened in portions of their area due to human encroachment, reducing their food supply. The honey badger’s sweet tooth does not make it familiar to people who raise bees for their honey. Some beekeepers kill any honey badgers they see to protect their beehives.
Honey badgers can’t jump; several beekeepers have discovered that just securing the beehives a few feet higher off the ground inhibits honey badgers from climbing up to approach them and holds the bees and their honey safe.
Here are some Interesting and Fascinating Facts about Honey badgers you should know.
- Honey badgers are super intelligent animals! They can work out how to use tools for their benefit, a very clever honey badger at a rehabilitation centre in Hoedspruit, South Africa.
- They are solitary animals, so you find them alone most of the time, just like weasels from the same family. They are also related to otters, ferrets and skunks.
- They have sharp, strong teeth. They can break through a tortoiseshell and even the metal locks on our bins!
- Honey badgers can be super stinky. This is because at the base of their tail is a very smelly gland that contains a stinky liquid.
- They have long nails, enabling them to be incredible diggers, making themselves a burrow to sleep in. But they can also dig into grabbing prey underground.
- These strong, ferocious, clever animals are also found in the Middle East and India. They most likely got their name from their love of honey and all things sweet.
- They have thick skin. It is the same thickness as a buffalo’s skin, 50 times heavier than a honey badger. Their skin is rubbery and, like a set of loose clothing that allows them to move around in it, a brilliant form of self-defense.
- Honey badgers are born blind and hairless. So when they come into this world, they are entirely dependent on their mum, who carries them around in their mouth.