Species: M. capensis
Common Names: Honey Badger, Ratel
Honey badgers are solitary animals. They use their large claws for digging prey out of burrows, and for digging their own burrows to live in. It gets the name “honey badger” from its preference for honey, which it gets from beehives. Due to its thick skin, it is largely immune to bee stings. It also eats lizards, rodents, birds, eggs, frogs, and bugs. In some regions, it also eats venomous snakes. While not immune to the snake’s venom, the thick skin is largely resistant to snake’s fangs.
Like its cousin the wolverine, the honey badger has a reputation for being powerful and ferocious. When unable to escape from potential predators, it is known to attack without hesitation, and is able to ward off much larger animals including lions, hyenas, and Cape buffalos.
Not much is known about how the honey badger reproduces. Usually, a mother badger gives birth to two cubs after a pregnancy that is thought to last for half a year.
Found in sub-Saharan Africa, Southwest Asia, and India, the honey badger is a member of the Mustelid family, which also includes weasels, badgers, otters, and the wolverine. Though called a badger, its body type is more similar to a weasel’s than the European or American badger.
The body of the honey badger is somewhat elongated, yet muscular with short, stocky legs. Its body is dark brown, with a large light-colored area on its back and head, giving it an almost skunk-like coloration.
Its skin is extremely loose and thick, which makes it difficult for predators and rivals to grasp and hold it. The skin can be nearly a quarter inch thick!
Honey badgers grow to just under four feet long, including the tail, and can weigh up to 35 pounds.
The honey badger is the only species in the genus Mellivora. Originally grouped with other badgers in the subfamily Melinae, it is now typically separated into its own subfamily, Mellivorinae. Its closest relatives are in the subfamily Guloninae, which contains martens, as well as the wolverine. Due to its size, strength and ferocity, the wolverine is often compared to the honey badger and is considered to be its North American counterpart.