(Last Updated On: April 15, 2021)

The honey badger, scientific name Mellivora capensis, often known as the ratel ( or ), is a mammal extensively distributed in Africa, Southwest Asia, and the Indian subcontinent. Because of its broad range and incidence in a wide range of habitats, it’s listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List. In this article I am going to talk about Honey Badger vs lion, vs snake, animal, attack, pics, etc.

Honey Badger profile

It is the one species within the genus Mellivora and within the mustelid subfamily Mellivorinae. Despite its name, the honey badger doesn’t carefully resemble different badger species; as a substitute, it bears more anatomical similarities to weasels. It is primarily a carnivorous species and has few natural predators due to its thick pores and skin, energy, and ferocious defensive talents.

Honey Badger Distribution

The honey badger has a large, intensive historic distribution range, which extends by means of most of sub-Saharan Africa. It happens from the Western Cape to southern Morocco and southwestern Algeria.

In addition, it additionally happens in Arabia, Iran, and western Asia, in addition to the Indian peninsula (Proulx et al. 2016). In South Africa, it’s extensively distributed in all provinces besides the Free State.

The space of occupancy doesn’t stretch to the northwestern coastal areas. The residence range of feminine honey badgers is extremely dependent on the supply of meals and males are influenced by the accessibility of females inside a particular range.

Common names

Honey badger (Eng.); ratel (Afr.); xidzidzi (Xitsonga); tshiselele (TshiVenda); ulinda (Ndebele); matshwane, magôgô, magôgwê, magwagwê (Setswana); sere, tsere (Shona), insele (siSwati, isiZulu).

The honey badger, often known as ratel, was named probably the most fearless animal on the planet’ within the 2002 version of the Guinness Book of World Records. Its tenacity, endurance, and wit resulted in it getting this world-renowned title. The phrase ‘honey’ embedded in their widespread name implies a love of bee honey, though they’re primarily carnivorous and insectivorous and truly devour the bee larvae inside the beehive as a substitute of solely seeking out the honey.

Honey Badger Description

Honey badgers are terrestrial, quadrupedal animals with a cylindrical body that may be roughly 60–70 cm long. Their forefeet are long and broad, they’ve highly effective claws which can be used for digging and climbing. In distinction, the hind legs have smaller, constrained claws. They stand at a height of roughly 25–30cm on the shoulders.

The exterior is characterized by fur with a rough, dorsal gray mantle patch that extends from the top of the top (crown) to the tip of the tail. A white horizontal line on either side of the body separates the white coarse mantle from the black ventral fur.

The white margins on the base of the top kind a concave line throughout the bottom of the badger that extends from the brow, which is roughly 12–15mm above the nook of the eyes and runs to the higher margins of the ears. Honey badgers have deep-set, small, longsighted eyes, that are black and often reflect light at night.

Due to their brief limbs and long foreclaws, honey badgers are usually not quick runners. Their gradual nature and swinging run could be in comparison with that of bears.

When foraging honey badgers run, their nostril is held a number of centimeters from the ground as they discover their surrounding with their sense of odor, and their tail is often elevated. Foraging differs amongst females and males, with females protecting a comparatively smaller space at roughly 10 km per day.

They forage in a zigzag pattern, from one bush to a different, digging as much as ten holes per kilometer. Males alternatively travel long distances protecting roughly 27 km per day and solely digging an estimate of two holes per kilometer.

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The tail is brief and bushy with two anal glands on the posterior end. The two glands are diagonal from the anus and in male badgers, it’s surrounded by tissue close to the scrotum.

These glands are used for the secretion of a yellow fluid launched when the honey badger is happy or used as a protection mechanism when threatened and for terrestrial marking.

Their pores and skin are thick, powerful, and free, permitting the honey badger to twist and escape from the grip of their attacker. Furthermore, it additionally permits the honey badger to maneuver in tight areas and gives safety towards bites from predators.

Honey badgers are predominantly a nocturnal species, nonetheless, throughout chilly dry months, they change to being diurnal. Males are largely solitary as in comparison with females seen foraging with the cubs of their early months. During mating season they’re seen looking in pairs.

Behavior and ecology

The honey badger is usually solitary however has additionally been sighted in Africa to hunt in pairs in the course of the breeding season in May. It additionally makes use of old burrows of aardvark, warthog, and termite mounds.

It is a talented digger, in a position to dig tunnels into the onerous ground in 10 minutes. These burrows often have just one entry, are often only one–Three m (3.3–9.8 ft) long with a nesting chamber that’s not linked with any bedding.

The honey badger is infamous for its energy, ferocity, and toughness. It is thought to savagely and fearlessly assault nearly every other species when escape is unimaginable, reportedly even repelling a lot bigger predators comparable to lion and hyena. Bee stings, porcupine quills, and animal bites not often penetrate their pores and skin.

If horses, cattle, or Cape buffalos intrude upon a honey badger’s burrow, it is going to assault them. In Kalahari Gemsbok National Park, a honey badger was killed by a lion.

In the Cape Province, it’s a potential prey species of the African leopard. African rock pythons, Nile crocodiles, and noticed hyenas additionally prey on honey badgers often.

Honey Badger Habitat

The species lives in all kinds of habitats kind, however, they’re typically absent from more open and central components of the grassland and Nama Karoo biomes.

Their most well-liked habitat is especially in dry areas, however, as talked about above it could actually additionally present in grasslands and forests.

Their long foreclaws are used to dig burrows that may be Three meters long and roughly 1.5 meters deep. These tunnels or chambers are used as a resting place for the honey badgers.

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Honey badgers are habitat generalists as they will create properties with something available comparable to underexposed tree roots, rock cracks/gaps, and old uninhabited termite mounds. Since they’re fearless creatures they often take over burrows dug out by yellow mongoose, springhares, Cape foxes, and bat-eared foxes.

The honey badger has the least specialized diet of the weasel family next to the wolverine. It accesses a big part of its meals by digging it out of burrows. It typically raids beehives seeking each bee’s larvae and honey.

It additionally feeds on bugs, frogs, tortoises, turtles, lizards, rodents, snakes, birds, and eggs. It additionally eats berries, roots, and bulbs. When foraging for greens, it lifts stones or tears bark from bushes.

Some people have even been noticed to push back lion cubs from kills. It devours all components of its prey, together with pores and skin, hair, feathers, flesh, and bones, holding its meals down with its forepaws.

It feeds on a large range of vertebrates and appears to subsist totally on small vertebrates. Honey badgers studied in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park preyed largely on geckos and skinks (47.9% of prey species), gerbils, and mice (39.7% of prey).

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The bulk of its prey comprised species weighing more than 100 g (3.5 oz) comparable to cobras, younger African rock python, and South African springhare.

In the Kalahari, honey badgers had been additionally noticed to assault home sheep and goats, in addition, to kill and eat black mambas. A honey badger was suspected to have damaged up the shells of tent tortoises within the Nama Karoo. In India, honey badgers are stated to dig up human corpses.

Feeding Behavior

Rooted of their name ‘honey’ badger, many people mistakenly imagine that honey badgers eat honey, whereas in reality, they raid beehives seeking bee larvae, inflicting battle with bee farmers.

The Greater Honeyguide birds have an opportunistic relationship with honey badgers because it has been noticed to feed on the scraps from the beehives left behind by the honey badgers.

The honey badger is a generalist species and an opportunistic predator, its diet consists of a large range of prey. Thus, their diet is vulnerable to be influenced by seasonal variation because it has been noticed that the honey badger switches between prey species, extremely depending on the prey abundance and/or available meal sources.

Small mammals from the bottom of the honey badgers’ diet and when small mammals are much less considerable and there is a rise within the search time for small mammal prey because of the lower in abundance, the honey badger’s diet switches to much less worthwhile small reptiles and scorpions.

An examination carried out on the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park reported that though beforehand urged that honey badgers are omnivorous species, observations proved that they switched to consuming fruit comparable to tsamma melons primarily to acquire moisture in extremely water-scarce surroundings moderately than use it as a meals source.

The species is taken into account to be a mainly carnivorous species, as they had been largely noticed to devour small invertebrates and vertebrates.

Successful foraging and finding prey are by means of the usage of their sense of odor. Even when properly fed, honey badgers seek meals on a daily basis, which causes some specialists to label them as wasteful foragers.

They seek for prey in beforehand marked scent trails, inside burrows, and the odor by lifting their noses up within the air, within the path of the scent.

Using their long foreclaws they lure their prey contained in the burrows by barricading the doorway and digging with their hind paws one other entrance to catch the prey.

Honey badgers are resilient and never fast to tire, and utilizing the strategy of exhaustion, they typically goal bigger prey by tiring them out with relentless ‘badgering’.

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Communicating

The sound that honey badgers produce is guttural (harsh-sounding or tough) described as a high-pitched screaming bark or ‘haarr-haarr’. During mating season, the males produce a loud muttering sound to draw their feminine counter-part.

Vocalization in the course of the interplay with bigger carnivores is a special tone and frequency, which comes out as a rattling roar. Juveniles produce a barely faint pitch whine and when in misery they make hiccup sounds.

Interestingly, for the reason, that male residence range can lengthen to 500 km2 they use scent-markings for open communication with different badgers.

Honey Badger Ecosystem

Honey badgers present a helpful ecosystem service in agriculture as a result of they feed extensively on rodents and arthropods who’re thought-about to be agricultural pests. However, they’re additionally thought-about to be a pest by many beekeepers.

Beehive injury by honey badgers is a major risk to beekeeping productiveness. Persecution of honey badgers by beekeepers has been recorded for the reason that early 1800s. The honey badgers brought on injury with a financial worth of about R500 000 every year within the Western Cape and Mpumalanga alone.

It was estimated that injury brought on by honey badgers accounts for a lack of about 7% per season for beekeepers within the Western Cape. Beekeepers retaliate by taking pictures, poisoning, and gin trapping honey badgers, accelerating the speed of inhabitants decline.

However, it’s fairly simple for beekeepers to easily increase their beehives to a couple of meters above the ground in order that honey badgers can’t simply attain it, a follow that has resulted in a decline in honey badger injury to beehives of about 66% between 2001 and 2009.

Informed shoppers and environmentally-conscious retailers comparable to Woolworths insist on solely shopping for/promoting honey that has earned the ‘badger pleasant designation, which could be displayed within the type of a brand on the packaging of honey produced by beekeepers utilizing badger-friendly beekeeping strategies.

Since honey badgers are scavengers, they’re additionally not directly killed by means of poisoning. Furthermore, honey badgers are additionally not directly killed by control packages concentrating on different species comparable to black-backed jackals and caracals.

The killing of the honey badgers and discount to the inhabitant’s size was additionally influenced by harvest to be used in conventional drugs. The species is used within the preparation of treatments used as a protecting attraction for possessors and looking dogs.

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Reproduction

Little is thought concerning the honey badger’s breeding habits. Its gestation interval is assumed to final six months, often leading to two cubs, that are born blind. Its lifespan within the wild is unknown, although captive people have been recognized to reside for roughly 24 years.

The voice of the honey badger is a hoarse “khrya-ya-ya-ya” sound. When mating, males emit loud grunting sounds. Cubs vocalize by means of plaintive whines. When confronting dogs, honey badgers scream like bear cubs.

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