Honey badger (Mellivora capensis)
The honey badger is a mammal widely distributed in Africa, Southwest Asia, and the Indian subcontinent. Despite its name, the honey badger does not closely resemble other badger species; instead, it bears more anatomical similarities to weasels. It is primarily a carnivorous species and has few natural predators
because of its thick skin, strength and ferocious defensive abilities.
It is listed as the “world’s most fearless animal” in the 2002 edition
of the Guinness Book of World Records.
As of 2005, 12 subspecies are recognised as valid taxa. The honey badger is mostly solitary, but has also been sighted in Africa to hunt in pairs during the breeding season in May. It also uses old burrows of aardvark, warthog and termite mounds.
It is a skilled digger, able to dig tunnels into hard ground in 10
minutes. These burrows usually have only one entry, are usually only
1–3 m long with a nesting chamber that is not lined with
any bedding. The honey badger is notorious for its strength, ferocity and toughness.
It is known to savagely and fearlessly attack almost any other species
when escape is impossible, reportedly even repelling much larger
predators such as lion and hyena. Bee stings, porcupine quills, and animal bites rarely penetrate their skin. The honey badger has the least specialised diet of the weasel family next to the wolverine. It accesses a large part of its food by digging it out of burrows.
It favours honey and often searches for beehives. It is also feeds on insects, frogs, tortoises, turtles, lizards, rodents, snakes, birds and eggs. It also eats berries, roots and bulbs.
photo credits: CT Cooper, Derek Keats