Honey badger

Such an amazing and unusual honey badger impresses with its recklessness and incredible courage, which, at times, has no limits. This is a beast that breaks stereotypes and destroys all principles. He is so unpredictable, bold and cocky that one can even envy him. With an unbridled and fearless disposition, the honey badger is capable of reckless acts that surprise everyone around.

Origin of the species and description

Photo: Honey badger

Photo: Honey badger

This interesting animal belongs to the mustelid family. It is not difficult to guess what the honey badger loves more than anything else. Of course, honey! He is ready to go to great lengths for this incomparable delicacy.

In addition to its main name, the honey badger is also called:

  • Indian honey badger;
  • bald badger;
  • ratel;
  • honey badger;
  • dog bear.

Outwardly, he is really similar to both the badger and the wolverine, belonging to the same marten family. Among his marten relatives, he is a fairly large representative. The honey badger is a predator, stocky and strong. His color is usually black and white. Although in nature there are 12 subspecies of honey badgers, which differ not only in the place of their distribution, but also in the color of their coat. For example, in the Congo, animals are often completely black. There are also albinos among the honey badgers. In general, in its most common coloration, the honey badger is a bit like a skunk.

This extraordinary predator has earned its fame, primarily because of the brave fighting character. Sometimes one gets the feeling that the honey badger has no self-preservation instinct at all, he doesn’t give a damn about his life when he comes into battle with a poisonous snake or the king of beasts. For such a bold character, he was included in the Guinness Book of Records as the most courageous, aggressive and reckless.

Appearance and features

Photo : Animal honey badger

Photo: Animal honey badger

For mustelids, which are very graceful and graceful, the honey badger is quite large and stocky, its body length reaches 80 cm. Do not forget about the tail, which has a length of about 25 cm. Males weigh approximately 12 kg, and females are slightly smaller – about 9 cm. The body type of the honey badger resembles that of a bear, it is just as powerful and stocky.The figure of the animal is slightly elongated, and the paws are wide and squat with thick hook-shaped claws, the length of which reaches 5 cm. The feet of the animal do not have hairline, and small membranes can be seen between its fingers. The soles of the paws themselves are massive and elongated, and the toes look slightly splayed, especially on the forelimbs.

Video: Honey badger

The blunt-nosed face of the honey badger looks a bit chopped off. Small black eyes, which are almost invisible, merge with the dark background of the fur. The same can be said about the ears, they are so tiny that you can’t see them, but despite this, the honey badger’s hearing is excellent. The fur coat of the animal is not particularly silky, it is rough and tough, although densely stuffed. In some species, its length may vary, this predator does not need fluffiness and softness at all, its coarse fur coat and thick skin, like armor, protect the warrior from biting bees, spiders, all kinds of snakes, scorpions.

The coloring of the honey badger, one might say, is solemn, it is all in black and white. Most often there are animals that have a white head and back on top, as if they were wearing a light cloak with a hood. White tone is gradually replaced by light gray. The underside of the honey badger is completely black. The contrast between these colors is strong and quite unusual.

Such a fur coat from a distance attracts attention. It serves as a signal to other animals and warns that it is better to stay away from such an extravagant predator. It has already been said that in some species the color is completely black or white, and the length of the fur also differs.

The base of the tail of the honey badger is thick, and the tail itself is short and densely covered with fur, and its tip is slightly pointed. In some varieties of honey badgers, the tail is very short, in others it is more authentic. In addition, in different subspecies, the features of wearing such an accessory also differ. Some wear the tail straight, like a column sticking out from behind. Others playfully curl him up behind his back.

Where does the honey badger live?

Photo: Honey badger

Photo: Honey badger

The habitat of honey badgers is quite extensive. They are settled throughout the African continent and, in the same way, have chosen Asian countries. As for Africa, honey badgers live almost everywhere, except for the tropical zone covered with humid forests.

Except for Africa, you can meet honey badgers:

  • on the Arabian Peninsula;
  • in Iraq;
  • Afghanistan;
  • India;
  • Turkmenistan;
  • Nepal;
  • In the southern part of Kazakhstan;
  • Kyrgyzstan;
  • Tajikistan;
  • Uzbekistan.

Different climatic zones attract quite hardy and unpretentious animals, but they try to stay away from very dry and hot deserts and semi-deserts. Excessive humidity also does not attract honey badgers, so they avoid the tropics with their dense forests.

Honey badgers love the steppes and sparse deciduous forests. In the mountains they can also be seen, but not higher than 3 km in height. Honey badgers love to settle along the steep steep banks of ravines, where there is sandy or clay soil, in which it is good to dig holes, which they do on the slopes of these places.

What does the honey badger eat?

Photo: African honey badger

Photo: African honey badger

Of course, the diet of the honey badger consists of more than just honey. Honey is only a delicacy that the beast simply adores. Behind him, he is ready to climb the highest trees, mercilessly destroying honeycombs. The animal eats not only honey itself, but also bees and their larvae. Insect bites are of little concern to him, his skin is thick, armored, and his character is fearless. There is one surprising observation regarding the search for bee nests. It has been noticed that a bird belonging to the order of woodpeckers often helps the honey badger in this matter, they call it a honey guide.

It is said that he signals to the honey badger that he has found a bee nest and leads the beast directly to him. People have heard how the honey badger and the bird are talking to each other when they go to destroy the bee shelter. The honeyguide feeds on the larvae of these insects, but he is not able to get them himself, which is why he took an unusual animal as his partner, for whom it will not be difficult to jump right into the bee swarm. The honey badger will always leave delicious larvae to his accomplice so that mutually beneficial cooperation continues.

We must not forget that the honey badger is a predator, therefore, for the most part, animal food is present in its menu. These animals eat all kinds of snakes, rodents, hedgehogs, frogs, insects, turtles. From the larger menu, you can name young antelopes, foxes and even small crocodiles. The predator does not disdain carrion, loves to taste bird eggs. From plant foods, the ratel can eat berries, vegetables, some roots, but this happens extremely rarely, he is more interested in meat.

The honey badger devotes a lot of time to snake hunting, in which he is often bitten, but for him this is not so important, his bite does not stop him in any way. Even if the predator was bitten by the most poisonous cobra, he will only lose his orientation for a while, the snake's venom paralyzes and disables him (this state can last from several minutes to a couple of hours), then this lawlessness comes to his senses and continues his interrupted meal, as if nothing had happened. happened. The immunity of the honey badger can be simply envied – no poison takes it. For example, poisonous scorpions and spiders are also included in its menu.

In African countries, honey badgers have become known as real thieves and robbers who raid local chicken coops and apiaries, so the indigenous people do not like them, considering them dangerous pests for their farms. Here is such a violent and gangster disposition of a prankster-ratel.

Peculiarities of character and lifestyle

Photo: Courageous Honey Badgers

Photo: Courageous Honey Badgers

The honey badger is not at all as harmless as it might seem, stroking it. His character is incredibly daring, arrogant and unprincipled, and his temper is very aggressive and quick-tempered. No wonder he is listed in the well-known book of records. The honey badger is not afraid of such large predators as lions and leopards, or poisonous snakes and insects. He is ready to rush into battle if something threatens him. Sometimes even the king of animals himself does not want to mess with him because the honey badger shoots his fetid weapon like a skunk. Only the skunk with this shot tries to hide from danger as soon as possible, and the reckless honey badger goes on the attack.

The ratel mostly hunts on the ground, but climbing tall trees is not difficult for him, because there is his most adored dessert – honey. Usually hunting time for honey badgers comes at dusk, but in some quiet areas the honey badger can be active all day long. The predator prefers to hide from the suffocating heat in its burrows, which reach a length of several meters. The long corridors of the burrows are lined with cozy rooms lined with soft grass. Each animal in its territory has more than one such shelter.

It is interesting that every day the honey badger changes its hole, not staying for the night for several days in a row in the same one.

The nature of honey badgers is freedom-loving and aggressive, they like to live alone, enjoying their freedom and carelessness. Individuals were seen living in small flocks, they were young, such groups do not exist for long. Honey badgers form short-term married couples during the mating season, sometimes the male helps the female raise her offspring, then the couple breaks up, strong family ties are completely alien to honey badgers.

As already mentioned, each adult honey badger has his own domain, where he dominates and ensures that strangers do not invade his allotment, marking the boundaries with a fetid secret. If someone dares to encroach on his territory, then he will be unhappy. The honey badger absolutely does not care about the size of his ill-wisher, the fight will still be inevitable, and this restless predator simply does not take strength and courage. Thanks to such fighting qualities and incredible ferocity, the warrior is often compared to the wolverine, which is his closest relative.

Watching honey badgers living in zoos, zoologists noted that they are very cunning and smart. For 20 years, a honey badger lived in one of the zoos, who constantly came up with new sophisticated ways to escape. He opened any locks, even learned how to sculpt bricks from the clay soil of his enclosure in order to get out of the fence. It's just amazing, but he never stopped coming up with new ways. When a female was hooked on him to distract him from his escape plans, he also taught her his insidious talents of making bricks and using various objects (sticks, rakes, logs, stones) in order to escape.

Many of the habits of these extraordinary predators have not yet been studied, we know very little about them. It is not even known how long they live in the wild. In captivity, the warrior lives up to 25 years, striking everyone with his ingenuity and unbridled courage.

Social structure and reproduction

Photo: Baby Honey Badger

Photo: Baby Honey Badger

It has already been said that honey badgers lead a solitary lifestyle, preferring unlimited freedom. Only for a short mating season do they form alliances. They start breeding once a year. Usually, after fertilization, the gentleman leaves the lady of the heart, although sometimes there are individuals who are involved in the upbringing of their cubs for some short time. Still, most often the mother has to do this alone.

The female is in the position of five to seven months, ennobling her burrow, making a soft bed of dry grass for the comfort of the kids. Usually, 2 to 4 babies are born. They are completely blind, have no wool and are not adapted to life. Instead of a fur coat, they are covered with dark gray skin, which has folds in the limbs. For several weeks, the babies are in a hole. They begin to see and become covered with hair only by 35 days of their life.

Closer to three months, little honey badgers begin to go beyond the den and take on independent hunting attempts. For a long time they live with a caring mother, only a year they leave her, setting off for free swimming. After all, males become sexually mature already at the age of one, and females mature by one and a half years.

It is unusual that the mother transfers the babies to other holes every two days so that they are safe. When the children themselves begin to move, they move from hole to hole on their own, following their mother in single file. Here is such a mother-honey badger, caring and prudent.

Natural enemies of the honey badger

Photo: Honey Badger

Photo: Honey Badger

The recklessness and courage of the honey badger knows no bounds, so he does not have so many enemies in the wild. Do not underestimate his strength and power, which he is also endowed with, so he can even cope with an enemy that is superior in size. Even large predators try to avoid the fierce and brave honey badger.

The main enemies include:

  • wild dogs;
  • wolves;
  • Asiatic lions, etc.

As for lions, it can be noted that this stately predator attacks the honey badger very rarely. Basically, these are either young individuals, or driven out of the pride, or wounded, who are in dire need of food.

Still, the main ill-wisher of the honey badger is a person who considers him a thief and robber. Africans exterminated a lot of these animals, because they trade in theft, like poultry and small livestock, and ruin apiaries. Surely only firearms can hit the honey badger, spears and arrows will not cause him much damage, because. his skin is as thick as a real body armor.

Population and species status

Photo: Honey Badger

Photo: Honey Badger

It is remarkable that the number of honey badgers is still large, although it is not easy to meet him, because. they are not densely settled, each individual has its own area of ​​considerable size. People treat honey badgers with caution, disliking animals for their arrogant and predatory disposition. The population of these amazing predators has been greatly reduced due to the fact that people are constantly fighting with them with the help of weapons, all kinds of poison and traps.

The number has declined especially strongly in the southern regions of Africa. Despite all these unfavorable measures for honey badgers, nothing threatens their population at the moment, they are still widely distributed. It remains to be hoped that this will continue in the future, because you simply cannot find a more extraordinary and amazing beast!

In conclusion, I would like to note that looking at the tireless daredevil honey badger, the mood incredibly rises and self-confidence appears. In some situations, you want to have the same courage and determination. No wonder Kenyan hunters believe that by eating the heart of this predator, you can feel as brave and invincible as he is. The honey badger is arrogant and unscrupulous. You can be respected for incredible courage, you can be afraid for savagery and ferocity, but it is simply impossible to remain indifferent to this amazing creature, because his violent temper amazes and delights at the same time!

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