Honey badger

Mellivora capensis

Honey badger, Mellivora capensis.
Whilst only measuring 95 cm in length and standing just 26 cm at the shoulder honey badgers have been known to take on lions and even buffalo and man by targeting the groin. They have incredibly sharp claws on their forefeet which are 3.5 cm long, razor sharp and shaped like knives. The honey badger has a wide diet. This includes bee larvae and honey as well as animals that they will dig out of their burrows such as mice, spiders, scorpions, snakes and lizards.

Conservation status : Least concern
Length : 95 cm
Weight : 8 kg to 14.5 kg
Life span : Up to 24 years
Gestation : 6 months
Young : 1 to 2

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The honey badger is one of the only mammals to eat bee larvae and honey which gives rise to its scientific name, “Mellivora” which translates as “honey eater”. Mel means “honey”, and voro means “to devour”.

The black and white colouring of the honey badger is a “warning” to would be attackers of its chemical defences. When threatened it can secrete a very foul-smelling odour from its anal glands. This is dribbled rather than squirted.

The honey badger has a reputation for being very tough and aggressive with some reports of it targeting the groin of the larger attackers such as buffalo and even man.

The skin around the honey badgers neck is 6mm thick and very loose. So much so that when it is grabbed by an attacker it can turn right around in a counter strike.

It is still not proven but one technique that the honey badger is believed to utilise when raiding beehives is to first fumigate it using their foul-smelling anal glands.

Honey badgers will dig a small hole before defecating in it. However, they will not cover it over, instead they will leave it open knowing that other honey badgers will invariably investigate any hole that they come across.

Whilst only measuring 95 cm in length and standing just 26 cm at the shoulder honey badgers have been known to take on much bigger animals including young lions.

Second only to the aardvark for their digging ability the honey badger can hide from danger by digging themselves into sandy soil in just 2 minutes.