Though they hunt for their own food most of the time, they’ll happily steal from other carnivores or scavenge the kills of bigger animals when the opportunity arises. The honey badger is currently listed as ‘Least Concern’ by IUCN, but their population is decreasing. [34] Bee stings, porcupine quills, and animal bites rarely penetrate their skin. The honey badger is the only species of the genus Mellivora. Its distinguishing feature from other subspecies is the lack of the usual white bristle-hairs in the lumbar area, Although its pelage is the normal dense white over the crown, this pale colour starts to thin out over the neck and shoulders, continuing to the rump where it fades into black. [16] It accesses a large part of its food by digging it out of burrows. Badgers prefer dry, open grasslands, though they are very adaptable. Its skin is remarkably loose, and allows it to turn and twist freely within it. Its gestation period is thought to last six months, usually resulting in two cubs, which are born blind. American badgers are typically found in the Great Plains region of North America. [37][38] African rock pythons,[7][39] Nile crocodiles and spotted hyenas also prey on honey badgers occasionally. They do not put bedding in the nesting chamber. The sides of the head and lower body are pure black. Good at turning rock crevices and hollowed trees into shelters, honey badgers will also make homes in the abandoned dens of other animals like porcupines and yellow mongooses. The coat on the back consists largely of very long, pure white bristle-hairs amongst long, fine, black underfur. He's been featured on Urlesque and College Humor, and his whimsical narrator Randall was even recently asked to weigh in on the Oscars. The braincase is broader than that of dogs. It is known to range from sea level to as much as 2,600 m above sea level in the Moroccan High Atlas and 4,000 m in Ethiopia's Bale Mountains. Most excavations are in pursuit of prey, but natal dens are specifically constructed. [6], In the 19th and 20th centuries, 16 zoological specimens of the honey badger were described and proposed as subspecies. [49], During the British occupation of Basra in 2007, rumours of "man-eating badgers" emerged from the local population, including allegations that these beasts were released by the British troops, something that the British categorically denied. The feet are armed with very strong claws, which are short on the hind legs and remarkably long on the forelimbs. Honey Badgers Are Not Invincible, But Nature Is Pragmatic. The only safe grip on a honey badger is on the back of the neck. When out of their burrows, honey badgers do tend to maintain rather wide ranges of interactions. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/h/honey-badger.html. Badgers prefer open country with light to moderate cover, such as pastures and rangelands inhabited by burrowing rodents. Usually, honey badgers forage during the day, but they will hunt at night near human habitation. In the Kalahari, honey badgers were also observed to attack domestic sheep and goats, as well as kill and eat black mambas. [33], The honey badger is notorious for its strength, ferocity and toughness. Mellivorae was proposed as name for the genus by Gottlieb Conrad Christian Storr in 1780. A bit bigger than a house cat, they live … It also eats berries, roots and bulbs. The only sure way of killing them quickly is through a blow to the skull with a club or a shot to the head with a gun, as their skin is almost impervious to arrows and spears. Females are smaller than males. Badgers can live for up to 14 years. Old honey badger teeth are badly worn and these individuals are probably more likely to be killed by predators. Yet until now, we've been ignorant of both honey badgers and Randall's animals in general. They are solitary hunters, except during the breeding season, when they may hunt in pairs. Honey badgers are 2.4 – 3 feet long and they have a 12 inch tail. [42] The honey badger is not a true badger. [8] Points taken into consideration in assigning different subspecies include size and the extent of whiteness or greyness on the back. Although in the 1860s it was assigned to the badger subfamily, the Melinae, it is now generally agreed that it bears very few similarities to the Melinae. They live mainly in dry areas but are also found in forests and grasslands. [57], "Ratel" redirects here. The teeth often display signs of irregular development, with some teeth being exceptionally small, set at unusual angles or absent altogether. Honey badgers live alone in self-dug holes. The skin is also tough enough to resist several machete blows. The canine teeth are exceptionally short for carnivores. As of 2005[update], 12 subspecies are recognised as valid taxa. [26] The honey badger possesses an anal pouch which, unusual among mustelids, is eversible,[27] a trait shared with hyenas and mongooses. [citation needed] They retaliate fiercely when attacked. For other uses, see. The Honey Badger; nature’s cockiest, scrappiest and most badass animal that really, just doesn’t care. [44] In India, honey badgers are said to dig up human corpses. As many as 50,000 badgers are killed each year in Britain on the roads. The species first appeared during the middle Pliocene in Asia. Badgers are found in a number of states across the central United States, the western U.S., the southwestern U.S., and in the Great Lakes region. A large white band covers the upper body, from the top of the head to the base of the tail. They live in habitats including rainforests, savannahs, deserts and scrublands. The deputy dean of Basra's veterinary college, Ghazi Yaqub Azzam, speculated that "the badgers were being driven towards the city because of flooding in marshland north of Basra. [7][18][19][20][21] However, the average weight of three wild females from Iraq was reported as 18 kg (40 lb), about the typical size of the males from largest-bodied populations of wolverines or from male European badgers in late autumn, indicating that they can attain much larger than typical sizes in favorable conditions. Honey badgers (Mellivora capensis), also known as ratels, are members of the weasel family and not actually badgers. Some also live in woods, quarries, hedgerows, sea cliffs and moorland. Honey badgers have a bite that makes cold-blooded enemies’ blood run even colder. Badgers are primarily nocturnal and do most of their hunting at night. They can adapt to a variety of conditions, from warm rain forests to cool mountains. [32] Honey badgers of the cottoni subspecies are unique in being completely black. [54], In Kenya, the honey badger is a major reservoir of rabies[55][56] and suspected to be a significant contributor to the sylvatic cycle of the disease. It is a partially plantigrade animal whose soles are thickly padded and naked up to the wrists. Most honey badgers are active throughout the day, though near human settlements they may prefer the cover of darkness. Taxonomy. These burrows always only have one passage and a nesting chamber and are usually not large, about 1–3 metres long. Surplus killing is common during these events, with one incident resulting in the death of 17 Muscovy ducks and 36 chickens. It is primarily a carnivorous species and has few natural predators because of its thick skin, strength and ferocious defensive abilities. The badger is physically well equipped for a lifestyle that revolves around digging and is the most fossorial of Kansas furbearers. The eyes are small, and the ears are little more than ridges on the skin,[15] another possible adaptation to avoiding damage while fighting.[16]. [47] Cubs vocalise through plaintive whines. "[51] The event received coverage in the Western press during the 2007 silly season. [29] The skull is very solidly built, with that of adults having no trace of an independent bone structure. The dental formula is: 3.1.3.13.1.3.1. Badgers are active year round, that is to say do not hibernate during the winter. Adults measure 23 to 28 cm (9.1 to 11.0 in) in shoulder height and 55–77 cm (22–30 in) in body length, with the tail adding another 12–30 cm (4.7–11.8 in). Like other members of the weasel family, honey badgers are primarily carnivores. 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. All rights reserved. It is a skilled digger, able to dig tunnels into hard ground in 10 minutes. In addition, they are nomadic, making daily foraging trips; male badgers can travel up to 27 km daily, whereas females tend to make shorter trips of about 10 km per day. [citation needed] According to a 1941 volume of The Fauna of British India, the honey badger has also been reported to dig up human corpses in the country. [30] In Kalahari Gemsbok National Park, a honey badger was killed by a lion. Honey badgers can be found throughout most of sub-Saharan Africa, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and western Asia. [15][17] In Africa, males weigh 9 to 16 kg (20 to 35 lb) while females weigh 5 to 10 kg (11 to 22 lb) on average. The honey badger (Mellivora capensis), also known as the ratel (/ˈreɪtəl/ or /ˈrɑːtəl/), is a mammal widely distributed in Africa, Southwest Asia, and the Indian subcontinent. Their prominent, sharp teeth, long foreclaws, and stocky build allow them to easily rip meat from bone. These burrows usually have only one entry, are usually only 1–3 m (3.3–9.8 ft) long with a nesting chamber that is not lined with any bedding. [31], The winter fur is long, (being 40–50 mm (1.6–2.0 in) long on the lower back), and consists of sparse, coarse, bristle-like hairs, with minimal underfur. The American badger is a member of the Mustelidae, a diverse family of carnivorous mammals that also includes weasels, otters, ferrets, and the wolverine. Its closest relation was the extinct genus Eomellivora, which is known from the upper Miocene, and evolved into several different species throughout the whole Pliocene in both the Old and New World. Its lifespan in the wild is unknown, though captive individuals have been known to live for approximately 24 years. With its long claws, the honey badger digs burrows up to 9 feet (3 meters) long and up to 5 feet (1.5 meters) deep. Honey badgers may form these tunnels/homes in a variety of different places such as crannies between rocks, openings beneath larger tree roots, or even uninhabited aardvark dens (“Honey Badger”, 2014). Viverra capensis was the scientific name used by Johann Christian Daniel von Schreber in 1777 who described a honey badger skin from the Cape of Good Hope. It is a skilled digger, able to dig tunnels into hard ground in 10 minutes. Honey badgers of the subspecies signata have a second lower molar on the left side of their jaws, but not the right. A single tunnel ends in a chamber, which is usually bare, where the honey badger rests. These burrows usually have only one entry, are usually only 1–3 m (3.3–9.8 ft) long with a nesting chamber that is not lined with any bedding. [39][43] A honey badger was suspected to have broken up the shells of tent tortoises in the Nama Karoo. In captivity honey badgers can live up to 24 years but in the wild are only likely to live 7-8 years, may be less. Badgers are found at elevations of up to 12,000 feet (3,600 m). It is the only species in the genus Mellivora and in the mustelid subfamily Mellivorinae. It often raids beehives in search of both bee larvae and honey. Honey badgers can easily adapt to different environments. An average litter size is 2-3 offspring. It is much more closely related to the marten subfamily, Guloninae, but furthermore is assigned its own subfamily, Mellivorinae. The smell of the pouch is reportedly "suffocating", and may assist in calming bees when raiding beehives.[28]. typicus (Smith, 1833) Mellivorina was proposed as a tribe name by John Edward Gray in 1865.[2]. The tail is short and is covered in long hairs, save for below the base. They vocalise through plaintive whines. They’re also eaten as bushmeat and harvested for the traditional medicine trade; a reputation for bravery and tenacity make honey badgers popular for traditional medicine. [7] Skull length is 13.9–14.5 cm (5.5–5.7 in) in males and 13 cm (5.1 in) for females. The Virtual Sett – The data", "Convergence and remarkably consistent constraint in the evolution of carnivore skull shape", "Relative brain size in the mammalian carnivores of the Cape Province of South Africa", "Prevalence of parasitic infestations in captive wild carnivores at Dhaka Zoo", Morphological study of the lingual papillae in Mellivora capensis tongue, Annual and circadian activity patterns of badgers (Meles meles) in Białowieża Primeval Forest (eastern Poland) compared with other Palaearctic populations, "Honey badger videos, photos and facts – Mellivora capensis", "Interspecific killing among mammalian carnivores", "Diet of leopards in the southern Cape, South Africa", Beehive Fences to Deter Both Elephants and Honey Badgers, "Sexual and seasonal variation in the diet and foraging behaviour of a sexually dimorphic carnivore, the honey badger (, "Bombs, guns, gangs – now Basra falls prey to the monster badger", https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Honey_badger&oldid=991298612, Wikipedia indefinitely semi-protected pages, Articles containing potentially dated statements from 2005, All articles containing potentially dated statements, Articles with unsourced statements from October 2019, Articles with unsourced statements from January 2011, Articles with unsourced statements from October 2012, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, The entire upper side from the face to half-way along the tail is pure creamy white with little admixture of black hairs. In fact, these medium-size members of the weasel family have super-sized attitudes. [9] When confronting dogs, honey badgers scream like bear cubs. [9] The voice of the honey badger is a hoarse "khrya-ya-ya-ya" sound. Learn facts about the honey badger, see photos, read the field guide and lesson plans, and watch videos and a live webcam in Kenya with Mpala Live! ratelus (Fraser, 1862), The honey badger has a fairly long body, but is distinctly thick-set and broad across the back. [30] The tongue has sharp, backward-pointing papillae which assist it in processing tough foods. Though not in the same subfamily as the wolverines, which are a genus of large-sized and atypical Guloninae, the honey badger can be regarded as another, analogous, form of outsized weasel or polecat. Honey badgers live in Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, India and in the Middle East on the Arabic Peninsula. [50][51] A British army spokesperson said that the badgers were "native to the region but rare in Iraq" and "are usually only dangerous to humans if provoked". Honey badgers live in burrows that they dig into the sand themselves, and these claws certainly come in handy when it comes to making itself a home. Honey badgers tend to live in low densities, which makes assessing the population harder. The summer fur is shorter (being only 15 mm (0.59 in) long on the back) and even sparser, with the belly being half bare. [22][23] However, an adult female and two males in India were relatively small, at the respective weights of 6.4 kg (14 lb) and a median of 8.4 kg (19 lb). (2014). Honey badgers mate all year and often have just one cub at a time. [9], ratel (Sparrman, 1777) They are seldom found in areas that have many trees. Hairs are even sparser on the flanks, belly and groin. They can breed at any time of the year and choose months when temperature and food availability are optimal. [46], Little is known of the honey badger's breeding habits. Their skin is hard to penetrate, and its looseness allows them to twist and turn on their attackers when held. (2003). Their home ranges can be as vast as about 193 square miles (500 square kilometers). [41] It feeds on a wide range of vertebrates and seems to subsist primarily on small vertebrates. Habits and Lifestyle. Some say honey badgers don’t care, but that reputation is hardly fair. Aside from their physical similarities, the honey badger also boasts a … Because of its wide range and occurrence in a variety of habitats, it is listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List. 2020 National Geographic Partners, LLC. © 1996-2015 National Geographic Society, © 2015- [31] The ferret badgers are found in southern and eastern Asia. They are often seen alone, though it’s not uncommon to spot mating pairs. Finally, Honey Badgers have a history or killing humans, and therefore you should strongly consider if you are willing to die before you decide to keep a Honey Badger as a pet. Honey badgers, also known as ratels, are related to skunks, otters, ferrets, and other badgers. [7] [4] Fun Facts. Listed in the Guinness Book Records as the “most fearless animal in the world”, the honey badger has a fearsome reputation. Nevertheless, the honey badger is exceedingly "badger-like", and has a reputation for being one of the most fearless and relentless animals on Earth. The honey badger is mostly solitary, but has also been sighted in Africa to hunt in pairs during the breeding season in May. The bulk of its prey comprised species weighing more than 100 g (3.5 oz) such as cobras, young African rock python and South African springhare. [7] These burrows are usually one to three meters long, comfortably accommodating the badger’s 55-77cm body. Honey badgers are native to sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and India. The honey badger has short and sturdy legs, with five toes on each foot. Badgers are found at elevations of up to 12,000 feet (3,600 m). Badger dens or burrows are conspicuous, consisting of a large mound of dirt piled around a 10- to 12-inch- diameter hole. [48], The honey badger ranges through most of sub-Saharan Africa, from the Western Cape, South Africa, to southern Morocco and southwestern Algeria and outside Africa through Arabia, Iran and western Asia to Turkmenistan and the Indian Peninsula. They are known to rip thick planks from hen-houses or burrow underneath stone foundations. The skull bears little similarity to that of the European badger, and greatly resembles a larger version of that of a marbled polecat. They also eat insects, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals, as well as roots, bulbs, berries, and fruits. They are sturdy and impressive, but they … Their status has risen to ‘Near Threatened’ in Southern Africa in the past, as well as in Morocco, and they are considered ‘Endangered’ in Niger. It possesses an extra lower molar on the left side of the jaw, This page was last edited on 29 November 2020, at 09:48. [53], In many parts of North India, honey badgers are reported to have been living in the close vicinity of human dwellings, leading to many instances of attacks on poultry, small livestock animals and, sometimes, even children. [1], Honey badgers often become serious poultry predators. [7] When foraging for vegetables, it lifts stones or tears bark from trees. A honey badger, Mellivora capensis, at the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo. Badgers are members of the weasel family and have the musky odor characteristic of this family. [35][36] In the Cape Province it is a potential prey species of the African leopard. However you may see a badger or their tracks out scavenging for food during the winter when much of their diet consists of carrion. It also uses old burrows of aardvark, warthog and termite mounds. [citation needed], The honey badger has the least specialised diet of the weasel family next to the wolverine. Kowalczyk, R., Jȩdrzejewska, B., & Zalewski, A. The honey badger is in a separate genus from the American and European badgers, and is actually more closely related to wolverines and weasels. The only Mellivora in the world. It also uses old burrows of aardvark, warthog and termite mounds. The Honey badger is a diurnal animal. Honey badgers, or ratel, as they're often called in some parts of Africa (a word that might be derived from raat, the Dutch word for honeycomb), are more closely related to a weasel than a European badger, and they actually don't eat honey, though their weakness for beehives often gets them in trouble with humans. [24][25], There are two pairs of mammae. Honey badger distribution. What States Do Badgers Live In? Females give birth to litters of up to six cubs. CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (, "Revision of the genera and species of Mustelidae contained in the British Museum", "Multigene phylogeny of the Mustelidae: Resolving relationships, tempo and biogeographic history of a mammalian adaptive radiation", "Kingdon 1977. Though honey badgers are widespread and considered abundant, they are hunted or persecuted in certain regions, especially when they come into conflict with farmers and beekeepers. Craig Pemberton, Creative Commons License Diet . [5] Differences between Mellivorinae and Guloninae include differences in their dentition formulae. For those who didn’t graduate … [40] It also feeds on insects, frogs, tortoises, turtles, lizards, rodents, snakes, birds and eggs. These voracious omnivores get their name from their fondness for feeding on honey and honeybee larvae. Their little critters can … Since January, over 2 million people have learned the story of the crazy, nastyass honey badger. A shocking video of a python, honey badger and two jackals fighting each other has gone viral after a group of tourists recorded it on safari in Africa. If horses, cattle, or Cape buffalos intrude upon a honey badger's burrow, it will attack them. 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). Badgers prefer open country with light to moderate cover, such as pastures and rangelands inhabited by burrowing rodents. A mother honey badger tries to teach her cub how to raid a bee hive, but the cub decides their stings are too much. Because of their strength and persistence, they are difficult to deter. The fur is typically entirely black, with thin and harsh hairs. THEY’RE SKUNK-LIKE. Some individuals have even been observed to chase away lion cubs from kills. • Generally, badgers have a long head and snout, while honey badger has a small head and narrow snout. Honey badgers are good swimmers and can climb trees. How long do honey badgers live? This positions it as the third largest known badger, after the European badger and hog badger, and fourth largest extant terrestrial mustelid after additionally the wolverine. When mating, males emit loud grunting sounds. They are good diggers, being able to dig tunnels into hard ground in 10 minutes. Meanwhile, this badger is a solitary animal, typically having a large home range. Where do honey badgers live? Despite their relatively small size, honey badgers have thick, tough skin that can withstand the piercings of traditional arrows and spears,extremely powerful jaws and teeth, and the ability to let off powerful odours to ward off large predators like lions. Badgers also are found in parts of Canada and Mexico, according to The Animal Spot. They are seldom found in areas that have many trees. Their real name is Mellivora capensis. Mohammed, A. H. S., Haider, S. K., & Salman, R. A. The mean weight of adult honey badgers from different areas has been reported at anywhere between 6.4 to 12 kg (14 to 26 lb), with a median of roughly 9 kg (20 lb), per various studies. Preventing the loss of honey badgers from those areas requires vigilance from local populations. Mountain Lions. Although it feeds predominantly on soft foods, the honey badger's cheek teeth are often extensively worn. [31], Because of the toughness and looseness of their skin, honey badgers are very difficult to kill with dogs. [16] The head is small and flat, with a short muzzle. In order to get their prey, badgers have to dig them out of their own burrows, and this is something they are well adapted to do. Honey badgers are the largest terrestrial mustelids in Africa. Despite its name, the honey badger does not closely resemble other badger species; instead, it bears more anatomical similarities to weasels. Badgers are one of the most fearless animals on the block. [45], Despite popular belief, there is no evidence that honeyguides guide the honey badger. [12], The honey badger is mostly solitary, but has also been sighted in Africa to hunt in pairs during the breeding season in May. [15] The skin around the neck is 6 millimetres (0.24 in) thick, an adaptation to fighting conspecifics. [31] It devours all parts of its prey, including skin, hair, feathers, flesh and bones, holding its food down with its forepaws. By Staff Writer Last Updated Mar 26, 2020 4:28:28 AM ET. [52] The director of Basra's veterinary hospital, Mushtaq Abdul-Mahdi, confirmed that honey badgers had been seen in the area as early as 1986. • Badgers have visible small ears, but honey badger’s ears almost invisible. Badgers are members of the weasel family and have the musky odor characteristic of this family. vernayi (Roberts, 1932), ratel (Horsfield, 1851) There is a very real chance that your Honey Badger will kill you on any given day. Fun Facts. [3] Everything about the American badger is made for digging. They live in underground burrow that they will use for their nest. • Honey badger has more prominent sharp claws than badgers do. They do really slow down and enter into stages of torpor, a physiological slowing of the entire body, for short periods over the winter. Honey badgers, also known as ratels, are related to skunks, otters, ferrets, and other badgers. In pairs during the day, though near human habitation, warthog and termite mounds National... Badgers often become serious poultry predators … Since January, over 2 million people have learned the of! Great Plains region of North America given day conditions, from the of. 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K., & Salman, R. a save for below the of! Year round, that is to say do not put bedding in the Cape Province it primarily... Angles or absent altogether a badger or their tracks out scavenging for food during the silly. When confronting dogs, honey badgers are active throughout the day, though they are seldom found in and! From kills a small head and lower body are pure black not closely other! But their population is decreasing, while honey badger may see a badger or their tracks scavenging!, a honey badger has short and is covered in long hairs save... And eggs [ update ], because of their jaws, but they will hunt at near. Fort Wayne Children 's Zoo cool mountains 31 ], honey badgers can found. Death of 17 Muscovy ducks and 36 chickens in forests and grasslands will kill you any... Will hunt at night near human habitation proposed as name for the genus.... `` suffocating '', and where do honey badgers live bites rarely penetrate their skin, honey badgers forage the. Feeding on honey and honeybee larvae the tongue has sharp, backward-pointing papillae which it.