Monday, September 19, 2011

Honey Badger

Last year for my birthday I wrote about one of my favorite animals, the intensely awesome and unforgettable American Badger. I figured this year (wow, it's been a year?) I'd write about another Badger, the ferocious and epic Honey Badger.

Mellivora capensis
Do not let this name fool you! Honey Badgers are anything but sweet. Also known as Ratels, these large Mustelids can be found in Africa, the Middle East, and parts of Asia. They are known for their incredible courage, fearlessness, and tenacity. Just Google Honey badger, seriously. The entire first page of results is essentially websites and videos about how much butt they kick (the video in that link includes profanity, but is nonetheless hilarious).

Honey Badgers get their name because they enjoy eating Bee larve. They have an interesting relationship with a bird known as the Honey Guide. The bird leads the Badger to the hive, then waits to get an easy meal once the Badger has gotten its fill. The Badgers have amazing claws and powerful arms that let them climb to and rip apart bee hives. Their think skin allows them to get stung without much bother! That skin also helps when they go after other, larger prey... like Cobras. And small Crocodiles. Actually, Honey Badgers will eat just about anything. Over sixty species are consumed by Kalahari populations, ranging from larvae to antelope, to pythons, to jackals!

But back to that skin. Honey Badger skin is loose and thick. They are not actually immune to venom and bee stings, but the thickness of their hide keeps them relatively safe. As seen in the video below, the snake venom typically causes the Badger to drift off to sleep for a short spell. The looseness of their skin also serves a purpose in that is makes the Badger very difficult to grab on to and do damage to, which is great for those times when the Badger feels the need to fight larger predators for food. Like Lions.

Honey Badgers live a solitary lifestyle, unless they happen to be a female with a baby. Young Badgers will live with their mother for up to 16 months, learning the ways of hunting and awesomeness. Male Honey Badgers live in large ranges that overlap the smaller ranges of females. This suggests a polygynous breeding structure.

IUCN Status : Least Concern
Location : Africa, Middle East, South Asia
Size : Length up to 22in (56cm), Wingspan 50in (127cm)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Mammalia -- Order : Carnivora
Family : Mustelidae -- Genus : Mellivora -- Species : M. capensis

1 comment:

  1. Happy Birthday! I can scarcely believe it's another year either. So much to do!


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