GOOGLE’S EARTH-DAY ANIMAL FEATURE – PART 2: HoneyBadger

Honey Badger Don’t Care!

It has become properly hard to find out a lot about the honey badger in this day and age due to the viral YouTube video that I’m sure many of you have seen:

But behind this sassy, independent YouTube star is an animal that has some very interesting features..  So let’s break it down!

The Name

Mellivora capensis – the ratel as it’s called, is the elegant master of the mustelid family.  This vicious carnivore has a wide range and is considered an animal of least concern by the IUCN.  The honeybadger is a weasel.

The young of a honey badger is called a ‘kit’. The lady badgers are ‘sows’ and man-badgers are ‘boars’, and collectively their demonym is called a ‘cete, colony, set or company.’

A lean, mean, bee-killing machine.
A lean, mean, bee-killing machine.

The Bod

The thick skin of the honeybadger makes it a tough target – it is so thick and rubbery that predators struggle to penetrate it, weapons often cannot pierce it, and it is quite unpallatable.  They share traits with polecats, hyenas, and the mongoose, and are very dissimilar to the European badger families.  Their teeth are irregular, jagged, in a very unique dental formation, and they can release a devastating smell that may be used to affect prey, calm bees, or just annoy neighbors.

And these little monsters are tiny!  Eleven inches tall and two and a half feet long at a max, but sinewy and ferocious.

The Diet

The honey badger likes to just chow down on bee-hives.  However, they are NOT picky eaters.  They will eat basically any smaller mammal they come across, including young gazelles, and they can take out amphibians and reptiles too feasting on snakes, frogs, tortoises, and even small crocodiles!

In a typical meal, the honey badger will follow a bird called the honey guide.  This bird can sniff out bee hives.  Once the honey badger decimates the hive, the honey guide will take a crack at eating the exposed beeswax.

A symbiotic relationship at its best - the honey guide leads the honey badger to a hive, and the honey badger prepares the meal for both.
A symbiotic relationship at its best – the honey guide leads the honey badger to a hive, and the honey badger prepares the meal for both.

And More

Honey badgers are very intelligent, but also seemingly fearless.  They don’t seem to match up by size and they fight to the death!  So if Google told you that your were a honey badger on Earth Day, props, you’re a boss.

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