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Honey badgers, also known as “ratels,” are notoriously tough members of the weasel family, known for their tough skin and vicious demeanor. Though they are called the honey badger, they are actually less closely related to badgers than previously thought. Honey badgers are the world’s most fearless creature is the Honey Badger, according to the Guinness Book of World Records.
Honey Badger Name
They take their name from their predation of bees and their unique foraging relationship with the greater honeyguide. The small bird leads a honeybadger to a beehive and then waits patiently for the honey-badger to open up the hive and eat its fill of the honey and bee larvae. Once the honey badger leaves the hive, the honeyguide will then feed on the remaining beeswax
Honey Badger and the poison
Honey badgers are not only capable of accepting bee stings, but can also handle bites from the world’s deadliest snakes, such as vipers, mambas and cobras, which hunt, kill and devour with joy.
The honey badger is not necessarily immune to these poisons, but the skin of badgers is so thick and hard that most bee stingers and snake tusks cannot penetrate it.
If venom from a large snake enters the system, the badger may die, but it often only has a coma-like “downtime” while it recovers.
This is one of the largest species in the mustelid family. The adult has a body length of 60 to 70 centimeters and a weight of 8 to 12 kilograms. Furthermore, it exhibits marked sexual dimorphism, with females being smaller than males.
Regarding coat color, the lower half of the body is black, with a gray or bright white topcoat. The lighter color spreads over the back of the body stopping at the base of the tail. Honey badgers have very thick and loose skin, which prevents a predator from grabbing them, allowing them to maneuver at a greater angle and thus bite their attacker.
Additionally, they have a large skull, small eyes, and a muscular neck and shoulders. They also have strong, wide front legs, with large claws that are useful for attacking prey and robbing honeycombs.
Although mostly solitary, honey badgers can hunt together in pairs during the May breeding season. Little is known about the reproductive habits of the honey badger. Her gestation period is thought to last six months, typically two cubs who are born blind. They vocalize by plaintive whines. Its lifespan in the wild is unknown, although captive individuals have been known to live for approximately 24 years.
Honey badgers live alone in self-dug holes. They are qualified earthworks, capable of digging tunnels in the hard ground in 10 minutes. These burrows generally have a single passage and an interlocking chamber and are generally 1 to 3 m (3-10 feet) long. They do not place bedding in the nesting room. Although they usually dig their own burrows, they can take over disused Aardvark and warthog holes or termite mounds.
Honey badgers are intelligent animals and are one of the few species known to be able to use tools. In the 1997 Land of the Tiger documentary series, a honey badger in India was filmed using a tool; the animal rolled up a log and stood on it to reach a kingfisher – young fisherman stuck in roots coming from the ceiling in a cave. A video made at the Moholoholo Rehabilitation Center in South Africa showed a pair of honey badgers using sticks, a rake, heaps of mud and stones to escape their walled pit.
Honey Badger Diet
Besides the wolverine, the honey badger has less specialized food from the Mustelidae family. In undeveloped areas, honey badgers can hunt at any time of the day, but they become nocturnal in places with a high human population. When hunting, they trot with their foregoes turned in. Honeybadger bee promote honey and often looking for apiaries to get it, which gives them their name. They are also carnivores and eat insects, frogs, turtles, rodents, turtles, lizards, snakes, eggs, and birds. Honey badgers have even been known to hunt young lions and take their killer attacks. They eat fruits and vegetables, such as berries, roots, and bulbs. Despite popular belief, there is no evidence that honeyguides (a species of bird that feeds on bee larvae) guide the honey badger.
They can hunt frogs and rodents, like gerbils and ground squirrels, by digging them out of their burrows. Honey badgers are able to feed on land turtles without difficulty, due to their powerful jaws. They kill and eat snakes, even those that are very poisonous or large, like cobras. They have been known to unearth human corpses in India. They devour all parts of their prey, including the skin, hair, feathers, flesh, and bones, holding their food down with their front legs. When searching for plant food, they raise stones or tear bark from trees.
honey badger Mating
The method of reproduction of the badger is complex due to the many exceptions it entails. According to the study by R. Canivenc and his team, in Bordeaux in the 1960s, ovulation is always caused by mating, which often takes place in the spring, but gestation does not begin until December. In some cases, postpartum estrus is also observed, the females being fertile after parturition, between January and March in France, and between February and May in Great Britain.
At the time of mating, the animals continue and mark each other by making barking or purring. Mating lasts 15 to 60 minutes and is repeated several times during the four to six days of the oestrus. Generally, the female or females of the clan are covered by the dominant male, but it happens that several males succeed each other or that they leave their clan in search of other females in other territories.
In this season, the males face each other in tough fights, continuing with a jerky cry and biting their rival around the neck and rump. Then calm returns. Females fertilized after parturition breastfeed their newborns while the other fertilized eggs, carriers of the future generation, will remain in the blastocyst stage inside the uterus for 9 months.
Other matings may take place at various times of the year: in spring, between one-year-old females and fertile males; in summer, in females already fertilized for the first time and finding themselves in heat. Finally, mating in December gives rise to direct gestation, the actual duration of which is approximately 7 weeks.
honey badger babies
Their baby teeth come out between the 4 th and 6 th week. The first permanent teeth, the incisors, pointing from the 10 th week and the adult teeth then set up during the 6 weeks.
During the first weeks of life, newborns do not leave the burrow room where they were born, their mother breastfeeding them with her six udders. Weaning, which is progressive, occurs around 12 weeks; it is final around 4 or 5 months approximately. During this period, the female brings food to her young – the male too, sometimes. The first outings take place around 8 weeks. From the age of 5 to 8 months, the young seek their food alone. From 6 or 7 months, they reach their adult size, but they will have to wait until December of their year of birth to weigh 10 kg. They reach sexual maturity between 12 and 15 months, sometimes as young as 2 years old, and generally remain in the family clan, regardless of their gender. Females have their first estrus around 1 year of age
Is honey badger a problem animal?
Despite its reputation as one of the world’s most aggressive animals, honey badgers try to avoid trouble. Their first option is to run away, and they have been seen running out of a hole after smelling fresh tracks of lions or leopards. However, when they feel threatened, they will not hesitate to defend themselves with notorious ferocity.
Honey badgers generally only attack when caught by predators, which often happens when they are digging. This happens because their eyesight is poor and with their noses on the ground, they may be oblivious to their environment.
When scared, they run towards their assailants, releasing a potent scent from their anal glands, jerking and standing up with their hairs up. On these occasions, a loud rattling sound is emitted. This generally scares the predator
Honey Badgers Facts
- Honey Badgers get their name from their propensity to seek out and eat honey and bee larvae. They even have no problems with attacking Africanized Honey Bee (“killer bees”) hives.
- Honeyguides are a type of bird that will lead Honey Badgers to beehives. The bird will then wait for the HoneyBadger to break open the beehive and to have its fill. Once the HoneyBadger has left, the Honeyguide will fly in and eat the leftover larvae and beeswax.
- Honey Badgers are able to dig quickly into hard earth. Within a few minutes, they can dig a hole deep enough to hide.
- The Honey Badger is also commonly known as Ratel and scientifically as Mellivora capensis. They primarily live in parts of Africa, the Middle East, and India. Despite the name, they more closely resemble weasels than badgers. In captivity, they live around 24 years. No one knows how long they typically live in the wild.
- Honey Badgers usually hunt and live alone. However, during breeding season they have been observed to hunt together. Their homes are typically dug holes with a passage to a bare nesting area.
- A HoneyBadger eats a variety of food items including porcupines, small crocodiles, berries, roots, scorpions, snakes, eggs, insects, rodents, birds, fruit, frogs, human corpses, honey, sheep, horses, etc. Basically, if they can kill it or come across the dead body of the animal, they’ll eat it. They also like to eat fruits and melons, which, along with blood, is often one of their primary sources for water. Snakes typically account for about half the total food Honey Badgers eat.
- One method Honey Badgers use when attacking larger prey is to castrate them and then wait for the animal to weaken from bleeding.
- Male Honey Badgers typically have a home area of around 200 square miles. Females have a home area of around 50 square miles. Because of their very large home range areas, Honey Badgers populations are in dramatic decline, with the Honey Badger’s areas more and more including areas of the large human population. They also have low reproductive rates (typically one new badger per birthing).
- Honey-Badger females are called “sows”. Male Honey Badgers are called “boars”. Their young are called “kits”.
- Honeyguides are also known to lead humans to honey so that they can feed on the scraps left behind. The Boran people particularly use a special type of whistle to try to attract a Honeyguide when they want to search for honey.
The honey badger: the most “brave” animal on the planet
The Ratel or honey-badger will not hesitate to attack almost anything that comes into its way and is smart enough to know what are the weak points of their opponents to defeat them. The ferocity of this species is very popular in the wild (it can kill crocodiles) and not even big cats can intimidate it and generally prefer to avoid it. For years the Guinness Book has called him the “bravest creature on the planet”.
The Badger loves honey and to get it he is able to completely submerge his head in a hive without regard to his own safety. It also feeds on snakes and rodents, sometimes they can eat carrion.
Honey-badgers can kill crocodiles and are very efficient at hunting snakes. It takes only 15 minutes to catch and eat a snake. This species is considered the paradigm of ferocity since they reflect it in every act, they are tenacious and resistant since they never let prey escape.
Honey badgers often become serious predators of poultry. Because of their strength and persistence, they are difficult to deter. They are known to tear off thick boards from chicken coops or bury them under stone foundations. Overage murder is common during these events, with one incident resulting in the deaths of 17 Muscovy ducks and 36 chickens.
Because of the tenacity and loosening of their skin, honey badgers are very difficult to kill with dogs. Their skin is difficult to penetrate, and its loosening allows them to twist and turn on their attackers when held. The only best grip on the honey badger is on the back of the neck. The skin is also tough enough to withstand multiple machete blows. The only way to kill them quickly is with a blow to the skull with a club or a blow to the head with a gun because their skin is almost insensitive to arrows and spears.
During the British occupation of Bahrain 2007, rumors of “man-eating badgers” emerged from the local population, including allegations that these beasts were released by British troops, something the British categorically denied. A spokesman for the British army said the badgers were “native to the region but rare in Iraq” and “are generally not dangerous to humans if provoked”. The director of Basra veterinary hospital, Mushtaq Abdul-Mahdi, confirmed that honey badgers had been seen in the region as early as 1986. The vice-dean of the Basra veterinary college, Dr. Ghazi Yaqoub Azzam, issued the ‘hypothesis that “the badgers were pushed towards the city because of the floods in the marshy north of Basra”. The stupid season.
In many parts of northern India, honey badgers are said to have been living in the immediate vicinity of human habitations, leading to numerous cases of attacks on poultry, small livestock, and, sometimes, even children. They retaliate violently when attacked. According to a 1941 volume of British Indian Fauna, the honey badger has also been reported to unearth human corpses in this country.
In Kenya, the honey badger is a major reservoir of rabies and believed to be an important contributor to the sylvatic cycle of the disease.