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All Creatures,

Episode 10: Hijinks with the Honey Badger

January 02, 2018


If you do not laugh this episode we don’t know how to help you. The Honey Badger is one of the most tenacious, fearless, and hilarious animals in the wild. Come listen to one of our best episodes yet.

Honey Badger Introduction

The Honey Badger (Mellivora capensis) belongs to the Mustelid family and is also called a ratel. This includes badgers, otters, weasels, minks, martens, and the wolverine.  The Mustelids are recognized as the largest family of carnivores.

The Honey Badger is as large as a medium sized dog.

  • 25-35 lb (13-14 kg)
  • Only stand 10 in (25 cm) tall and 2 to 2.5 ft (60 cm) long
  • Not big, but big in attitude!
  • Black under coats, white top coats with black/grey hairs cover crown of head to tail
    • Subspecies in Congo are almost all black

The Honey Badger is less like European badgers and more in common with weasels in both physical and behavioral traits. In fact, the Honey badger is unique within the Mustelid family and is in its own genus, Mellivora.

Honey Badger Habitat

There are 10 subspecies of Honey Badgers. These animals range from South Africa all the way up and through the African continent. Honey Badgers are then found throughout Southwestern Asia ranging to Nepal and Turkmenistan. These animals have also been found as high as 13,000 feet (4000 meters).

Males can range up to 200 sq miles (400 sq km). Females typically range only 45 sq miles (120 sq km).

Honey Badger Physiology

The Honey Badger is so incredibly tough due to its unique physiology.

Why you should never mess with a Honey Badger

Honey Badger Diet

These animals are omnivores. However, they do specialize in hunting venomous snakes. In some instances, up to 50% of the diet is snakes. The Honey Badger is one of the few animals that can resist the toxins given from a snake bite. This is due to special receptors within their bodies. Venom normally acts by binding to muscles and paralyzing them. So, for most, the muscles that control breathing stop and the animal suffocates. Honey Badger receptors are actually resistant to snake venom.

For men BEWARE. Honey Badgers are known for going for the testicles of many animals. Some behaviorists have observed Honey Badgers tearing off the testicles of Cape Buffalo. Many locals in Africa fear this animal for their tenacious and “unique” dietary tastes.

Honey Badger Videos

Honey Badger Mayhem

The Crazy Nastyass Honey Badger (Warning: foul language)

Organizations to Support

Endangered Wildlife Trust

World Wildlife Fund Adopt a Honey Badger

All Creatures Podcast Patreon

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2 comments

  1. Kimberly Kamka says:

    Thank you Chris and Angie for making these podcasts. I love them. I have learned so much about the creatures whom we share are space with.

    1. cjmortensen says:

      Thank you so much Kimberly. We both are so excited to talk about all these animals each week. Its honestly a labor of love for us.

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