Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Tenacious Honey Badger

 Perhaps the honey badger (Mellivora capensis) gained fame from a viral video on YouTube titled "The Crazy Nastyass Honey Badger" which has over 60 million views! The honey badger is also as fearless and aggressive as it is portrayed to be; they will even kill and eat large pythons and various snakes (no matter how venomous) and it was named "the most fearless animal in the world" in 2002's edition of the Guinness Book of World Records. Also known as the ratel, the honey badger is native to Africa, Southwest Asia, and the Indian subcontinent. They are part of the mustelidae family which also includes weasels, otters, martens, and wolverines and they are the largest mustelid in Africa. They can grow up to 30 inches in length and weigh an average of 11-35 pounds. The females are smaller than males. Their long claws allow them to dig deep holes where they live, however they will constantly move to a new area. Due to their fierce and predatory nature along with their incredibly tough, impenetrable skin, honey badgers have few predators, however the young and weak will sometimes fall prey to leopards or other honey badgers. They will also release a strong odor to repel predators. In a National Geographic documentary, it took a full grown leopard one hour to subdue a feeble honey badger!

Honey badgers are solitary animals and the female will raise her cubs alone. They have no particular breeding season and females will usually give birth to 1-2 cubs after a two month gestation period. The cubs will stay with the mother until they are 14 months old and reach their adult size at 8 months old. In captivity, honey badgers have been recorded to live up to 24 years of age however in the wild they live an average of 8 years.

Honey Badger Eating a Cobra
The honey badger is a voracious carnivore with a wide diet. Armed with a mouthful of sharp teeth and powerful jaws, their prey includes rodents, snakes, turtles, insects, and other small mammals. They will eat every part of their prey including the bones and they also don't mind scavenging prey from other animals such as lions. They are skilled climbers that will climb to the uppermost parts of trees to pursue their prey. They will also invade bee hives to collect and eat honeycombs, hence the badger's name. Honey badgers are able to ingest cobra venom without it affecting them due to a mutation in their nervous system that avoids paralysis. A honey badger is even able to resist the venom of a puff adder; it was reported that a honey badger that consumed the venom of a puff adder merely passed out for three hours then later awoke to resume eating the rest of the snake!

Honey Badger Don't Care!


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