Honey Badger

The Honey badger - Mellivora capensis, Known in Afrikaans as a ratel. An Afrikaans expression is often used: “So taai soos ‘n ratel” – Translated it means “as tough as a honey badger” This is because of the immense resilience of these creatures. With teeth like a hacksaw blade, claws that can inflict serious injury and most of all, 6mm thick skin around the neck, they ARE tough! They can also writhe around within this skin, protecting any internal organs and bones that may be damaged when pounced upon by a predator with canines that manage to penetrate through the skin. They mark their territory with anal scent glands. These glands are eversible which means they can turn them inside out and use as a repellent to ward of threats by walking around in a cloud of this repellent. They love honey, hence their name, and will seek out beehives – the bees not bothering them too much as they soon develop a resistance to bee-stings. They do however hunt smaller prey such as rodents, frogs & lizards. Although their teeth are small, they have powerful jaws and in arid areas, such as the Karoo, you will find them easily crack the shell of a tortoise.

You will find honey badgers in most of Africa except for North-Africa, but then you will find them in the middle East, India (West Asia) and in Turkmenistan!

As fierce as they are, their biggest enemy is man. Some bee-keepers poison and kill honey badgers when the honey badgers help themselves to the honey in the hives kept by these farmers.

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