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Monday, April 8, 2013

H is for Honey Badger

The Honey Badger (Mellivora capensis), or ratel, is part of the weasel family, related to skunks, otters, and ferrets.  They are nocturnal carnivores that are found in a very large range- from sub-Saharan Africa East to Russia and India.  They live in a variety of environments, from desert to rainforest.  These are solitary animals that breed throughout the year.  The female may give birth to 1 or 2 cubs after a 6-8 week gestation period.  She'll take care of her cubs for up to a full year before they go off on their own.


Honey badgers can live 5-8 years in the wild and a recorded 24 yeas in captivity.  Their short life spans may just have something to do with their ridiculously quarrelsome personality!  Honey badgers will attack almost anything, even if they don't have good odds on winning. 


The honey badger's real name is actually the Ratel.  They have gained the name Honey Badger from their love of honey and the bee larvae inside it.  It is this love that has pitted the honey badger against beekeepers.  Honey badgers are one of the most destructive mammalian species of honeybees in Africa.  There are many ways to secure a beehive against honey badgers, which you can read about here.  The easiest method may in fact be to raise the hive a few feet off the ground to a level where the badger cannot jump to.  Despite this conflict, the honey badger is unprotected on the IUCN Red List, although it's status varies with the countries it is found in.


And to wrap this up, here is a video that any account of the Honey Badger would not be complete without ...