The honey badger comes with a well-deserved reputation.
Try this - if you Google " the world's most fearless creature" - who do you find? Likely you will see this fierce little African animal in the results.
It is also the world’s most fearless creature according to the Guinness Book of World Records.
There are accounts that they have killed a blue wildebeest, a waterbuck and a 3-meter python.
It definitely attacks fearlessly when threatened and reputedly have also put up savage resistance against a lion.
The antelope victims apparently bled to death after having the scrotum torn off.
It is thus no wonder that much larger predators
usually give them a wide berth.
These wildlife animals are well equipped to live up to its fearsome reputation.
It is stocky and compact in build and in addition to this it has
Honey badgers are also known as "ratels"
Their distinctive black and white pattern is undoubtedly a warning to other animals to stay clear.
Under threat a ratel gives high-pitched growl.
When they are under extreme duress may release a foul-smelling secretion from its anal glands.
That it uses this secretion to gas bees are probably a myth.
Yes, it is well known that they have a fondness for honey and are notorious for raiding beehives.
When the ratel finds the hive it plunders it while emitting smelly, suffocating secretions from its anal glands in order to fumigate the hive.
This causes most of the bees to flee while it scoops out the honeycomb.
When the badger then leaves, the bird eats the remaining dead bees and pieces of honeycomb.
The thick skin of this animal may offer protection from bee stings.
They are however not impervious to them and bee stings may in fact account for some of their deaths.
Their ears are enclosed in the skin, with an opening that can be closed to keep out dirt when it is digging.
The stories are that Greater honey guide bird supposedly guides them to the beehives by calling them and repeatedly fanning its tail, displaying the white outer feathers.
The bird then swoops from tree to tree and waits for the animal to follow it to the bee's nest.
Apparently the honey badger will answer the bird with a grunting and growling sound.
This African animal is however a very nocturnal animal and doubt exists about how reliable a partner the Greater honeyguide bird would make as a mainly diurnal animal.
This issue is still contentious and despite the
many cited stories remains to be undocumented.
They are active at any time of the day and night but they become nocturnal where there is human disturbance.
They can tolerate both very wet and very dry habitats.
You can expect to see them in moist
savanna, semi-desert and forest areas.
They are nearly always solitary although sometimes pairs can be seen together.
When they move slowly, sniffing for prey with its nose close to the ground.
They liberally apply scent markings to crevices, holes and the base of trees while they move.
They sleep in rock crevices or in holes in the ground that they dig themselves or take over from other animals.
In terms of small mammals their intake consists of 30% mice.
Furthermore scorpions and spiders make up 14%, lizards 18% and snakes 18% of their mammal intake.
Most of its prey is dug out of burrows.
A ratel will eat a variety of foods including:
will also climb into trees to get at birds' nests and bees' honey.
This little African animal is extremely strong and it uses the long, sharp claws of its front feet to dig
out of the ground.
They often tear apart tree logs to get at the insect larvae and beetles inside.
Other small predators like black-backed jackal may shadow a honey badger hoping to grab prey that may escape the badger.
Because of raiding honey they do face increasingly hostile challenge from beekeepers.
Beekeepers are not prepared to lose large amounts of their honey to the badgers.
The result is that they are increasingly poisoned, trapped, and shot.
They also suffer indirect persecution through indiscriminate poisoning and trapping for jackal and caracal.