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Fun Honey Badger Facts For Kids

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Fun Honey Badger Facts For Kids

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The honey badger is a mammal widely found in Asia and Africa and belongs to the genus Mellivora. It is part of the weasel family and is related to skunks, ferrets, otters, and other badgers. The name 'honey badger' comes from what seems to be its favorite food i.e. honey directly from the beehives. This has given the impression that their favorite food is honey which has led to their name the 'honey eater of the cape'. It is also known as the 'ratel'. Honey badgers are solitary creatures and are also nomadic. Honey badgers often defecate in holes and then mark those holes with their anal or urine scent glands to indicate to other animals and other honey badgers that they have a burrow nearby and it is their territory. Honey badgers are extremely aggressive and notorious animals. Male honey badgers are very ferocious in defending their mates if they feel threatened. Males engage in aggressive behavior if other male honey badgers attempt to invade or attack their marked burrows, leading to a dominance dance to determine which one of them will stay.

If you want to learn more interesting facts about this ferocious animal, read on. If you enjoy learning about honey badgers, then you can also check out some interesting facts about other animals such as the muskrat and prairie dog.
 

Honey Badger Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a honey badger?

Honey badgers belong to the weasel family.

What class of animal does a honey badger belong to?

Honey badgers are mammals related to skunks and otters of the Mellivora genus.

How many honey badgers are there in the world?

There isn't any estimation of the honey badger's population in the world but they have now started to disappear from places where once they were plentiful.

Where does a honey badger live?

Honey badgers have a geographic range that is very extensive. They range from sub-Saharan Africa and the Arabian Peninsula to the Indian Pennisula and western Asian nations. In the Arabian Peninsula, honey badgers can be found in Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Kuwait, Jordan, Iraq, and Israel. Apart from this, they can also be found in the United Arab Emirates, South Algeria, Yemen, Oman, Syria, and Southern Morocco. In the Asian nations, it is found in Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, India, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Nepal, and Turkmenistan.

What is a honey badger's habitat?

Honey badgers often use what's already available to them, like they are good at turning rock crevices into shelters. They can also do the same with hollow trees, holes in the ground under the tree roots, old termite mounds. Honey badgers will often make homes in abandoned dens of animals like yellow mongooses, cape foxes, bat-eared foxes, springhares, aardvarks, and porcupines. When it comes to making their home, honey badgers can end up digging their home as long as 9 ft (3m) and as deep as 5 ft (1.5 m), and at the end of a honey badger's tunnel, there is a chamber for the honey badger to rest. Mostly, honey badgers are found to be active all through the day and night. Although near the human settlements they prefer the cover of darkness.

Who do honey badgers live with?

Honey badgers are solitary weasels and live alone. They don't usually like living with anyone but live near human settlements.

How long does a honey badger live?

Honey badgers live around seven to eight years in the wild, but in zoos, these animals have been known to live as long as 24 years.

How do they reproduce?

Honey badgers engage in mating all through the year but the mating activity is more prevalent during the dry and hot seasons, from September through December, as noticed in Africa. Most of the mating behavior of these wild animals has been studied in the zoo or national parks such as Kgalagadi Transfrontier National Park in South Africa, and not in the wild. Honey badgers have a scent-marking behavior which plays an important role in them finding a mate. Since the offsprings are dependent on their mothers for 12-16 months, the competition between male honey badgers to find a suitable mate is fierce. The mating usually occurs in the two weeks when the female honey badgers are in the middle of their reproductive cycle or estrous. Since the honey badgers mate in the burrows in the wild habitat, there have not been many observations about the mating process. The gestation period of the offspring is 50-70 days and although honey badgers mate all year long, they usually only have one cub at a time, or sometimes even two. The offspring of a honey badger is born blind, with closed eyes, hairless and pink skin, and remains in the burrow for three months and are cared for by their mother until the one or two years of age. Female honey badgers hit sexual maturity at a faster pace, at 12-16 months, compared to the male honey badgers who reach maturity at two to three years.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of honey badgers is Least Concern.

Honey Badger Fun Facts

What do honey badgers look like?

While anatomically, a honey badger is more like a weasel than other badgers, in appearance it looks like an overgrown skunk. Honey badgers have long bodies, short legs, broad backs, tiny ear ridges, flatheads, small eyes, short muzzles, and stumpy tails. A distinguishing feature of a honey badger is its big, long, and strong claws which it uses in digging their homes. They have white fur and thick loose skin with a white streak running across their spine. This thick and tough skin can even protect the badger from snakes by making the skin impenetrable by snake fangs and protecting it from its bite and venom. In winters, the fur becomes dense which a honey badger again sheds in the summers.

Honey badgers are active throughout the day.

How cute are they?

Honey badgers are not cute and it's best to stay away from them as they have a reputation to be dangerous when meddled within their habitats.

How do they communicate?

Vocalization is the main communication method of a honey badger or ratel. They make loud grating noises that sound similar to the sound of a dog's high-pitched bark. The young honey badgers squeal and whine to get the attention of their parent. When in confrontation or competition with other male badgers, this animal performs a ritualized dance which consists of several whole-body movements and rotations in which the dominant male moves the most while the subordinate remains immobile for the most part. This species also uses scent or urine glands located in the anus to mark their territory.

How big is a honey badger?

A honey badger is as long as 22-38 in (56-96.5 cm) and as tall as 9-12 in (23-30.5 cm). Its size is often compared to that of a small or medium-sized dog.

How fast can a honey badger run?

Though the speed of this animal is not specifically known, badgers have been known to run or gallop at the speed of about 16–19 mph (25-30 kph). A honey badger can both swim and climb trees. They are considered to be very good swimmers.

How much does a honey badger weigh?

These mammals weigh around 13.6-30 lb (6.2-13.6 kg) on average.

What are the male and female names of the species?

The species is called Mellivora capensis, while the males are called boars and females are called sows.

What would you call a baby honey badger?

A young offspring of this species of the badger is known by the most common baby name in the animal kingdom, which is a cub or a kit.

What do they eat?

Honey badgers eat anything and everything. This animal's diet consists of a wide range of food that includes but is not limited to birds, reptiles, berries, fruits, rodents, roots, mammals, insects, bee larvae, plants, and eggs. Their favorite food is the larvae of bees which are directly eaten from the beehives.

Are they poisonous?

The honey badger or ratel is not poisonous, but this animal has been known to survive snake venom and stings of bees due to its thick skin.

The claws and teeth of a honey badger have a reputation for cracking open a tortoiseshell. They also have very thick, tough skin often termed as 'steel-like skin', which can withstand bee stings, snake fangs, porcupine pricks, and sometimes even arrow piercings and machete attacks. This ability of a honey badger is essential as it makes it impervious to the stings of the bees when it attacks the beehives for its food. It is also important because 25% of a honey badger's diet consists of venomous snakes, so it has developed a defense against snake venom - like mongooses.

Would they make a good pet?

A honey badger will not make a good pet because of its violent and wild behavior.

Kidadl Advisory: All pets should only be bought from a reputable source. It is recommended that as a potential pet owner you carry out your own research prior to deciding on your pet of choice. Being a pet owner is very rewarding but it also involves commitment, time and money. Ensure that your pet choice complies with the legislation in your state and/or country. You must never take animals from the wild or disturb their habitat. Please check that the pet you are considering buying is not an endangered species, or listed on the CITES list, and has not been taken from the wild for the pet trade.

Did you know...

Female honey badgers travel around 6.2 mi (10 km) per day whereas male honey badgers travel a lot more at 16.7 mi (27 km) per day.

Honey badgers carry their young ones around every two to five days in their mouth to new burrows which they dig in the wild.

These animals have a strong sense of smell and can even sniff and dig out foodstuffs hidden under the ground.

Even though it is widely believed, these animals do not hunt with birds, but actually, hunt and eat them instead.

Although they are abundant and widespread, the honey badger is often the victim of hunters and is persecuted by farmers and beekeepers. Hunters either eat them as bushmeat or harvest them for the traditional medicine trade. It is the brave and tenacious nature of these badgers which makes them very popular in traditional medicine and prey to hunters.

Honey badgers are quarrelsome, ferocious, and fearless, but unlike other carnivores of these qualities, the honey badger is one of the smartest animals on the planet. They have been known to use tools and they break the mold when it comes to a fierce and vicious animal being smart.

The honey badger, like its look-alike 'skunk' has a gland at the base of its tail that stores a stinky liquid that is very strong. It is usually used by it to mark its territory but when threatened or frightened, it uses the liquid to drop a stink bomb, unlike a skunk which sprays the liquid.

Can a honey badger kill a human?

There is no definitive answer to the question of whether these fierce and violent animals can kill humans, but there have been reports from the early 20th century of honey badgers or ratels that emasculated or ate humans. But these man-eating creatures are probably folklore according to scientists and historians since there has been no attack or death related to honey badgers since 1950. There have been reports from India of honey badgers reportedly attacking children to eat them and digging up human remains to feed on them, but nothing has been proven.

Why are honey badgers so dangerous?

Their reputation precedes honey badgers as one of the world's most fearless animals. These animals tackle snakes fearlessly and have been seen chasing fierce predators such as adult lions away from their food or kill.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other mammals from our water vole facts and stoat facts pages.  

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable honey badger coloring pages.

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