where do honey badgers live

[40] It also feeds on insects, frogs, tortoises, turtles, lizards, rodents, snakes, birds and eggs. It also eats berries, roots and bulbs. American badgers are typically found in the Great Plains region of North America. [9], ratel (Sparrman, 1777) Honey badgers live in Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, India and in the Middle East on the Arabic Peninsula. [22][23] However, an adult female and two males in India were relatively small, at the respective weights of 6.4 kg (14 lb) and a median of 8.4 kg (19 lb). [30] The tongue has sharp, backward-pointing papillae which assist it in processing tough foods. When out of their burrows, honey badgers do tend to maintain rather wide ranges of interactions. (2014). [citation needed], The honey badger has the least specialised diet of the weasel family next to the wolverine. [8] Points taken into consideration in assigning different subspecies include size and the extent of whiteness or greyness on the back. CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (, "Revision of the genera and species of Mustelidae contained in the British Museum", "Multigene phylogeny of the Mustelidae: Resolving relationships, tempo and biogeographic history of a mammalian adaptive radiation", "Kingdon 1977. Some say honey badgers don’t care, but that reputation is hardly fair. [9] The voice of the honey badger is a hoarse "khrya-ya-ya-ya" sound. He's been featured on Urlesque and College Humor, and his whimsical narrator Randall was even recently asked to weigh in on the Oscars. The braincase is broader than that of dogs. These voracious omnivores get their name from their fondness for feeding on honey and honeybee larvae. Like other members of the weasel family, honey badgers are primarily carnivores. This positions it as the third largest known badger, after the European badger and hog badger, and fourth largest extant terrestrial mustelid after additionally the wolverine. Preventing the loss of honey badgers from those areas requires vigilance from local populations. There is a very real chance that your Honey Badger will kill you on any given day. Since January, over 2 million people have learned the story of the crazy, nastyass honey badger. These burrows usually have only one entry, are usually only 1–3 m (3.3–9.8 ft) long with a nesting chamber that is not lined with any bedding. [35][36] In the Cape Province it is a potential prey species of the African leopard. It is much more closely related to the marten subfamily, Guloninae, but furthermore is assigned its own subfamily, Mellivorinae. The teeth often display signs of irregular development, with some teeth being exceptionally small, set at unusual angles or absent altogether. Honey badgers, also known as ratels, are related to skunks, otters, ferrets, and other badgers. For those who didn’t graduate … In addition, they are nomadic, making daily foraging trips; male badgers can travel up to 27 km daily, whereas females tend to make shorter trips of about 10 km per day. Honey badgers have a bite that makes cold-blooded enemies’ blood run even colder. The only sure way of killing them quickly is through a blow to the skull with a club or a shot to the head with a gun, as their skin is almost impervious to arrows and spears. Honey badgers are 2.4 – 3 feet long and they have a 12 inch tail. Old honey badger teeth are badly worn and these individuals are probably more likely to be killed by predators. [34] Bee stings, porcupine quills, and animal bites rarely penetrate their skin. Taxonomy. By Staff Writer Last Updated Mar 26, 2020 4:28:28 AM ET. Though they hunt for their own food most of the time, they’ll happily steal from other carnivores or scavenge the kills of bigger animals when the opportunity arises. It is primarily a carnivorous species and has few natural predators because of its thick skin, strength and ferocious defensive abilities. [31], Because of the toughness and looseness of their skin, honey badgers are very difficult to kill with dogs. [50][51] A British army spokesperson said that the badgers were "native to the region but rare in Iraq" and "are usually only dangerous to humans if provoked". They do not put bedding in the nesting chamber. [3] Fun Facts. Its closest relation was the extinct genus Eomellivora, which is known from the upper Miocene, and evolved into several different species throughout the whole Pliocene in both the Old and New World. [7][18][19][20][21] However, the average weight of three wild females from Iraq was reported as 18 kg (40 lb), about the typical size of the males from largest-bodied populations of wolverines or from male European badgers in late autumn, indicating that they can attain much larger than typical sizes in favorable conditions. [31] It devours all parts of its prey, including skin, hair, feathers, flesh and bones, holding its food down with its forepaws. [54], In Kenya, the honey badger is a major reservoir of rabies[55][56] and suspected to be a significant contributor to the sylvatic cycle of the disease. • Generally, badgers have a long head and snout, while honey badger has a small head and narrow snout. [16] The head is small and flat, with a short muzzle. Good at turning rock crevices and hollowed trees into shelters, honey badgers will also make homes in the abandoned dens of other animals like porcupines and yellow mongooses. A mother honey badger tries to teach her cub how to raid a bee hive, but the cub decides their stings are too much. Their prominent, sharp teeth, long foreclaws, and stocky build allow them to easily rip meat from bone. Honey badgers are the largest terrestrial mustelids in Africa. When mating, males emit loud grunting sounds. These burrows are usually one to three meters long, comfortably accommodating the badger’s 55-77cm body. Honey badgers may form these tunnels/homes in a variety of different places such as crannies between rocks, openings beneath larger tree roots, or even uninhabited aardvark dens (“Honey Badger”, 2014). Listed in the Guinness Book Records as the “most fearless animal in the world”, the honey badger has a fearsome reputation. • Honey badger has more prominent sharp claws than badgers do. They live mainly in dry areas but are also found in forests and grasslands. [7] Its skin is remarkably loose, and allows it to turn and twist freely within it. [12], The honey badger is mostly solitary, but has also been sighted in Africa to hunt in pairs during the breeding season in May. THEY’RE SKUNK-LIKE. The honey badger is the only species of the genus Mellivora. Habits and Lifestyle. [15][17] In Africa, males weigh 9 to 16 kg (20 to 35 lb) while females weigh 5 to 10 kg (11 to 22 lb) on average. Most excavations are in pursuit of prey, but natal dens are specifically constructed. Honey badgers mate all year and often have just one cub at a time. Learn facts about the honey badger, see photos, read the field guide and lesson plans, and watch videos and a live webcam in Kenya with Mpala Live! It is the only species in the genus Mellivora and in the mustelid subfamily Mellivorinae. Honey badgers, also known as ratels, are related to skunks, otters, ferrets, and other badgers. Aside from their physical similarities, the honey badger also boasts a … Where do honey badgers live? Viverra capensis was the scientific name used by Johann Christian Daniel von Schreber in 1777 who described a honey badger skin from the Cape of Good Hope. They’re also eaten as bushmeat and harvested for the traditional medicine trade; a reputation for bravery and tenacity make honey badgers popular for traditional medicine. All rights reserved. The honey badger is not a true badger. Badgers can live for up to 14 years. Badger dens or burrows are conspicuous, consisting of a large mound of dirt piled around a 10- to 12-inch- diameter hole. The dental formula is: 3.1.3.13.1.3.1. Nevertheless, the honey badger is exceedingly "badger-like", and has a reputation for being one of the most fearless and relentless animals on Earth. It is known to savagely and fearlessly attack almost any other species when escape is impossible, reportedly even repelling much larger predators such as lion and hyena. [57], "Ratel" redirects here. Honey badgers live in burrows that they dig into the sand themselves, and these claws certainly come in handy when it comes to making itself a home. It is known to range from sea level to as much as 2,600 m above sea level in the Moroccan High Atlas and 4,000 m in Ethiopia's Bale Mountains. [6], In the 19th and 20th centuries, 16 zoological specimens of the honey badger were described and proposed as subspecies. The honey badger is currently listed as ‘Least Concern’ by IUCN, but their population is decreasing. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/h/honey-badger.html. Females give birth to litters of up to six cubs. They vocalise through plaintive whines. It also uses old burrows of aardvark, warthog and termite mounds. They also eat insects, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals, as well as roots, bulbs, berries, and fruits. The honey badger is mostly solitary, but has also been sighted in Africa to hunt in pairs during the breeding season in May. [33], The honey badger is notorious for its strength, ferocity and toughness. The honey badger has short and sturdy legs, with five toes on each foot. Their skin is hard to penetrate, and its looseness allows them to twist and turn on their attackers when held. The ferret badgers are found in southern and eastern Asia. Badgers are active year round, that is to say do not hibernate during the winter. [24][25], There are two pairs of mammae. The bulk of its prey comprised species weighing more than 100 g (3.5 oz) such as cobras, young African rock python and South African springhare. They are seldom found in areas that have many trees. Honey badgers, or ratel, as they're often called in some parts of Africa (a word that might be derived from raat, the Dutch word for honeycomb), are more closely related to a weasel than a European badger, and they actually don't eat honey, though their weakness for beehives often gets them in trouble with humans. [49], During the British occupation of Basra in 2007, rumours of "man-eating badgers" emerged from the local population, including allegations that these beasts were released by the British troops, something that the British categorically denied. [32] Honey badgers of the cottoni subspecies are unique in being completely black. [15] The skin around the neck is 6 millimetres (0.24 in) thick, an adaptation to fighting conspecifics. [52] The director of Basra's veterinary hospital, Mushtaq Abdul-Mahdi, confirmed that honey badgers had been seen in the area as early as 1986. For other uses, see. The coat on the back consists largely of very long, pure white bristle-hairs amongst long, fine, black underfur. Badgers are members of the weasel family and have the musky odor characteristic of this family. [1], Honey badgers often become serious poultry predators. The mean weight of adult honey badgers from different areas has been reported at anywhere between 6.4 to 12 kg (14 to 26 lb), with a median of roughly 9 kg (20 lb), per various studies. Honey badgers can be found throughout most of sub-Saharan Africa, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and western Asia. Honey badgers (Mellivora capensis), also known as ratels, are members of the weasel family and not actually badgers. Its gestation period is thought to last six months, usually resulting in two cubs, which are born blind. The only Mellivora in the world. Because of their strength and persistence, they are difficult to deter. [37][38] African rock pythons,[7][39] Nile crocodiles and spotted hyenas also prey on honey badgers occasionally. They are known to rip thick planks from hen-houses or burrow underneath stone foundations. Badgers prefer dry, open grasslands, though they are very adaptable. In the Kalahari, honey badgers were also observed to attack domestic sheep and goats, as well as kill and eat black mambas. Mellivorina was proposed as a tribe name by John Edward Gray in 1865.[2]. They do really slow down and enter into stages of torpor, a physiological slowing of the entire body, for short periods over the winter. Badgers are primarily nocturnal and do most of their hunting at night. It often raids beehives in search of both bee larvae and honey. Honey badgers live alone in self-dug holes. Although in the 1860s it was assigned to the badger subfamily, the Melinae, it is now generally agreed that it bears very few similarities to the Melinae. The badger is physically well equipped for a lifestyle that revolves around digging and is the most fossorial of Kansas furbearers. [31], The winter fur is long, (being 40–50 mm (1.6–2.0 in) long on the lower back), and consists of sparse, coarse, bristle-like hairs, with minimal underfur. Honey badgers studied in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park preyed largely on geckos and skinks (47.9% of prey species), gerbils and mice (39.7% of prey). [47] Cubs vocalise through plaintive whines. A shocking video of a python, honey badger and two jackals fighting each other has gone viral after a group of tourists recorded it on safari in Africa. Some individuals have even been observed to chase away lion cubs from kills. Surplus killing is common during these events, with one incident resulting in the death of 17 Muscovy ducks and 36 chickens. [45], Despite popular belief, there is no evidence that honeyguides guide the honey badger. The honey badger (Mellivora capensis), also known as the ratel (/ˈreɪtəl/ or /ˈrɑːtəl/), is a mammal widely distributed in Africa, Southwest Asia, and the Indian subcontinent. Usually, honey badgers forage during the day, but they will hunt at night near human habitation. They are sturdy and impressive, but they … What States Do Badgers Live In? [42] [citation needed] According to a 1941 volume of The Fauna of British India, the honey badger has also been reported to dig up human corpses in the country. Despite their relatively small size, honey badgers have thick, tough skin that can withstand the piercings of traditional arrows and spears,extremely powerful jaws and teeth, and the ability to let off powerful odours to ward off large predators like lions. They are good diggers, being able to dig tunnels into hard ground in 10 minutes. The skin is also tough enough to resist several machete blows. How long do honey badgers live? The canine teeth are exceptionally short for carnivores. © 1996-2015 National Geographic Society, © 2015- In fact, these medium-size members of the weasel family have super-sized attitudes. Craig Pemberton, Creative Commons License Diet . ratelus (Fraser, 1862), The honey badger has a fairly long body, but is distinctly thick-set and broad across the back. [7] [7] When foraging for vegetables, it lifts stones or tears bark from trees. Honey Badgers Are Not Invincible, But Nature Is Pragmatic. The smell of the pouch is reportedly "suffocating", and may assist in calming bees when raiding beehives.[28]. These burrows usually have only one entry, are usually only 1–3 m (3.3–9.8 ft) long with a nesting chamber that is not lined with any bedding. It also uses old burrows of aardvark, warthog and termite mounds. Hairs are even sparser on the flanks, belly and groin. It is a skilled digger, able to dig tunnels into hard ground in 10 minutes. If horses, cattle, or Cape buffalos intrude upon a honey badger's burrow, it will attack them. [53], In many parts of North India, honey badgers are reported to have been living in the close vicinity of human dwellings, leading to many instances of attacks on poultry, small livestock animals and, sometimes, even children. Some also live in woods, quarries, hedgerows, sea cliffs and moorland. Honey badgers of the subspecies signata have a second lower molar on the left side of their jaws, but not the right. Their status has risen to ‘Near Threatened’ in Southern Africa in the past, as well as in Morocco, and they are considered ‘Endangered’ in Niger. [31] [5] Differences between Mellivorinae and Guloninae include differences in their dentition formulae. Their little critters can … In captivity honey badgers can live up to 24 years but in the wild are only likely to live 7-8 years, may be less. [16] It accesses a large part of its food by digging it out of burrows. These burrows always only have one passage and a nesting chamber and are usually not large, about 1–3 metres long. Despite its name, the honey badger does not closely resemble other badger species; instead, it bears more anatomical similarities to weasels. [citation needed] They retaliate fiercely when attacked. Badgers are members of the weasel family and have the musky odor characteristic of this family. The Virtual Sett – The data", "Convergence and remarkably consistent constraint in the evolution of carnivore skull shape", "Relative brain size in the mammalian carnivores of the Cape Province of South Africa", "Prevalence of parasitic infestations in captive wild carnivores at Dhaka Zoo", Morphological study of the lingual papillae in Mellivora capensis tongue, Annual and circadian activity patterns of badgers (Meles meles) in Białowieża Primeval Forest (eastern Poland) compared with other Palaearctic populations, "Honey badger videos, photos and facts – Mellivora capensis", "Interspecific killing among mammalian carnivores", "Diet of leopards in the southern Cape, South Africa", Beehive Fences to Deter Both Elephants and Honey Badgers, "Sexual and seasonal variation in the diet and foraging behaviour of a sexually dimorphic carnivore, the honey badger (, "Bombs, guns, gangs – now Basra falls prey to the monster badger", https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Honey_badger&oldid=991298612, Wikipedia indefinitely semi-protected pages, Articles containing potentially dated statements from 2005, All articles containing potentially dated statements, Articles with unsourced statements from October 2019, Articles with unsourced statements from January 2011, Articles with unsourced statements from October 2012, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, The entire upper side from the face to half-way along the tail is pure creamy white with little admixture of black hairs. However you may see a badger or their tracks out scavenging for food during the winter when much of their diet consists of carrion. Badgers are found in a number of states across the central United States, the western U.S., the southwestern U.S., and in the Great Lakes region. Fun Facts. The feet are armed with very strong claws, which are short on the hind legs and remarkably long on the forelimbs. Honey badgers tend to live in low densities, which makes assessing the population harder. In order to get their prey, badgers have to dig them out of their own burrows, and this is something they are well adapted to do. Most honey badgers are active throughout the day, though near human settlements they may prefer the cover of darkness. [39][43] A honey badger was suspected to have broken up the shells of tent tortoises in the Nama Karoo. Mellivorae was proposed as name for the genus by Gottlieb Conrad Christian Storr in 1780. • Badgers have visible small ears, but honey badger’s ears almost invisible. Though not in the same subfamily as the wolverines, which are a genus of large-sized and atypical Guloninae, the honey badger can be regarded as another, analogous, form of outsized weasel or polecat. They can breed at any time of the year and choose months when temperature and food availability are optimal. [41] It feeds on a wide range of vertebrates and seems to subsist primarily on small vertebrates. [29] The skull is very solidly built, with that of adults having no trace of an independent bone structure. Because of its wide range and occurrence in a variety of habitats, it is listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List. They live in habitats including rainforests, savannahs, deserts and scrublands. They can adapt to a variety of conditions, from warm rain forests to cool mountains. Although it feeds predominantly on soft foods, the honey badger's cheek teeth are often extensively worn. The skull bears little similarity to that of the European badger, and greatly resembles a larger version of that of a marbled polecat. 2020 National Geographic Partners, LLC. Badgers are one of the most fearless animals on the block. Finally, Honey Badgers have a history or killing humans, and therefore you should strongly consider if you are willing to die before you decide to keep a Honey Badger as a pet. The Honey badger is a diurnal animal. Honey badgers can easily adapt to different environments. The only safe grip on a honey badger is on the back of the neck. Meanwhile, this badger is a solitary animal, typically having a large home range. A bit bigger than a house cat, they live … Though honey badgers are widespread and considered abundant, they are hunted or persecuted in certain regions, especially when they come into conflict with farmers and beekeepers. Badgers prefer open country with light to moderate cover, such as pastures and rangelands inhabited by burrowing rodents. Everything about the American badger is made for digging. A honey badger, Mellivora capensis, at the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo. They are often seen alone, though it’s not uncommon to spot mating pairs. Their home ranges can be as vast as about 193 square miles (500 square kilometers). It possesses an extra lower molar on the left side of the jaw, This page was last edited on 29 November 2020, at 09:48. Badgers are found at elevations of up to 12,000 feet (3,600 m). Females are smaller than males. [26] The honey badger possesses an anal pouch which, unusual among mustelids, is eversible,[27] a trait shared with hyenas and mongooses. Its distinguishing feature from other subspecies is the lack of the usual white bristle-hairs in the lumbar area, Although its pelage is the normal dense white over the crown, this pale colour starts to thin out over the neck and shoulders, continuing to the rump where it fades into black. Honey badgers are native to sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and India. The fur is typically entirely black, with thin and harsh hairs. [9] When confronting dogs, honey badgers scream like bear cubs. Mountain Lions. The species first appeared during the middle Pliocene in Asia. The American badger is a member of the Mustelidae, a diverse family of carnivorous mammals that also includes weasels, otters, ferrets, and the wolverine. [46], Little is known of the honey badger's breeding habits. Badgers are found at elevations of up to 12,000 feet (3,600 m). [7] Skull length is 13.9–14.5 cm (5.5–5.7 in) in males and 13 cm (5.1 in) for females. Honey badger distribution. A single tunnel ends in a chamber, which is usually bare, where the honey badger rests. They live in underground burrow that they will use for their nest. [44] In India, honey badgers are said to dig up human corpses. Yet until now, we've been ignorant of both honey badgers and Randall's animals in general. The eyes are small, and the ears are little more than ridges on the skin,[15] another possible adaptation to avoiding damage while fighting.[16]. Their real name is Mellivora capensis. The summer fur is shorter (being only 15 mm (0.59 in) long on the back) and even sparser, with the belly being half bare. Its lifespan in the wild is unknown, though captive individuals have been known to live for approximately 24 years. As many as 50,000 badgers are killed each year in Britain on the roads. The honey badger is in a separate genus from the American and European badgers, and is actually more closely related to wolverines and weasels. Badgers also are found in parts of Canada and Mexico, according to The Animal Spot. typicus (Smith, 1833) [48], The honey badger ranges through most of sub-Saharan Africa, from the Western Cape, South Africa, to southern Morocco and southwestern Algeria and outside Africa through Arabia, Iran and western Asia to Turkmenistan and the Indian Peninsula. "[51] The event received coverage in the Western press during the 2007 silly season. Honey badgers are good swimmers and can climb trees. Adults measure 23 to 28 cm (9.1 to 11.0 in) in shoulder height and 55–77 cm (22–30 in) in body length, with the tail adding another 12–30 cm (4.7–11.8 in). It is a partially plantigrade animal whose soles are thickly padded and naked up to the wrists. Kowalczyk, R., Jȩdrzejewska, B., & Zalewski, A. A large white band covers the upper body, from the top of the head to the base of the tail. They are seldom found in areas that have many trees. It is a skilled digger, able to dig tunnels into hard ground in 10 minutes. The deputy dean of Basra's veterinary college, Ghazi Yaqub Azzam, speculated that "the badgers were being driven towards the city because of flooding in marshland north of Basra. Mohammed, A. H. S., Haider, S. K., & Salman, R. A. As of 2005[update], 12 subspecies are recognised as valid taxa. An average litter size is 2-3 offspring. vernayi (Roberts, 1932), ratel (Horsfield, 1851) (2003). Badgers prefer open country with light to moderate cover, such as pastures and rangelands inhabited by burrowing rodents. [30] In Kalahari Gemsbok National Park, a honey badger was killed by a lion. They are solitary hunters, except during the breeding season, when they may hunt in pairs. With its long claws, the honey badger digs burrows up to 9 feet (3 meters) long and up to 5 feet (1.5 meters) deep. The sides of the head and lower body are pure black. The tail is short and is covered in long hairs, save for below the base. The Honey Badger; nature’s cockiest, scrappiest and most badass animal that really, just doesn’t care. [4]

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