10 Interesting Facts About Honey Badgers

Facts About Honey Badgers
by null is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

There are many interesting facts about honey badgers. Honey badgers, also known as ratels, are one group of mammals that often capture the attention of animal lovers due to some characteristics they possess that make them one of nature’s most exciting creations.

These creatures got their names primarily due to their love for feeding on honey, and they weigh between 13 to 30 pounds and are just about 11 inches tall.

“Honey badgers do not care” is a famous phrase often used to describe this creature, which despite its name, bears more resemblance to weasels than actual badgers.

Despite how fascinating they are, scientists haven’t studied honey badgers so well, maybe because of the aggressive and unfriendly nature that makes people avoid them.

However, we explore some well-known facts about the honey badgers you might love to read about:

1. Their Habitat

Honey badgers are commonly found in Sub-Saharan Africa, parts of Morocco and Algeria, Southwest Asia, and India. According to National Geographic, honey badgers can adapt to various conditions, from warm rainforests to cool mountains. Their home ranges can be about 193 square miles (500 square kilometers). Honey badgers are good swimmers and tree climbers and have the ability marches and mountainous areas. Honey badgers dig tunnels about 9 feet long and 5 feet deep to survive in hot and dry terrains. They dig out these burrows into the dusty soil and create chambers at the end of the tunnels, which they use as their resting place.

2. They are Fearless

Facts About Honey Badgers
by Marie Hale is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Another facts about honey badgers that make them fascinating is that they are fearless. A simple Google search of “the most fearless animal in the world” would likely bring up the honey badger. This is true, given that there are several documented cases of honey badgers engaging in fights against animals bigger and stronger than them and never backing down. The Guinness Book of Records lists the honey badgers as the world’s most fearless animals, and they have been known to fight off predators such as lions and hyenas. Sometimes in August 2020, a video taken by a tourist at the Luangwa National Game Park in Zambia showed a pair of honey badgers taking on a pride of lions, and despite being outnumbered, they successfully fended off the pride of lions and forced them to retreat. They are also known to eat venomous animals and insects such as cobras and scorpions and are not afraid to engage them in a fight before killing them. They also invade bee hives regularly in search of honey.

3. They have very Thick and Rubbery Skins

Honey badgers have a great love for eating honey, hence their name. To get the honey, they have to raid the beehives directly. While other animals, and even humans, can consider it a suicide mission to invade a beehive due to the dangers associated with bee stings, honey badgers just don’t care. The bees’ sting has little or no effects on them. This is because honey badgers have very thick skin. It is reported that a honey badger’s skin is at least 6 millimeters thick, which is more than that of most animals except elephants, rhinos, and giraffes. This thickness protects them from bees’ stings and sharp bites from predators such as snakes, lions, hyenas, and spear and machete cuts by humans. The honey badger skin is also known to be rubbery, which allows them to twist and turn quickly from the grip of predators. This unique component of their skin gives them a good defense against predators.

4. They have Anti-Venomous Properties

Honey Badgers - animals immune to snake venom
by Peter Trimming is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Among the many interesting facts about honey badgers is their resistance to venom from snakes and other poisonous animals. Honey badgers are well known for eating venomous snakes and scorpions so much that it makes up about 25% of their diet. Given their fearless nature and skin thickness, the bite from venomous snakes has little to no effects on them. However, consuming a venomous snake with the venom still intact can be lethal to anyone, whether animal or human, but this doesn’t apply to the daring honey badger. The bite from a cobra, one of the most vicious animals in the world, has been known to put the honey badger to sleep, whereas it could instantly kill another animal several times bigger than the honey badger. According to scientists, honey badgers carry cellular mutations that prevent animal venoms from entering their cells. According to some studies, this mutation has also existed in mongooses, hedgehogs, and pigs. The venom from any animal, be it snakes, scorpions, or bees, has little effect on the honey badger. Scientists have studied this unusual resistance to venom to develop more potent anti-venom medicine for humans.

5. Honey Badgers are Diggers

Honey badgers are blessed with very sharp claws for fingers that make it easy for them to dig the ground. And they love to dig. They scour the caves they live in and have a network of underground channels to keep predators at bay. Honey badgers can dig a 10-foot-long tunnel into the earth within 10 minutes. They can also drill into termite mounds, tree trunks, concrete floors, and anywhere their long claws can reach. Digging is another way to capture their prey from their hiding places, especially termites and insects. This ability makes honey badgers very excellent predators.

6. They Eat Anything

The feeding habits of honey badgers are another interesting fact about them. Although Honey Badgers are naturally omnivores, they are not limited in their choice of diet. They eat anything from mammals, birds, reptiles, insects, rodents, bee larvae, plants, fruits, eggs, roots, barks, and many more. They can also eat animal carcasses, and in parts of India, they have been known to dig up buried human remains for consumption. Of course, their favorite food remains honey.

7. They have a Unique Social Life

Honey badgers are known to be solitary animals, although they can sometimes be seen in small family groups. They can be shy at times and typically live independently for most of their lives and avoid contact with humans and animals, even their kind. Honey badgers are also nocturnal animals, meaning they are primarily active at night but are also known for being involved in the daytime. They tend to form a hierarchical structure with the dominant male and females at the top. They are also very territorial, patrolling their habitat regularly and protecting it from intruders with much vigor. Honey badgers sometimes invade the dens of other animals, attacking them and sending them out of their homes.

8. Honey Badgers Do Not Reproduce Often

Honey badgers mate all through the years but are known to produce only one litter of two to three cubs yearly. The gestation period for a female honey badger is usually between 50-70 days, with births occurring between April and June. Young cubs are born in caves, where they live for up to three months, and continue to be cared for by their mothers until they are one year of age. Although there isn’t a known estimate of the worldwide population of honey badgers, they are disappearing from places where they were once plentiful. However, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature has listed them as species of most minor concern and, therefore, not in danger of extinction.

9. They are Very Smart Animals

One would expect an animal as aggressive as a honey badger to be dumb or reckless, but such isn’t the case with honey badgers. Keen observation of honey badgers’ behaviors has made animalists conclude that they are ingenious animals. They have large brains for their body size and are one of the few non-primate species known to use tools. Captive honey badgers have been pictured using tools to make bridges and open cages and increase their heights to get over fences or walls. One notable example is that of Stoffle, a captive honey badger from South Africa whose owner has published videos of him and his female companion successfully attempting to escape from their cages using tires, rakes, logs, rocks, and mud. According to the reports, nothing has been able to keep Stoffle, the honey badger, in his enclosure. On one occasion, he even broke into the home of his owner. Animal behavior experts have opined that Stoffle’s behavior shows clearly how underestimated and understudied the intelligence of honey badgers is.

10. There are 12 Species of Honey Badgers

There are 12 subspecies of honey badgers living in different areas scattered across the world. These include Cape Ratel (South and Southwestern Africa)

  • Cape Ratel (South and SouthWestern Africa)
  • Indian Ratel (Asian, Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, India)
  • Nepalese Ratel (Nepal)
  • White Backed Ratel (West Africa, Southern Morocco, Congo, Gabon, Central Africa Republic)
  • Black Ratel (Ghana, Congo)
  • Lake Chad Ratel (Sudan, Somali)
  • Speckled Ratel (Sierra Leone)
  • Ethiopian Ratel (Ethiopia)
  • Persian Ratel (Iran, Iraq)
  • Kenyan Ratel (Kenya)
  • Arabian Ratel (Southern Arabia)
  • Turkmenian Ratel (Turkmenistan)


Honey badgers are indeed one of the most interesting wild animals that lovers of nature would very much enjoy watching and studying.

However, given their aggressive and unfriendly nature, it is advisable to steer clear of a honey badger if you encounter one.

Here are the facts about honey badgers, and we hope you enjoyed it; if you think we missed anyone, kindly let us know.

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