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Honey badgeris that you? The honey badger is part of the weasel family, related to skunks, otters, ferrets, and other badgers. Its proper name is ratel, but it gets the common name honey badger from what seems to be its favorite food: honey. Yet what they are actually looking to eat are the bee larvae found in the honey! This tough little critter has a stocky, flattened body with short, strong legs, along with long claws on the front feet for digging and defense. The honey badger's hair is thick and coarse, mostly black, with a wide gray-white stripe that stretches across its back from the top of the head to the tip of the tail.
Does it remind you of a skunk? The honey badger also has a gland at the base of its tail that stores a stinky liquid just as powerful as that of its look-alike.
Does the honey badger have a sweet personality? It would be hard to find a more quarrelsome animal than the honey badger. Also, the honey badger's skin is tough and loose, allowing it to twist around and bite an opponent that has grabbed it by the back of its neck.
Combine that with a massive skull, strong teeth, and that awful odor, and you have wildlife nobody wants to mess with! They live mainly in dry areas but are also found in forests and grasslands. Honey badgers are good swimmers and can climb trees. With its long claws, the honey badger digs burrows up to 9 feet 3 meters long and up to 5 feet 1. A single tunnel ends in a chamber, which is usually bare, where the honey badger rests.
Burrows made by Cape foxes, bat-eared foxes, yellow mongooses, and springhares are also taken over by the honey badger. As nocturnal creatures, honey badgers are extremely secretive and difficult to observe in their native habitat. They sleep most of the day, curling up into a ball to protect their face and belly. What's on the menu?
The honey badger has an appetite for food ranging from small mammals and the young of large mammals to birds, reptiles, insects, carrion, and even a little vegetation, including juicy fruits. In zoos, honey badgers eat a commercial meat diet for zoo carnivores, mice, mealworms, and crickets.
They get a bone to chew on once a week and are offered some fruit, mostly as enrichment on hot days; honeydew is a favorite. And, of course, a scoop of honey is always appreciated! Mostly solitary, honey badgers maintain loose home ranges that often overlap. They may meet up at favorite foraging areas, where they sniff each other and roll around to scent mark the ground.
Honey badgers can grunt, squeak, hiss, and whine, and are known for their deep and ominous growl. The female honey badger is left alone to give birth and raise her young. The expectant mother digs a nursery chamber and lines it with grass for her baby. After a gestation period of 7 to 10 weeks, one cub rarely two is born.
The newborn is hairless with pink skin and closed eyes. At one week of age, its skin begins to change from pink to gray; two weeks later, fine gray hair begins to grow. The familiar white stripe appears about a week after that. By the time the cub is close to three months old, it has become a perfect miniature of its parents.
It reaches adult size at 6 months is not ready to go off on its own until 14 months to 2 years of age, as the youngster needs time to develop those important hunting skills. Save Save. Honey badgers are considered endangered in parts of their rangedue largely to human encroachment, which reduces their food supply. The honey badger's sweet tooth does not make it popular with people who raise bees for their honey. Some beekeepers kill any honey badgers they see just to protect their beehives.
The honey badger's skin is so thick that it can withstand bee stings, porcupine quills, and even dog bites!
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