Infamous for its tenacity and downright cantankerous disposition, the Honey Badger may only stand 30cm high at the shoulder with a weight up to 16kg (males are much bigger than females), but that doesn’t deter them from tangling with buffaloes, elephants and lions (or anything else for that matter) daft enough to cross swords with them.
Honey Badgers inhabit a wide range of habitats, from deserts to mountains to forests, though they prefer more open habitats. They even occur in some of our cities and towns. They are equally catholic about their diet, feeding mostly on insects, eggs and rodents as well as fruits, berries, bulbs and carrion, but also including anything else they can overpower – snakes, young crocodiles, fish, amphibians, birds and mammals up to the size of small antelope have all been recorded. Although it isn’t a major part of their diet, their penchant for honey and the lengths they will go to in order to gorge themselves on it has earned them their English common name.
These tough creatures are usually seen alone or in pairs, and may be active by day or night. They are excellent climbers and rest up in crevices or holes in the ground (dug by themselves or taken over from other animals). This is also where the females give birth to litters of 1-4 pups (usually 2) at any time of year. The female raises the pups alone, moving them to a new den every few days until they can start moving around with her at around 3 months old. The pups are fully grown by the time they’re 8 months old but may remain with their mom until they’re as old as 18 months.
The IUCN considers the Honey Badger to be of least concern. It is distributed widely over Africa, the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent, but usually occurs at low densities. Honey Badgers are found all over South Africa.