When you think about the fiercest animals on Earth, what do you think of? Lions? Tigers? Bears? Oh my! You probably don’t think about the honey badger, do you?

The honey badger sounds — and looks — kind of sweet, doesn’t it? Based upon name alone, the honey badger seems like it might be a cross between a loveable weasel and Winnie the Pooh. Don’t let it fool you! You wouldn’t want to meet a honey badger in a dark alley.

The honey badger — also known by its Afrikaans name: ratel — is a member of the weasel family. It’s related to several other animals, including skunks, otters, ferrets and other types of badgers (although they look more like weasels than other types of badgers).

It gets its English name — honey badger — from the fact that it appears to love honey. Often led by the honeyguide bird, honey badgers will bravely stick their hands and head right into the midst of a buzzing beehive. What they’re really looking for, though, are the bee larvae that can be found in the honey.

Honey badgers can be found throughout Africa, Southwest Asia and India. They are known as extremely tough animals that can survive in harsh conditions. Male honey badgers can weigh up to 30 pounds and regularly patrol a home territory of up to 200 square miles.

So what makes honey badgers so tough? First, they have glands similar to skunks that allow them to keep predators away with a “stink bomb.” They don’t spray like skunks, but potential predators get the message loud and clear.

Honey badgers are also known for being quite mean. They pick fights with all sorts of animals you’d never believe they could conquer…but they do! From venomous snakes to larger mammals, honey badgers can be fearsome foes.

Honey badgers have very tough, thick, loose skin. If an animal grabs a honey badger by the neck, the honey badger can usually twist around and get far enough away to bite back. With extremely sharp teeth and claws, honey badgers don’t lose many battles.

Although honey badgers will eat almost anything, one of their favorite foods is snake. That’s right…even venomous snakes like the puff adder! Although scientists don’t really understand why, honey badgers have developed a resistance to some of the most lethal snake venoms in the world, allowing them to snack on some of the most dangerous snakes on Earth!

22 Join the Discussion

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    • Thanks for joining us today, Allycat! We love seeing your comments and knowing that your Wonder Friends at school are even creating a Wonderopolis of their own– how SUPER! We hope to see you tomorrow, Allycat, there is so much fun to be had! :)

  1. Hey wonderopolis!

    Look this is all the stuff that I learned about in this video:

    Before I watch this video I never knew what a What a Badger was.

    Also it is a member of the weasel family.

    It can be found in Africa, southwestern Asia and

    Lastly I learned that many badgers have very tough, thick, loose skin.

    • WAY TO GO, Jules, you’ve learned so much today! :) We are so proud of you and all the WONDERing you’ve been doing! We Wonder if you’ve ever seen a badger in real life? :)

  2. Dear Wonderopolis,
    I think today’s video was really cool. I thought it was amazing how a Badger can eat a snake, and not get killed. So they must be really fast. At first I really did think it was a skunk.

    I think that tomorrow’s wonder will be light because nothing is faster than light traveling. Here I am still wondering what the part sleek means. Wait now I think it’s a speedy fast car. I can’t wait to see what tomorrow’s wonder is. Thanks for reading!

    • Hi there, Natalie! Badgers are pretty amazing animals– they might look harmless, but when they feel threatened, they can protect themselves! And you’re right, they DO look like skunks!

      We will see you tomorrow for a speedy Wonder! :)

  3. Hello wonderopolis I am writing in English now. Sorry if it is wrong, I do not usually type in English. Do you know Spanish? If you do not please read this. I loved the post on bagers. Please post more.

    • Hi there Jose G, thanks for commenting today! We are glad you were WONDERing with us, and you did a SUPER job commenting in English. You don’t have to worry about getting everything correct, as long as you’re practicing and trying! We are learning Spanish, but we love to learn about different languages! We think it’s great that you are bilingual- keep up the great work! :)

  4. Wow Jose I think it’s cool you speak spanish! Wonderopolis, I love your site and this post on honey=sweet badgers=fierce love the clues, they’re challenging, but also simple if you REALLY put your mind to it!

    • Hi there, Alyssa, thanks for commenting on our Wonder today! We agree with you, too– way to go Jose! We are so happy that you enjoy Wonderopolis and we like that you’re thinking outside the box to guess the next day’s Wonder! We love that you’re using your imagination! :)

  5. I once read a book called Honey… Honey… Honey, there was a honey badger and a honey bird. The bird finds the honey and the badger gets it but one day, the badger did not share the honey, so the bird went to get a lion, meanwhile the badger found honey and ate it, suddenly a lion chased after the badger, and saw the bird laughing, so he promised to share. :) :)

    • Hi there, Carlos! You did a SUPER job of summarizing the book you read that included the honey badger! We think the characters in the book sound interesting– especially since they become friends at the end! :)

    • We’re sorry to hear that you’re bored today, Caira! We hope you have a super rest of the day and you come back to visit us here at Wonderopolis! :)

    • Way to go, Elise, you are doing a GREAT job of WONDERing! We bet you’ll have so many fun facts to share this weekend! Thanks for sharing your comment– welcome to Wonderopolis! We’re so glad you’re here! :)

  6. The answer to that wonder is easy. What badger has a sweet tooth is the sweet tooth badger. They are small, they are black, white and a little brown, and they have a big sweet tooth. :)
    I’m just kidding there’s no such thing.

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Have you ever wondered…

  • What badger has a sweet tooth?
  • Where do honey badgers live?
  • Can a honey badger survive a venomous snake bite?

Wonder Gallery

Try It Out

It probably goes without saying that honey badgers don’t make good pets. But what if someone left a baby honey badger on your doorstep one night? Would you raise it? Could you teach it to be a good animal citizen?

Let your imagination run wild and consider what life might be like if you had a baby honey badger as a pet. What would you do together? What would you feed it? Would it sleep at the foot of your bed?

Write a short story telling about your wild life as the owner of a pet honey badger. Be as creative as you want. When you’re finished, share your story with your Wonder Friends on Facebook. We can’t wait to read your story!

Still Wondering

Check out Science NetLinks’ Healing Honey audio podcast to learn more about a kind of honey from New Zealand that may reverse antibiotic resistance in wound infections.

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