Honey Badger | The Ultimate Guide

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Honey badgers are extremely unique wild animals that have exceptional hunting abilities. In this article, you’ll have the opportunity to learn several interesting facts about how honey badgers survive. We’ll discuss their survival skills, appearance, and population estimates across various regions of the world. 

Honey badgers can be found in Africa and parts of Asia. They weigh on average 25 pounds and are 25 inches in length. It is estimated that the honey badger’s population numbers are slowly decreasing. While they are dubbed honey badgers, they are quite different from other common types of badgers.

The honey badger’s scientific name is (Mellivora capensis) also known as the Ratel. While they share the name of a traditional badger, they are a different species of the Mustelid family. Honey badgers are more closely related to weasels than traditional badgers. Source.

Honey badgers can live for up to a decade in the wilderness. They can survive for about twice as long in captivity. In terms of size, honey badgers can grow to be approximately 25 inches in length. They usually weigh around 25 pounds, but some have been estimated to reach up to 30 pounds.

Honey badgers that suffer from an insufficient diet can weigh as little as 10 pounds. They have an exceptional ability to adapt to their local environments and we’ll discuss some of their important skills in the following sections.

See our article for Types of Badgers here.

What Do Honey Badgers Look Like

It’s common for observers to misidentify a honey badger for a skunk because they look so similar. Both skunks and honey badgers are generally nocturnal, which means they come out at the same time of the night.

With that being said, honey badgers can be identified by their short tail, which is one contrast to that of a skunk. They can be dark gray, but they are usually black and white with a major difference in color between their upper body and lower body. The honey badger’s tail is bushy and 6-12 inches long.

Honey badgers are small with short legs, they stay low to the ground and waddle when they walk. Their short tails make it harder to balance, so climbing things is not their strong suit, however, they can still climb when they have to.

See our article for Badger Tails here.

Honey Badgers Have Exceptional Digging Skills

Honey badgers love to dig by using their naturally long and sharp claws. They can be seen digging every single day and they will use their digging abilities to hunt other small animals that may be living underground. 

Honey badgers will also use their digging skills to build their own den, or dig out and add on to other dens, making a network of tunnels that are sometimes called a sett. They tend to work on their tunnel systems daily, but it depends on the local environment. Honey badgers will also make their dens inside of hollow trees and other types of habitats.

In addition to their natural collection of skills, honey badgers also happen to be fairly intelligent and smart. They have exceptional senses and survival instincts that allow them to adapt to their environment and outsmart potential predators. 

Are Honey Badgers Dangerous?

Honey badgers have a reputation as being feared. Despite them being very small animals, the size of a skunk, or a very large housecat, they have extremely sharp claws that can rip through any predator that comes up against them. They are dangerous to any animal that may invade their territory.

How aggressive is a honey badger? Honey badgers can be very aggressive if they think they are in danger or if their territory is crossed by another animal. If you want to view a honey badger in real life, you should do so by visiting a wildlife center, or in the wild, make sure to keep your distance. Honey badgers do not kill or eat humans, however, if they feel threatened they will defend their territory.

Honey badgers are not safe to pet. Even a honey badger that has been raised as an exotic pet is only a tamed wild animal, not domesticated, at any moment their wild instincts could kick in and you would be in danger. You should also keep pets away from honey badgers. They may see a pet as a territorial threat, or even prey.

Are honey badgers dangerous.

Honey Badger Lifespan

How long do honey badgers live in the wild? Honey badgers that live in the wild, live to be about 10 years old. Living in the wild can be a dangerous place. Honey badgers have to deal with threats from the weather, predators and must be able to catch enough prey to survive and thrive. A honey badger in the wild must also deal with accidents. In the wild, if an animal breaks a leg or gets injured, they are not able to mend using medical procedures.

How long do honey badgers live in captivity? In captivity, honey badgers can live much longer lives. With the proper care, a honey badger can live to be 25 years old. Some honey badgers in captivity have been reported to live as long as 30 years.

Young honey badgers spend most of their days digging tunnels and looking for food. All types of badgers are excellent diggers. They rely on their digging abilities to catch food underground, and for shelter. Honey badgers are more at risk of dying, the older they get. They can die from disease, injuries, natural death, or other unforeseen circumstances.

Diet of a Honey Badger

There is no specific diet for a honey badger. They are opportunistic animals and will do whatever it takes to eat and survive. They commonly eat rodents, birds, and insects in the wilderness. On rare occasions, they may also eat some types of plants or fruits that can grow in their local environment.  

List of Foods that Honey Badgers Eat

  • Insects
  • Honey
  • Small Rodents
  • Birds
  • Fruits
  • Berries
  • Plants

An insufficient diet can contribute to lower weights for a honey badger. A honey badger would rarely have to suffer from an insufficient diet because they are capable of adapting and they are willing to eat different types of food. They live in diverse ecosystems across Africa and Asia, deserts, grasslands, and farmlands.

How did honey badgers get their name? Honey badgers got their name from their insatiable appetite for honey. They have been known to raid honeycombs as a food source. A swarm of bees is a threat that could potentially kill a honey badger who is going for the beehive. Source.

Honey badger facts video

Important Facts About Honey Badgers

Honey badgers can be considered fearless wild animals that do an excellent job at relying on their survival instincts. They can adapt to their local environment and thrive in different scenarios in the wilderness. Honey badgers are excellent at hunting other small animals by digging into the ground with their sharp claws. They also use their digging skills to build dens for themselves. 

At first sight, honey badgers might not seem like the most intimidating animal in the wilderness. You might accidentally identify a honey badger as a skunk since they often have a similar size and color appearance. Don’t underestimate their ability, since they are quite capable of protecting themselves with their sharp claws. They can vary in weight from around 15 pounds up to 35 pounds, similar to other types of badgers. 

They are not usually seen in groups together, except for mating. Honey badgers prefer to live alone and don’t look to engage with other types of animals. In rare cases, they may co-hunt with other animals like coyotes or wolves, but this is extremely rare. 

See our article for Do Badgers Hibernate here.


Where do honey badgers live?

Honey badgers can be found in various parts of Africa and Asia. They prefer to remain in warmer climates, but some can also be found in mountainous climates as well.

Are honey badgers endangered?

The honey badger population is not marked as a severely endangered species. Their population numbers are estimated to slowly be decreasing, but they are capable of adapting to their environment which allows them to thrive in different types of conditions.

Do honey badgers hibernate?

Many animals hibernate during the winter season because of colder temperatures and a lack of available food. Honey badgers usually don’t hibernate because they remain within their own den during the winter. They are usually much less active during the coldest time of the year.

Chad Fox