The South Africans have a saying. “So taai soos a ratel”. Translation. As tough as a honey badger. The Guinness Book of World Record’s six time winner of the world’s most fearless animal is…a thirty pound weasel that is known to climb into bee’s nests, take bites from cobras, scare off lions, and even to go so low as to bite off a male animal’s…gentleman’s area.
But is this animal’s ferocity shrouded in myth? Will it really bite off your balls? Or has its real nature just been exaggerated by its huge internet following.
In order to find an answer to what the honey badger really is, we must gain some background knowledge of this animal, then look at the feats and known exploits, to understand why it has become such an internet phenomenon
The honey badger, also known as the ratel, is not really a badger at all, and is in fact part of the mustelid, or weasel family. They are found all across Sub-Saharan Africa, as well as the Middle East, and India. This animal, on average, is only about 2 feet in length, and weighs up to 35 pounds. This is surprising, due to the honey badgers massive appetite. The diet of a honey badger is very broad. They are solitary hunters, and eat everything from small rodents, insects, and frogs, to cobras, monitor lizards, even animal carcasses. But what is astonishing is the lengths this animal is willing to go to in order to get food. Reports in India, dating back before 1941, have documentation stating that honey badgers have been known to tunnel into the graves of human corpses in order to get an easy meal. This trait is learned from the badger’s uncanny ability to dig gerbils and ground squirrels out of their burrows. Honey badgers have developed other adaptations to compete with surrounding predators as well. For example, they have an incredibly strong resistance to poison and venom. Video documentation has shown mind-boggling feats of this animal completing acts that most would agree takes either extreme courage, or stupidity....
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