Episode 68 – Honey Badger: The Badger Who Lived

“And today we’re talking about the John Wick of weasels and like John Wick, you just don’t want to get in it’s way. But more on that later.”

The plains of sub-Saharan Africa are a dangerous place for mid- to smallish-sized mammals. There are lots of predators that want to make a meal out of you and your posterity. For the honey badger, there is no middle ground—it’s all or nothing. Don’t let its dame fool you, the badger is always ready to put up its dukes and fight to the death with anything that rubs it the wrong way. To be this aggro, the honey badger needs to have some interesting tools in its survival kit that can only be described here in Life Death and Taxonomy.


  • The Honey badger lives in sub-Saharan Africa, the middle-east, and India.
  • It’s a versatile animal and can live in a variety of habitats from sea level to mountain areas.


  • The honey badger has a long body with a thick powerful build.
  • They have short thick fur that’s white on their backs from the top of their head to their short bushy tail.
  • Their face, limbs and belly are black or dark brown.
  • They have short stocky legs, powerful claws, and long neck with a relatively small head.
  • They have short eyes and small ears which is believed to be an adaptation for protection while fighting.

Measure Up

Length – 55–77 cm (22–30 in) – 30 inches – How many honey badgers go into the largest recorded bee hive? (12-feet) Hint: The hive was found in Utah, which is apparently sometimes called the beehive state. The hive itself was home to around 60,000 honeybees, which is a third of the population of Salt Lake City. Answer: 4.8 badgers

Male Weight – 9 to 16 kg (20 to 35 lb) – How many honey bees go into the weight of a male honey badger? (0.004 ounces) Hint: A single honey bee can produce one tablespoon of honey in its lifetime. Also, the Utah hive had about 15 pounds of bees in it. Answer: 140,000 bees

Fast Facts

  • Honey badgers are solitary animals but they may hunt in pairs during mating season.
  • They will eat just about anything including insects, frogs, tortoises, turtles, lizards, rodents, snakes, birds and eggs.
  • They are skilled diggers and dig burrows that range between 3 and 10 feet deep.
    • Badgers can dig burrows in as little as 10 minutes.
    • They don’t place bedding in burrows because bedding is for dandy aardvarks and moles and real badgers sleep in the dirt and like it.
  • If you’re thinking their lack of Serta perfect sleepers means their primitive creatures then you’re wrong.
    • They are one of the few animals of their kind to use tools, particularly when it comes to reaching new heights
    • They have been observed rolling logs to stand on to reach pray. When enclosed, they have been seen propping up sticks, racks, and heaps of mud and stone to escape captivity.
  • Honey badgers are strong, ferocious, and tireless hunters and fighter. When their territory is intruded upon, they will attack anything including large animals like lions and horses.
    • They may even chase large predators like lions away from their kills.
    • In fact, they are so feared in the animal kingdom that larger predators are unlikely to hunt them.
    • Because of this reputation, some researchers believe that cheetah cubs have a similar counter-shading as an adaptation to mimic honey badgers.
    • When predators see a bunch of cubs in a thicket, they may not want to risk it actually being a couple of grumpy badgers.