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Photo: Honey Badger

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Honey badger - Africa's most fearless animal

Our photo of the week is a honey badger (Mellivora capensis), also known as the ratel in Afrikaans. Despite its name, it looks more like a weasel than any other badger.

Kariega Honey Badger Sheila Low

The picture was taken by Sheila and Joe from Australia during their recent safari at Kariega. Sheila comments, "We had a great time at the park - Johannes is a brilliant ranger.... he made sure we saw everything we wanted to see and shared a wealth of information on everything in the park."

The honey badger is a carnivorous creature with few natural predators, mostly due to its thick skin and ferocious nature. They are easily recognised with their distinctive black, white and silver-grey colouring, Their diet is varied and can include insect larvae, springhares and young black-backed jackals. They have even been known to eat highly venomous snakes such as the Cape cobra and puff adder.

Honey badgers do really like honey and will search for beehives to get it, giving them their name. Outside of conservation areas, such a Kariega Game Reserve, they can cause substantial losses to commercial beekeepers. South African beekeepers and conservationists have worked together to implement the Badger-Friendly Honey Initiative to minimize the conflict between badgers and beekeepers. As a result most South African honey is now “badger-friendly”.

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