A honey badger, or ratel from Africa and Asia. Armed with strong claws, it can defend itself from attack with great ferocity,...Read More >>A honey badger, or ratel from Africa and Asia. Armed with strong claws, it can defend itself from attack with great ferocity, even repelling lions and African buffaloes. Its thick skin cannot be penetrated by bites, bee stings or porcupine quills—even blows from a machete or spear. Badgers are nocturnal, omnivorous (feeding on both plants and animals) members of the weasel family. They have stocky bodies and strong paws for burrowing. There are 11 species of badger. Most feed on earthworms, slugs and insects, but some badgers will also kill and eat birds and small mammals, such as hedgehogs. The honey badger, also called a ratel, breaks open beehives to reach the honey inside. It also feeds on a wide range of other foods.
American badger, western and central US, south-central Canada and northern Mexico, 60–75 cm (24–30 inches) long. The badger lives...Read More >>American badger, western and central US, south-central Canada and northern Mexico, 60–75 cm (24–30 inches) long. The badger lives in prairie grasslands, preying by night on a range of animals, including mice, squirrels, groundhogs, rattlesnakes and ground-nesting birds. It uses its sharp, curved claws to dig them out of their burrows.
European badger, Europe, up to 90 cm (3 ft) long.
The European badger spends the day in its underground home, called a sett, which it shares with other members of its family or clan. At night, lone badgers roam their territories—marked by dung—in search of earthworms, as well as other foods such as mice, voles, insects, fruit and roots. They hunt using their excellent senses of smell and hearing; their eyesight, not needed in the dark, is poor.
It was once thought that the honey badger might be guided to a bees' nest by the distinctive call of the honeyguide, a bird. The badger—so the theory went—broke open the nest for both it and the bird feed on the honey inside. This has never been witnessed. The honeyguide is, however, known to co-operate with humans so it can feed on the honey from the bees' nest they find.
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