The World’s Most Fearless Creature is the Honey Badger

Today I found out the world’s most fearless creature is the Honey Badger, according to the Guinness Book of World Records.

Honey Badgers have many reasons to be fearless.  They have very thick (about 1/4 inches), rubbery skin, which is so tough that it’s been shown to be nearly impervious to traditionally made arrows and spears.  Further, their skin can take a full blow from a sharp machete without necessarily cutting the skin all the way through.  More practically, this skin helps protect the Honey Badger from the teeth of predators.

Along with being thick and very tough, the Honey Badger’s skin is also fairly loose, which allows it quite a bit of freedom of movement within the skin. This particularly aids it when it’s being attacked by larger predators and finds itself in the predator’s clutches.  It can then squirm about in its skin and get its long claws and mouth with sharp teeth in such a position to harm the predator that is holding it.  This makes it particularly unsafe for an animal to hold the Honey Badger in its jaws, unless it kills it instantly, which is difficult.  The Honey Badger can simply squirm around and viciously attack the creature’s face and eyes.  While the Honey Badger might ultimately die in such an encounter.  The animal that killed it will likely think twice before attacking another Honey Badger.  It turns out, there is almost no safe place to hold a Honey Badger without it being able to get itself in a position to attack you.  It is thought that if you managed to grab the Honey Badger by the back of the neck and hold it at arms length in the air, that this may be a safe way to hold one, but not a lot of volunteers are out there to test this theory.

Along with sharp teeth, Honey Badgers also have incredibly powerful jaws.  This is helpful due to the fact that the Honey Badger will eat every part of its prey, including the bones.  The jaws are even powerful enough to eat a turtle, including the shell, without difficulty.

Not only this, but they are naturally not very affected by many types of stings and venom.  They can even get bitten by King Cobras and Puff Adders multiple times with little effect, though a strike from something like a Puff Adder that manages to actually penetrate their skin will eventually knock the Honey Badger out for a couple hours. Although it is not known exactly how the Honey Badger’s body resists the effects of these types of deadly venom, it is thought that if the snakes could strike them enough, it’s likely the venom would eventually kill the Honey Badger.  Unfortunately for the snake though, they are unlikely to survive long enough in a battle with a Honey Badger to strike it enough to kill it. Further, it takes time for the venom to take effect, so even if they manage to knock it out, the snake will likely already be dead when this happens.

Along with its innate toughness, the Honey Badger is also incredibly intelligent. It has even been observed using tools to catch prey.  They also are smart enough to follow Honeyguide birds to find beehives where they’ll eat the larvae and honey.

Interestingly, the Honey Badger also has a reversible anal pouch which has an incredibly strong, stifling odor.  They have been observed to use this stench as an additional form of defense against large predators like lions.

This combination of remarkable innate defensive and offensive capabilities has resulted in the Honey Badger seemingly fearing few things.  Their aggressiveness has also resulted in few predators, which normally might try to eat something the Honey Badger’s size, choosing to avoid the animal.  Even predators such as lions and leopards tend to give the Honey Badger a large berth, though Honey Badgers have been known to be killed by lions and leopards.  At the same time, though, they’ve also been observed to chase lions off of a kill and take it for their own, including one instance where three Honey Badgers chased off seven lions from a kill the lions were eating, fearless indeed.

Bonus Facts:

  • Honey Badgers get their name from their propensity to seek out and eat honey and bee larvae.  They even have no problems with attacking Africanized Honey Bee (“killer bees”) hives.
  • Honeyguides are a type of bird that will lead Honey Badgers to beehives.  The bird will then wait for the Honey Badger to break open the beehive and to have its fill.  Once the Honey Badger has left, the Honeyguide will fly in and eat the leftover larvae and beeswax.
  • Honey Badgers are able to dig quickly into hard earth.  Within a few minutes they can dig a hole deep enough to hide themselves.
  • The Honey Badger is also commonly known as Ratel and scientifically as: Mellivora capensis.  They primarily live in parts of Africa, the Middle East, and India.  Despite the name, they more closely resemble weasels than badgers.  In captivity, they live around 24 years.  No one knows how long they typically live in the wild.
  • Honey Badgers usually hunt and live alone.  However, during breeding season they have been observed to hunt together.  Their homes are typically dug holes with a passage to a bare nesting area.
  • A Honey Badger eats a variety of food items including: porcupines, small crocodiles, berries, roots, scorpions, snakes, eggs, insects, rodents, birds, fruit, frogs, human corpses, honey, sheep, horses, etc.  Basically, if they can kill it or come across the dead body of the animal, they’ll eat it.  They also like to eat fruits and melons, which, along with blood, is often one of their primary sources for water.  Snakes typically account for about half the total food Honey Badgers eat.
  • One method Honey Badgers use when attacking larger prey is to castrate them and then wait for the animal to weaken from bleeding.
  • Male Honey Badgers typically have a home area of around 200 square miles.  Females have a home area of around 50 square miles.  Because of their very large home range areas, Honey Badgers populations are in dramatic decline, with the Honey Badger’s areas more and more including areas of large human population.  They also have low reproductive rates (typically one new badger per birthing).
  • Honey Badger females are called “sows”.  Male Honey Badgers are called “boars”.  Their young are called “kits”.
  • Honeyguides are also known to lead humans to honey, so that they can feed on the scraps left behind. The Boran people particularly use a special type of whistle to try to attract a Honeyguide when they want to search for honey.
Expand for References:

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  • “Even predators such as lions and leopards tend to give the Honey Badger a large birth, though Honey Badgers have been known to be killed by lions and leopards.”

    Large BERTH. If they gave them a large birth, the Honey Badger would probably just eat it.

    Berth means: Sufficient space for a ship to maneuver; sea room: as in kept a clear berth of the reefs.

  • Sure, but how well do they stand up to military ordinance, nuclear weapons, supernovas, or black holes? I thought so.

    • wouldn’t most things die form bombs and any type of human weapons of mass destruction but they are fearless they fight lions and tigers even kill snakes would you survive a supernoava or a nuclear bomb

  • They may die by those things, but they would definitely not fear them.

  • The Wolverine would give it a run for its money.(And I am not talking about a fictional superhero with swords sticking out of his knuckles either)

  • A little behind the times with the whole Honey Badger thing…

  • Honey Badgers are awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Daven,
    I must correct you regarding the “killer bees”. The strain known as killer bees is an African – European hybrid that was developed in Brazil, not the African honey bee species.

    • Daven Hiskey

      @Kenneth: Yep (see the Bonus Bee Facts in that article). I wasn’t meaning to imply they were from Africa, but rather they were “Africanized bees”, which is the name of killer bees, but obviously I put “African” for some reason. Thanks for pointing it out. Fixed!

  • They just don’t give a – you know… 🙂

  • Honey badgers are also known as snake killer.. Because they attack the head of a snake and eat it Off

  • ^ That damn mammal! If this is my won world, I’d make the snake invulnerable to the honey badger. Hell, I’d make the reptile’s venom powerful enough to kill that mammal. Besides, I love reptiles more than mammals. And it makes no difference that I’m a mammal. I don’t have to like them more than reptiles if I don’t want to. In fact, I don’t always like being a mammal. And so ,reptiles are my favorite animals on Earth, especially because of what King Kong did to Godzilla and a Tyrannosaurus, which is my favorite dinosaur and beast of all.

    • Wow the reason u love reptiles and hate mammals is because of fictional plots that don’t exist. I must say you are really missing the point that ratels are badass creatures. Any snake that’s dumb enough to attack a ratel deserves to die. Also who gives a fuck about what you like more. Let me let you in on a secret…. no one cares! These comments are for what pertains to the article (ratels) and not your kinky fantasized opinion that has no real facts or truth to it. Go home, read some facts and keep your idiotic comments to yourself, and if you can’t then go roll around with some wild venomous snakes and see how much you live them after that.

      • honey badger hater

        Screw you and your hatred for reptiles! since you love honey bagders, feed yourself to them.

  • This H.badger thing has just bitten my little nephew on the face at the village. The boy sustained serious cuts and lost 3 of his teeth. We are lack it wasn’t the throat otherwise it would have been a different story. The boy has been stitched but his face is badly swollen and the doctors have advised us to get him rabbis medicine. Can the same badger cause rabbis???

  • zuka zama



  • I feel that the honey badger is very very smart yet extremely cruel at the same time. I don’t like the part about the wolverines and how the honey badger could kill it that seems in humane. i do admire the fiestiness of the honey badger

  • WHat the mole H. Bagders Are sooo freaky but on the good side they are exremelly strong… and lit ig but anyway…. my opinion…

  • If honey badger were two times it’s size, lions would be running for its life

  • Anyone else notice that while the author claims in their first paragraph that the honey badger has a GUINNESS world record as the most fearless yet his reference is not guinness but some other website that offers no references at all. A simple check on the official guinness world record site shows that there’s no such record. I will assume the rest of your fact checking is just thorough.

  • Honey badgers suck.

  • It’s nature .. it has no fear or remorse or emotions about killing and eating anything.. that’s because it’s genetics drive it.. it doesn’t care that you love snakes or hate snakes .. it doesn’t care that you love or hate lizzards … if you were born a honey badger you would be exactly like it is..

  • I’ve seen honey badgers in a zoo before, they are very intelligent. The zoo keeper said that they have managed to escape 6-7 times and have just managed to get them back in. He said if they figured out to escape from the moated enclosure again , he wasn’t sure what would hold them. Making a bridge was not a great feat from a number of things he stole off the keepers , like plotting which tools would work better was not a hard task.

  • The Voice of Reason

    The only thing honey badger is scared of, is Chuck Norris.