Craig Badger's






American Badger

Badgers, occasionally referred to as brocks, are short-legged, heavy-set omnivores in the weasel biologicalfamily, Mustelidae. There are eight species of badger, in three subfamilies (see links in species list below): Melinae (badgers of Europe and Asia), Mellivorinae (the Ratel or honey badger), and Taxideinae (the American badger). The Asiatic stink badgers of the genus Mydaus were formerly included in the Melinae and Mustelidae, but recent genetic evidence indicates that these are actually members of the skunk family, placing them in the taxonomic family Mephitidae.

Badgers include the species in the genera Meles, Arctonyx, Taxidea and Mellivora species. Their lower jaw is articulated to the upper by means of a transverse condyle firmly locked into a long cavity of the cranium, so that dislocation of the jaw is all but impossible. This enables the badger to maintain its hold with the utmost tenacity, but limits its jaw movement to hinging open and shut, or sliding from side to side without the twisting movement possible for the jaws of most mammals.


The Honey Badger

The honey badger (Mellivora capensis, Ratel) is a member of the Mustelidae family. The honey badger is distributed throughout most of Africa and western and south Asian areas of Baluchistan (eastern Iran), southern Iraq, Pakistan and Rajasthan (western India). It is the only species in the genus Mellivora and the subfamily Mellivorinae. The badgers have been named the most fearless animal in the Guinness Book of World Records. The underparts, sides of its body and face are usually dark brown or black in color, while the top of its head, neck and back are light gray or white. This coloration makes the honey badger particularly conspicuous in daylight. Some honey badgers, especially in the Ituri Forest of the Democratic Republic Of Congo, are wholly black.

Honey badgers will dig into burrows of small rodents and flush them out for a small meal. The badger's large front claws make it adept at digging, and it is usually successful at capturing rodents. Birds of prey and jackals, aware of the honey badger's successful hunting strategies, tend to follow badgers and attempt to steal their kills.

Honey badgers are intelligent animals, and are one of few species capable of using tools. In the 1997 documentary series Land of the Tiger, a honey badger in India was filmed making use of a tool. The animal rolled a log and stood on it to reach a kingfisher fledgling stuck up in the roots coming from the ceiling in an underground cave.

The honey badger is predominantly solitary, although small family groups of up to three individuals are occasionally seen. They are nomadic and range over huge areas, which for an adult male may be as large as 600 km2.

In a recent study (2009) undertaken by the magazine Scientific American it has been found that pound for pound the honey badger is the world's most fearsome land mammal as a result of its favourable claw to body ratio and aggressive behavioural tendencies.

The Honey Badger

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