When I first decided I’d use the honey badger for this book, I chose it because of it’s unique relationship with the honey-guide bird. However, when I researched it to learn more, I got a pleasant surprise! The honey-badger is quite the fascinating animal! It is not a honey specialist as it’s name suggests, instead eating all kinds of things from insects, to snakes, to berries, to turtles! It is also incredibly resilient and fearless. This may be a bit of anthropomorphism, but we could all use a little bit of honey-badger in our lives: Resilient and courageous, yet willing to adapt, accept help, and share.
The honey-badger is actually not a badger! It is the only species in its genus and more closely resembles martins. It is in the same family as weasels and wolverines. Their hind claws are short, while their front claws are long for tearing into beehives and digging. Honey-badger’s favorite foods are snakes, (including the deadly black mamba) and bees, but it can eat many things including frogs, turtles, eggs, lizards, birds, roots, bulbs, and berries. To hunt black mamba, they will bite the snake and allow it to bite back. The usually deadly poison of the black mamba only knocks out the honey-badger, and if the snake has not escaped by the time they wake up, they will simply continue their meal. They often find honey on their own, but honey-guides will sometimes join them for a meal. While studies are unclear who is following whom, honey-guides are known to guide people to beehives, behavior thought to have been brought over from their relationship with the honey-badger.