What Can Kill A Honey Badger?

Despite their sweet-sounding name, honey badgers are testy in every sense of the word. They're not only ornery, but according to Smithsonian, reports from the mid-20th century alleged that "honey badgers killed prey by emasculating them and letting them bleed to death." While it doesn't appear that honey badgers habitually castrate other animals physically, figuratively, they're emasculation machines. They only weigh about 30 pounds and stand a foot high at the shoulders, per the San Diego Zoo, yet  they willingly fight lions. Lion Mountain TV recorded an instance in which two honey badgers nonchalantly walked up to six lions. Though massively outweighed and outnumbered, the honey badgers beat the pride out of those lions. 

Honey badgers literally eat cobras and young crocodiles for breakfast, lunch, or whatever meal they feel like. They're so remarkably hard to kill that people used to believe that only humans posed a true threat. So what does it take to take out a honey badger?

Nature's John McClane

Honey badgers are related to weasels and skunks, according to the San Diego Zoo, but they seem to be part-Wolverine — the X-Man, not the animal. Honey badgers have long claws and a heck of a healing factor. When bitten by venomous snakes, honey badgers simply fall asleep and wake up rejuvenated, according to Africa Geographic. Even crazier, How Stuff Works explains that they intentionally develop a tolerance to venom. Mothers expose their young to scorpions and up the ante from there until their offspring are able to eat puff adders and cobras. When bitten by larger animals, honey badgers can bite back, thanks to their incredibly loose skin, which allows them to twist entirely around. 

Even young honey badgers exhibit a Bruce Willis-like un-killability. While visiting a private game reserve in South Africa, Laura Patou witnessed a leopard tackle a baby honey badger. In the ensuing struggle, which was caught on film, the baby didn't become a jungle cutlet but instead held its own until its ferocious mother showed up and chased the leopard away, presumably while screaming, "Yippee-ki-yay, mother-hunter."  

Honey badgers die hard, but they do die

Shockingly, honey badgers aren't invincible. Ironically, one of the things that kills them is bees. Honey badgers love to raid beehives, not for the honey but to eat bee larvae. But the sweet taste of bee babies comes at a bitter price. Derek van der Merwe of the Endangered Wildlife Trust said, "Often, when we find dead honey badgers, they've been stung to death by bees." Other times they're murdered by beekeepers who hadn't yet figured out that they could just raise the hives higher off the ground because honey badgers can't jump. Also, Smithsonian notes that lions and leopards do eat honey badgers, so while they are super-creatures, they've still got a couple forms of Kryptonite.