Stretched out on the couch after a long hike the other night, I texted a friend to say that I was flipping between “Man vs. Wild” on Discovery and “Man vs. Food” on the Travel Channel. She responded with a prediction that the two would soon merge into a blur of “Food vs. Wild.” And I realized, I need to pitch this to a T.V. exec, like, right now. Wouldn’t you watch a show that featured hucking hot dogs at bears really hard? What about cupcakes vs. slow lorises? Grapes vs. hawks? Super soakers of hot soup vs. squirrels? WHO WILL PREVAIL?
Naturally, once my mind started creating brackets of potential animals vs. food match-ups, I had to bet on an eventual winner. And the one animal that I think would never lose any battle with food of any kind is the subject of today’s post, and one of the most rapacious, fearless animals in the world: the honey badger.
Think of it as the wolverine of Africa. A mustelid (member of the weasel family) whose range extends from South Africa to India, it is, pound for pound, the world’s most fearsome land predator, according to both Scientific American and The Guinness Book of World Records. Though it weighs only 30 lbs, its utter lack of fear, super-thick skin and high claw-to-body size ratio have imbued it with a legendary status to both man and beast wherever it lives. After all, this is an animal that doesn’t think twice about devouring honeycomb while getting stung in the face by hundreds of bees, and will continue to devour it until either the bees give up or he dies, whichever comes first. It attacks and kills venomous snakes and pythons, scorpions, and young crocodiles. It will steal food from lions, hyenas, and leopards, right in front of them. The honey badger has to be fearless, as it doesn’t build dens and maintains a metabolism that requires it to constantly hunt and eat, moving from one kill to the next without stopping. For an accurate example of how bad-ass the honey badger is, watch this:
It’s not the treetop fight with a six-foot cobra, or the fact that it manages to take down a flying bird and eat it, that proves its cojones. It’s the scene towards the end of the video, where the honey badger comes across a poisonous puff adder with a small mammal in its mouth, and its first instinct is to steal the food out of the snake’s mouth and eat it within striking distance while the adder just sits there, hissing. Then, when the badger is done with its first meal, its second instinct is to kill the snake and eat it. But the badger, not immune to the adder’s venom, succumbs to a bite mid-way through its dessert, and curls up in its apparent death throes. Do you think a little adder venom is going to stop a fucking honey badger? The honey badger is to the animal world what Marv is to Sin City. No, the honey badger rises from the fucking dead two hours later and continues chomping on the snake with renewed appetite.
What’s more, when the honey badger has to tangle with a predator many times its size, such as a male lion, it has two main defenses. The first is to release an ungodly stench from its anal glands; it’s related to the skunk, after all. If that fails, it will resort to hurting the lion where it counts most: by running underneath it and tearing off its scrotum.
Usually, I like to end a Quantum Biologist post with some insightful or poetic musing on the virtues of whatever creature I’ve chosen. But someone already beat me to a honey badger post about fearlessness, and the Badass of the Week site honored it in glowing prose already. In fact, the web is nearly saturated with posts praising the honey badger’s oversized testicles. So the only way for me to add to the genre is for this post to become the honey badger of honey badger posts: compact, ferocious, and with a high claw-to-body size ratio. Here goes:
The honey badger will EAT YOUR NARDS OFF. It is a Steroid Weasel whose evolutionary origins trace back to when a GRIZZLY BEAR fucked a PTERODACTYL. The honey badger is an animal that CANNOT BE KILLED, except by another honey badger WITH PLATINUM TEETH. If you think you find a honey badger sleeping, DO NOT TICKLE ITS BELLY. It is a trap. The honey badger can blackjack you in the back of the head WITH ITS BALLS. Satan literally shits honey badgers. It’s in the Bible, heathen. Honey badgers DRINK YOUR MILKSHAKE. And then they skunk-fart on you so they can track you down later and eat your junk. How many bullets does it take to kill a honey badger? HOW MANY BULLETS DOES IT TAKE TO KILL THE OCEAN? Honey badgers spit bees, bitches.