Even Three Adult Leopards Can’t Defeat This Immortal Honey Badger

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Written by Sharon Parry

Updated: November 10, 2023

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Honey,Badger
© Braam Collins/Shutterstock.com

Key Points:

  • Honey badgers aren’t afraid of anything – even snakes! They are naturally immune to venomous snake bites, so snakes cause them no fear.
  • They love honey and will raid bee hives for the treat – ignoring the stings of dozens of angry bees.
  • Honey badger skin is both loose and tough so it can withstand arrows, machetes, and, as we see in the video, three sets of leopard teeth!

How many leopards does it take to beat a honey badger? The answer is more than three! In this extraordinary footage, we see a trio of leopards failing spectacularly to overcome this honey badger – at times all three look like a domestic cat playing with a toy. No matter how many times they lunge, they get fought off. Finally, the embarrassed big cats retreat and the honey badger trots away – not worried enough to even break into a run!

Fierce Honey Badgers

Honey badgers just don’t care – jackals, lions, leopards – bring them on!

©Dirk Theron/Shutterstock.com

It would be fair to say that honey badgers (also called ratels) punch above their weight! This weasel-like mammal has earned a reputation for being the most fearless animal on earth. They are found in large parts of Africa and Asia and like dry, grassland, and forest habitats.

Here are a few reasons why they have such a formidable reputation.  

They are naturally immune to venomous snake bites, so snakes hold no fears for them. Their skin is both loose and tough so it can withstand even arrows and machetes and, as we see here, leopard teeth! They have long claws and a powerful bite so when they fight back, they can do some real damage. Finally, they are extraordinarily grumpy and aggressive and are quite happy to pick a fight with any animal – including we humans. The icing on the cake is that they will even take over other animals’ dens.

Animals With the Toughest Skin-Honey Badger

Honey badgers may be small, but they are fearless!

©Pavel Kovaricek/Shutterstock.com

These guys are omnivores and when they kill, they eat the entire carcass. They hunt lizards, snakes, and frogs but also kill sheep, poultry, and goats. A large part of their diet, however, is made up of larvae and insects. As you would expect from their name, they love to raid beehives to feast on honey.

Leopard’s Hunting Technique

This is not the most successful display of leopard hunting technique that you are likely to see. Things must go better than this most of the time or no leopard would ever eat!

In fact, leopards are opportunistic and highly skilled hunters. They secure their prey by ambushing from above or from a hiding place in dense vegetation. This is in contrast to many other bigger cats which chase their prey with explosive speed.

The Big Five

Leopards are pound-for-pound the strongest of the big cats – but still no match for a honey badger.

©lightstock/Shutterstock.com

Their target prey is smaller than is the case for many big cats. Birds, rodents, and reptiles are popular targets and they will also eat deer and warthog. Some of their animal protein is obtained from dung beetles if other sources of food are scarce.

Leopards usually only take on young or sick honey badgers, but perhaps these three thought that there were enough of them to be successful. On this occasion, they were obviously wrong!


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About the Author

Dr Sharon Parry is a writer at A-Z animals where her primary focus is on dogs, animal behavior, and research. Sharon holds a PhD from Leeds University, UK which she earned in 1998 and has been working as a science writer for the last 15 years. A resident of Wales, UK, Sharon loves taking care of her spaniel named Dexter and hiking around coastlines and mountains.

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