Honey Badgers Are Basically Genius Safe Crackers

Written by Kellianne Matthews
Updated: October 19, 2023
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Honey badgers are incredibly intelligent animals, but just how smart are these feisty critters? Scientists decided to put honey badgers to the test, to see once and for all if these animals are really as smart as they appear.

In this video, researchers present a honey badger with a unique test: a tasty treat has been placed inside a puzzle box, but the problem is that the box is suspended off the ground! So, how will our little honey badger reach his prize?

Watch as the Honey Badger Is Put to the Test:

In this video, scientists put Stumpy the honey badger to the test as they work to determine just how smart this species is. Although Stumpy is excited to enjoy a tasty treat, it has been placed in a puzzle box that is suspended off the ground. That means that our clever honey badger cannot climb down from a tree to get it, and he can’t reach it from the ground either.

The only way for Stumpy to get to his tasty treat is to use tools — a skill that would mark honey badgers as one of the most intelligent animals on the planet, right up there with elephants and chimpanzees.

In the video, you can see that Stumpy is obviously eager to eat his treat. However, no matter how hard he tries, he just can’t quite reach it. After a few failed attempts and quick observations, however, Stumpy pushes his cage over to the puzzle box and cracks open the safe, giving him easy access to his well-earned reward. What this shows is that honey badgers can in fact use tools!

The Ingenuity and Intelligence of Honey Badgers

honey badger

Honey Badgers are intelligent animals that show astounding resourcefulness.

©Braam Collins/Shutterstock.com

Time and time again, honey badgers show a level of cognitive ability that rivals even chimpanzees. In fact, Stumpy’s father, the famous Stoffel, is an extraordinary escape artist. Stoffel often manipulates tools with his claws and back as he adjusts them to make his escape.

Like Stumpy and Stoffel, honey badgers continue to astound scientists with their intelligence and ingenuity. These amazing animals can quickly learn to solve complex problems, such as opening latches and unearthing prey from underground. They have impressive memories and are able to recall the locations of food caches for up to two years after discovering them. Honey badgers also have the amazing ability to recognize and remember individual humans. They even use tools for foraging, such as digging sticks to dig out termites from their mounds. All of this points to an impressive level of intelligence and resourcefulness within honey badgers, making them one of the most fascinating animals around.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Ondrej Prosicky/Shutterstock.com

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About the Author

Kellianne Matthews is a writer at A-Z Animals where her primary focus is on anthrozoology, conservation, human-animal relationships, and animal behavior. Kellianne has been writing and researching animals for over ten years and has decades of hands-on experience working with a variety of different animals. She holds a Master’s Degree from Brigham Young University, which she earned in 2017. A resident of Utah, Kellianne enjoys creating, exploring and learning new things, analyzing movies, caring for animals, and playing with her cats.

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