Wolverine vs Honey Badger: Who Would Win in a Fight?

Written by Kyle Glatz
Updated: August 10, 2023
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Key Points:

  • Wolverines are bigger than honey badgers with bigger snouts and shorter claws.
  • Honey badgers are smaller than wolverines however, their claws are much longer.
  • Both wolverines and honey badgers are both members of the weasel family.

The Wolverine and honey badger are two land-dwelling mammals that are both like weasels, but larger and much more dangerous. The wolverine is a small, stocky creature that resembles a mix between a weasel and a bear, though it is related to the former and not the latter. With pronounced claws and a powerful bite, it’s known as a fierce animal.

The honey badger gained more attention in recent years for being ruthless, cunning, and inexhaustible thanks to viral videos about it. While strong and possessing great defenses, a match against the wolverine would be interesting.  

For better or worse, these two creatures do not meet in the wild. The wolverine lives in North America and Russia while the honey badger lives in Africa, the Middle East, and India. Still, we are going to see compare the data and show what would happen in a match between a wolverine vs honey badger based on scientific facts with a pinch of educated guesswork.

Comparing a Wolverine and Honey Badger

Wolverine vs honey badger
WolverineHoney Badger
SizeWeight: 22lbs – 70lbs
Length: 2.1ft – 3.5ft
Weight: 11lbs to 40lbs
Length: 1.5ft – 2.5ft
Speed and Movement Type– 30 mph
– Uses a fast gallop to run
– 19 mph  
– Gallops to run
Bite Power and Teeth– 50 PSI bite power
Special molars designed to break bones and tear meat
– Bite power not measured
– Their teeth are sharp enough and their jaws powerful enough to bite through tortoise shells.
Senses– Poor eyesight
– Very powerful hearing
– Great sense of smell capable of smelling prey in burrows from above ground.
Great sense of smell
– Good sense of hearing
– Poor eyesight like most other Mustelids
Defenses  – Thick fur
– Smelly musk that can drive off some predators  
Exceptionally thick skin that resists bites, stabs, stings, and blows
– Overpowering musk that can make predators flee  
Offensive Style-Uses strong teeth and jaws to attack and kill
-Claws for digging and climbing can be used to cut prey  
– Sharp claws  
– Powerful, well-aimed bites
– Can turn the tables on enemies in close quarters
Predatory Behavior-Pounces from stealth
-Runs down slower enemies
-Solo hunter
– Directly chases and kills creatures
– Digs prey out of burrows  

The 7 Key Factors Between a Wolverine vs Honey Badger

Honey badgers can scare off bigger predators

©Dirk Theron/Shutterstock.com

When examining a fight between a wolverine and a honey badger, we have to look at several key factors. In this case, we came up with seven elements that would determine which of these creatures has the best chance to fight against the other.

Based on what we found, we’re going to break these seven facets of the fight down into two sections: one is their sheer physical capabilities, and the other is their combat prowess and behavior. That way, we have a better overview to determine which creature should win this fight.

Physical Features

What Eats Snakes

Wolverines are fast creatures that weigh up to 70 lbs and are 3.5 feet long.


The rules of the wild seem to insist that the bigger, stronger, and faster creatures win battles. Take a look at how these mammals measure up to one another.

Wolverine vs Honey Badger: Size

The Wolverine is heavier than any honey badger, weighing in at 70 lbs at the high end. They can be 3.5ft long, too. This is a rather large animal by any measure, especially one that hunts.

The honey badger can weigh up to 40 lbs and be 2.5ft long. That’s a big weasel-like creature, but it’s not as big as the wolverine.

The Wolverine gets the size advantage.

Wolverine vs Honey Badger: Speed and Movement

The honey badger is known for being able to run down enemies, but its top speed is just 19mph. Some humans can outrun these mammals (but not for long).

Wolverines can tear after their prey at 30 mph, fast enough that it will catch both the honey badger and most other land-dwelling animals.

The wolverine has the advantage in terms of speed.  

Wolverine vs Honey Badger: Bite Power and Teeth

In the case of bite strength, the wolverine has demonstrated a bite force of 50 PSI and they have specialized molars at the top of their mouth that are turned 90 degrees to help break through frozen flesh and bone.

Honey badgers have sharp, strong teeth with jaws strong enough to break through tortoise shells and bones alike. They have not been tested in the lab for bite power, though.

A logical conclusion is that the wolverine has the advantage, but a honey badger still has a serious bite.

Wolverine vs Honey Badger: Senses

These creatures have very similar senses. They both have poor eyesight and an amazing sense of smell that helps them locate prey lurking below the surface in burrows. The wolverine’s hearing might be a little bit better than the honey badger, though.

A safe bet is to call this a tie; the only sense that matters here is smell, which is what both would use to find each other.

Wolverine vs Honey Badger: Defenses

Wolverines have thick, tough fur and a strong hide along with the ability to release a nasty-smelling musk to drive off predators. Honey badgers have both of those things but on another level. Honey badger’s musk has been described as “overwhelming, ” which can be a good distraction in a fight.

Their hide is incredibly thick and loose, capable of resisting stabs from porcupines, arrows, and human spears. In fact, short of crushing this animal to death, shooting it, or delivering a very strong blow to the back of its head, this creature is hard to kill. The honey badger even resists deadly snake venom!

Combat Prowess

Wolverine walking on grass

Wolverines are capable fighters, using their powerful teeth to fight enemies.

©Bildagentur Zoonar GmbH/Shutterstock.com

All the physical power in the world won’t do a creature any good against honed hunting skills and the ability to land a fatal attack. Take a look at how the wolverine and honey badger fare in combat.

Wolverine vs Honey Badger: Offensive Style

Wolverines can kill other creatures in a few ways. They have powerful teeth and strong jaws for the biting and very strong claws for digging and cutting.

Honey badgers kill by using their sharp teeth, tremendous jaw strength, sharp claws, and ability to attack sensitive areas even under duress from a predator.

For sheer offensive power, the wolverine gets the advantage.

Wolverine vs Honey Badger: Predatory Behaviors

A honey badger is not too subtle when hunting its prey. It smells something that it wants to eat, and it goes to find it. They attack quickly and wisely, striking at the neck, eyes, and other sensitive spots of predators to kill them.

A wolverine can climb trees and pounce at the food they want, sometimes onto live prey or just a bait station. They cannot run stealthily, but they’ll wait for prey to walk by and then ambush it. Wolverines can also simply chase down a lot of prey.

The Wolverine gets the advantage of its multifaceted approach to hunting.

Key Differences Between a Wolverine and Honey Badger

Wolverines are larger than honey badgers, with longer snouts and shorter claws.

©Michal Ninger/Shutterstock.com

Honey badgers are smaller than wolverines and they have longer claws. However, wolverines have longer legs and a longer snout compared to honey badgers, too.

Honey badgers are black on the sides and undersides with white or gray fur running from their head to their tail. Wolverines are black or brown, and they have a lighter brown band on both sides of their bodies.

These physical differences can be used to tell the animals apart with ease.

Who Would Win in a Fight Between Wolverine vs Honey Badger?

Honey Badger (Mellivora Capensis) - toughest animal for protecting itself against large predators

A honey badger would win in a fight against a wolverine.

©Ewan Chesser/Shutterstock.com

In the fight between a wolverine and a honey badger, the honey badger would win. Based on the number of advantages that the wolverine has over the honey badger, this might seem like a nonsensical twist ending, but it’s not. The wolverine simply lacks the power to effectively kill a honey badger.

What we have here is a rare case where the honey badger has better defensive adaptations to counter the size and strength of a wolverine. So, how would this fight happen?

The wolverine would likely land the first blow no matter what, either ambushing the honey badger or using its amazing speed to hunt it down. In fact, it might even use its size to lock down the honey badger’s movement and go in for a bite.

The only problem is that plays right into the honey badger’s plan. This creature is used to fighting all the time and taking on bigger enemies. Fighting a wolverine is a small matter compared to fending off lions and hyenas from their prey.

The Wolverine will strike first, but it will get a mouthful of nearly impenetrable skin for its effort. Unless the wolverine instantly crushed the honey badger’s skull or legs, that first attack would be the beginning of a drawn-out fight.

Meanwhile, the wolverine will have made an incredible mistake: letting the honey badger get close.

The wolverine’s body is tough, but not as tough as a honey badger that will bite, claw, and musk the wolverine when it gets close. From then on, the much more agile honey badger will go to work, striking where the wolverine is weakest, including its genitals. They know when and how to hit. At some point, the exhaustion and damage will set in, and the wolverine will falter, giving the honey badger time to finish the fight.

In the case of a drawn-out fight, the experience, fearlessness, and high energy of a honey badger give them the edge. If it chose to turn tail and run, though, a wolverine could escape from the fight with its life, but it will be humbled and injured.  

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

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About the Author

Kyle Glatz is a writer at A-Z-Animals where his primary focus is on geography and mammals. Kyle has been writing for researching and writing about animals and numerous other topics for 10 years, and he holds a Bachelor's Degree in English and Education from Rowan University. A resident of New Jersey, Kyle enjoys reading, writing, and playing video games.

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