Shoulder height 30cm. Weight 12kg.
Also known as the ratel, the honey badger is black with a puppyish face and grey-white back. It is an opportunistic feeder best known for its allegedly symbiotic relationship with a bird called the honeyguide which leads it to a bee hive, waits for it to tear it open, then feeds on the scraps. The honey badger is among the most widespread of African carnivores, and also amongst the most powerful and aggressive for its size; it occurs all over Zambia. However, it is thinly distributed and infrequently seen, except when it has lost its fear of people and started to scavenge from safari camps.Similar species
: Several other mustelids occur in the region, including the striped polecat
), a widely distributed but rarely seen nocturnal creature with black underparts and a bushy white back, and the similar but much scarcer striped weasel
). This has been reported from several locations in Zambia, but only rarely.
The Cape clawless otter
) is a brown freshwater mustelid with a white collar, whilst the smaller spotted-necked otter
) is darker with light white spots on its throat. Both occur fairly commonly throughout the rivers, swamps and lakes of Zambia.