Honey Badger (Mellivora capensis)
The Honey Badger (Mellivora capensis) also known as the Ratel is a medium-sized mustelid with a puppy-like head, black sides and underparts and a grey-white back. Their coats have a broad and course saddle of grey hair running from above the eyes to the base of their tail, which contrasts starkly with their black underparts. They have a low slung body, with tiny ears and stout legs, and have massive claws that are an adaptation for digging and spending time under ground, but are also formidable weapons. It is primarily terrestrial but can climb, especially when attracted by honey. It travels by a jog-trot but is tireless and trails its prey until the prey is run to the ground.
It is an adaptable creature, eating whatever comes its way — it’s said that they’ve been known to kill buffaloes by running underneath them and biting off their testicles which, if true, is certainly taking opportunism to a wasteful extreme.
When not Bobbiting bovines, the Honey Badger occasionally indulges in a symbiotic relationship with a bird called the greater honeyguide: the honeyguide takes the Honey Badger to a beehive, which the honey badger then tears open, allowing the honeyguide to feed on the scraps.
Honey Badger are widespread in Uganda, but uncommon and rarely seen. Other mustelids found in Uganda include the zorilla (or striped polecat) and the striped weasel.