Fierce Honey Badgers Only at 4 American Zoos: See them up close at the glass viewing wall! If you've heard of a honey badger (or ratel), you've probably seen or heard about Randall's viral YouTube honey badger video(Warning PG-13 language). With tens of millions of views, it's brought great awareness about these fierce creatures. And Randall even did a custom Naples Zoo badger video about our badgers here in Naples.
Meet our three honey badgers
In South Africa, the idiom “tough as nails” doesn’t cut it. To assert a rough-and-ready attitude, the phrase is “as tough as a ratel.” These fearless and persistent creatures are recorded attacking cobras, shredding into beehives amidst the stinging swarm, and even chasing lions off their kills.
All the more amazing when you consider this brashness is bottled inside a mere 25-pound creature with the deceptively friendly nickname of African honey badger. We are now one of only four American zoos and the only zoo in the SE USA where you can see this extraordinary species.
Fearless and persistent perfectly describes the ratel. They will rip wooden planks from hen houses and dig under walls to get a meal. Even the stings of bees do not deter them from tearing into beehives with their immense claws. Fortunately, their thick skin and dense hair protects them from many stings. (It is that taste for honey that earned them the “honey badger” name.)
Their diet also includes scorpions, rodents, berries, roots, and tortoises. In a still unknown process, ratels survive envenomation by cobras, puff adders, and other deadly snakes. After killing the snake, the bitten ratel drops and remains still as if dead, but eventually rises from its toxic stupor to eat its would be assassin.
Although commonly associated with Africa, the honey badger ranges all the way to India. When cornered, ratels will savagely attack and predators have learned to leave them alone. Even the South African army named their armored infantry fighting vehicle the ratel in honor of their toughness.
YouTube sensation Randall reacts to meeting Naples Zoo's new badgers. Warning PG-13 language.
Preparing the Badgers Home
The three badgers arrived in Naples from another nationally accredited zoo. After the standard quarantine time to insure their health and to make habitat renovations, the ratels were ready to greet Zoo guests. And “habitat renovations” is putting it lightly. Heavy tie wires on the mesh walls were replaced with even heavier steel. Feeding dens were completely rebuilt. The ground was excavated and covered in 6-gauge chain link; the chain-link seams were woven together and concreted, as was the entire perimeter of the habitat. Finally, a naturalistic rock wading pool and climbing play structures were crafted before the habitat was refilled with dirt.
Come see these three furry and fabulous badgers today.