Difference Between Badger and Honey Badger

Main Difference – Badger vs Honey Badger

Family Mustelidae is a large family of Order Carnivora, with about 25 genera, including badgers, otters, weasels and wolverines. These creatures are carnivorous mammals and distributed in almost every type of terrestrial habitats, from arctic region to tropical region. In addition, the members of this family can live in freshwater habitats such as rivers, lakes as well as saltwater habitats. However, they cannot be found in Australia, Madagascar, and other oceanic islands. The first fossil records of mustelids, which appeared in Europe and Asia, dated back to early Oligocene period. Animals that belong to this family have small, long bodies with short limbs. Their triangular-shaped heads have long braincase and a short rostrum. These animals are usually known as stinky animals due to their ability of release a nasty odor from their well-developed anal scent glands.  The body size range may vary from smallest circumboreal weasel that weight about 35 to 250 g, to largest wolverines and the sea otters weighing 32 to 45 kg. There are mainly 6 species of badgers live though out the world, namely; hog badger, Japanese badger, Asian badger, Eurasian badger, honey badger and American badger. The main difference between badger and honey badger is their fur; honey badgers have distinctive yellowish brown fur on the upper side of their body. In addition, many other differences will be discussed in this article.Difference between Badger and Honey Badger - infographic

Badger – Facts, Features and Behaviour

Badgers in general, are classified under Class Mustelidae, which includes six main species of badgers; hog badger, Japanese badger, Asian badger, Eurasian badger, honey badger and American badger. In general, they have short, fat bodies with short legs, which are well equipped with larger claws for digging. Most badgers are solitary, nocturnal animals. Some species live as groups called cetes, which may consist of 2-15 individuals.  The Eurasian badgers are the largest among the other 5 species. Badgers are often regarded as pests in many countries. They are hunted mainly for their skin. Many badger species are carnivorous, but honey badgers are omnivorous.

Main Difference - Badger vs Honey Badger

Honey Badger – Facts, Features and Behaviour

Honey badgers are mainly distributed in the Southern African region. But they are also seen in the Middle East, southern Russia and far east India and Nepal. They are fearless, aggressive animals that have a powerful bite. These mammals live in holes and have a nocturnal life. They have an excellent sense of smell, which enables them to locate small animals and insects. Honey badgers are preliminary carnivorous, but sometimes eat wild fruits and wild honey. Thus, they are often called omnivorous mammals due to a wide range of dietary habits. They are called honey badgers because they find beehives with the aid of a bird called honeyguide. This bird helps honey badger to find the beehive and the honey badger allows the bird to eat honey once the beehive is broken by the honey badger. The mutual relationship between honey badger and honeyguide is still poorly understood.

An adult honey badger may reach to 80 cm in length while weighing between 9-12 kg. The gestation period is about 180 days. These badgers usually live as solitary animals, although small family groups consisting three individuals are also seen. Due to low birth rates of honey badgers are extremely vulnerable to predators, hunters, and habitat destruction.

Difference Between Badger and Honey Badger

Difference Between Badger and Honey Badger


Badgers are found in many regions including Africa, Middle East, Eurasia, and America.

Honey badgers are only found in southern Africa, Middle East, southern Russia and far east India and Nepal.

Dietary pattern

Most species of badgers are carnivorous.

Honey badgers are omnivorous.


Badgers have usually visible ears.

Honey badgers have very tiny ears.


Honey badgers have distinctive yellowish brown fur on the upper-side of their body.

Other species of badgers do not have yellowish brown fur on the upper-side of their body.


Ryan, J. M., Vaughan, T. A., & Czaplewski, N. J. (2011). Mammalogy. Jones & Bartlett.

Piper, R. (2007). Extraordinary animals: An encyclopedia of curious and unusual animals. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.

Walker, C. (1996). Signs of the wild. Cape Town: Struik.
Facts About Badgers. (n.d.). Retrieved July 17, 2016, from here
Image Courtesy:
“Badger-badger” By BadgerHero – Own work (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia 
“Honey Badger (Mellivora capensis) (17181070118)” By Bernard DUPONT from FRANCE – Honey Badger (Mellivora capensis), (CC-BY-SA 2.0) via Commons Wikimedia 

About the Author: Yashoda

Yashoda has been a freelance writer in the field of biology for about four years. He is an expert in conducting research related to polymer chemistry and nano-technology. He holds a B.Sc. (Hons) degree in Applied Science and a Master of Science degree in Industrial Chemistry.