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The scientific reason why the honey badger doesn't have to give a s**t

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This National Geographic honey badger video, with a hilarious voiceover from "Randall," went viral a few months ago. Seriously, though, why can the honey badger wake up from a cobra bite and be on his merry way? And why can it get stung repeatedly by a swarm of bees and "not give a shit?"

It's not because of some natural immunity to venom. The honey badger, also known as the ratel, can die from poison stings and bites, but usually survives thanks to its thick, tough skin. If you listen to the original National Geographic honey badger narration (but why would you, really?) it takes on one of the deadliest snakes on earth, the puff adder. How deadly, you ask? Its venom melts human flesh. No matter: The honey badger attacks and gets bitten in the process of putting the snake out of commission. The bite causes a little badger coma, but in a couple hours it wakes up and resumes the snake feast. The bite that would melt human flesh could do nothing against honey badger skin.

The animal got its name because one of its favorite meals is bee larvae, which is even deeper inside the hive than honey. The energy a ratel can get from chowing on larvae is worth the possibility of being stung to death. And it hunts like a maniac (the badger takes a rather cute break to scratch himself in the middle of eating a snake in this video), running around and digging up whatever it can get its incredibly long claws on, so it needs that energy.


In the end, the honey badger's most notable trait is its fearlessness - also helped along by the creature's unique skin. It will not only attack snakes and bees, but also goes head to head (and devastates) monitor lizards, leopards and lions. When it comes to taking on these larger animals, the honey badger's loose flesh makes it tough to get a grip on him.

If you've watched the videos and have the honey badger's viciousness fresh in your mind, it will be difficult to watch this guy cuddling with Buster the tame (!) honey badger.


Essentially, the honey badger has such a thick skin that he truly does not have to give a shit.