Monday, November 21, 2016

Honey badgers: nature's quadruple threat

Honey badgers are known for their fearless ferocity. They even terrorize lions and elephants. Leopards are about the only animals willing to engage them one-on-one. But they have more tricks up their sleeve than sheer lunatic bravado:
1. Snake venom doesn't phase them. The diets of some U.S. honey badgers have been found to be as much as 25% venemous snakes. They're one of the few mammals for whom Cobra venom is not lethal, although it can make them sleepy.
2.  They have truly awful-smelling scent glands, like skunks — powerful enough to make a human's eyes water at 40 paces
3. They're incredibly, unbelievably smart, in part because their mothers spend two years educating them before kicking them to the curb, so to speak. AKSARBENT saw a PBS NATURE documentary (below) about a South African who rescues honey badgers kept as pets. (Seriously.) His charge, Stoffer, kept killing other animals in his private preserve, so he decided to lock Stoffer and his girlfriend up, but they unbolted a double-bolted gate working in concert with each other, simultaneously.
     After various other escapes, their guardian decided to build an expensive concrete Alcatraz for them, but Stoffer climbed trees near the wall and skipped.
So all the trees near the perimeter were stripped of their branches.
     Then Stoffer spend an entire night bending and gnawing a big branch off the sole remaining tree, in the middle of his "pen." He then dragged the branch to the corner of his pen, propped it up and escaped by running up it.
     So that tree got stripped too.
     Next morning Stoffel was nowwhere to be found, but a pile of rocks he dug up during the night were in a corner of the pen.
     So the rocks were taken away.
     That worked for a few days — until it rained. Next morning he was gone again, and in the corner of the pen was a pile of MUDBALLS he made during the night.
     Finally, an electric fence was installed.

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