Honey badger meets African civet. What happens next?
My copy of The Safari Companion by Richard Estes describes the African civet as “a remarkably unspecialized, basic sort of mammal” that “eats whatever is digestible”, is “poorly equipped to climb or dig efficiently”, and is “relatively slow-moving”. That all makes it sound very unthreatening, but as you’ll see in the video, it has a crest of hair along it’s back that is 4 inches long and can be raised to make it look quite intimidating. Civets are related to genets (and less closely to mongooses) but this is a group of animals which have changed very little in the last 40 -50 million years. You know what they say – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it – so although it may be basic, I guess the civet is doing just fine.
Honey badgers are better known and have a reputation for being fearless and having no natural enemies. It (and the civet) are happy to snack on puff adders – which says almost everything you need to know! Honey badgers love honey and risk numerous stings to gorge themselves on honey and bee larvae. They have very loose skin, which protects them from too many stings, but this also means if a honey badger is picked up by the scruff of it’s neck, it will be able to turn around and bite it’s attacker (as many an inexperienced lion has discovered).
So, to this video, where honey badger meets African civet!
One evening I, my husband, and 4 friends, were sitting around the fire in Botswana. We were on a mobile safari, with Phillimon from Walking Stick Safaris and had planned to spend 9 nights camping in Moremi, Khwai and Savute. Phillimon and his great team took care of everything, so we felt like we were traveling in the lap of luxury, even though we were in tents. We’d eaten dinner and had moved to sit around the fire and had been visited by a honey badger there, but soon we heard a call from the ‘kitchen’ and this was what we saw. I think we all would have bet money on the civet giving in to the honey badgers. But what did happen?
Well, it turns out they both seemed quite intimidated by each other!
Later that night a honey badger raided camp again – climbing into the back of one of the 4x4s, then up and over the 4-foot high wire cage enclosing the cargo area, to see if there were any scraps available. One afternoon in this same campsite a group of 7 or 8 bull elephants appeared, browsing their way through and then out on to the grassy plain, heading for the next tree-island. And on our final night we decided to call an early end to the evening’s fire-watching as calls from lions got closer and closer until we thought they might be in ‘our’ trees.
In short it was a lovely spot with a wealth of wildlife and beautiful views. Ahhhhh…..
Check out The Safari Companion: A guide to watching African mammals by Richard D Estes.
Our mobile safari was booked by Africa Geographic and our safari team were guided by Phillimon from Walking Stick Safaris.