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I love dogs — I always have and always will. I also enjoy cats, those purring, fluffy fuzzballs. But as of two days ago, I have a new favorite animal, alongside the two mentioned above, as well as giraffes, and wolves: the honey badger.

I was reading a book whose setting takes place in South Africa, called Blood Safari, by Deon Meyer. In the book, one of the characters asks why a group of ecowarriors would name themselves after the honey badger.

“…Your guess is as good as mine. Maybe because a honey badger is a very, very tough little dude, takes shit from nobody and nothing. Moves around sort of on its own, invisible, in the undergrowth, takes care of scary stuff like snakes. And it’s a total survivor. Awesome symbol, don’t you think?”

I did. And then, when I looked this animal up, a video popped up showing a honey badger fighting off several lionesses. Total badassary! Understand, a honey badger is not that large, males growing to about 35 pounds at most, females up to 22 pounds as adults. It’s not actually even a badger, belonging to the weasel family. They’re also known as ratels, and they live throughout sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and in parts of Asia. The reason they got that name is because they really like honey, so they tend to raid beehives.

Another thing I like about the honey badger is that they are weird looking. Imagine that a common skunk decided to wear a full-body toupee that starts from a bowl-cut like Moe from The 3 Stooges. Their skin is so tough, it is impervious to arrows, and it takes a high-power rifle to kill one of them. Their skin also hangs loose enough that if another animal grabs them, they can still turn and bite them. They are clearly loners, being solitary animals as adults, while also being a bit of rebellious.

Seriously, the more I learned about honey badgers, the more I respected them. I sure don’t want to meet one in a dark alley (or a brightly-lit alley, for that matter). I also happen to be a solitary animal, without a rebellious streak — I am not tough. So I admire this animal, from a healthy distance. I want to be like that, to never take shit off of anyone.

Written by

Writer and storyteller, immigrant, wife, mom, knitter, collector of jokes, lover of cheap, sweet wine.

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