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African Lion vs Honey Badger Differences and Comparison

African Lion vs Honey Badger Differences and Comparison

Overview: African Lion vs Honey badger

African Lion and Honey badger both coexist in sub-Saharan Africa. Honey badgers are also known as Ratel; they are the most ferocious animals having excellent stamina and never giving up attitude. It is widely recognized for its ability to drive away animal way bigger than their size. But, do honey badger stand any chance against the lion “King of Savannah”. What would happen if they encounter, who would win?? To determine the winner between the African Lion and Honey badger we need to look into their different traits; let’s know about them. 

Physical Traits:

What do Lions look like?

Lions are the second-largest cats of the big cat family after the tigers. Male lions are about 20-30% larger in size and are 50% heavier than their female counterparts. Lions have a muscular body, big head, long canines, strong jaws, and sharp claws; these all are the perfect combination to make a lion apex predator. Lions have different coloration’s they may vary from white to tawny yellow, slightly ochre, ash brown. Lions have distinct “whisker spots” which are different in every lion; the top row of whiskers forms a pattern through which a lion can be identified as they remain same throughout the life.

How do Honey badgers look like?

Honey badgers belong to the Mustelidae family; The honey badger looks a bit like a skunk. have a stocky body, large skull, muscular neck, small eyes, and shoulder-length of about 25 cm. The skin of the honey badgers is thick and loose; it is about 6 mm thick to protect itself from predators’ bite and grasp. Honey badger’s half body is black coloured whereas its back is grey or white. Sexual dimorphism is present in honey badgers; females are smaller than males. Honey badgers have an average body length of about 60-70 cm, weighing 8-12 kg. Honey badgers have large clawed forefeet.

Behavioral Traits:

Lions are quite social; they live in pride which contains 2-40 members. Each pride has a dominant male which takes care of its territory and drives away other intruding male lions. Once a dominant male of the pride gets defeated by the outsider, he leaves the pride whereas the winning outsider takes the pride and kills all the cubs less than 2 years old to make the females ready to mate.

Honey badgers live alone; they are nomadic and solitary. They meet only during mating season, male honey badgers defend their burrows by marking them with its distinct smell.

Habitat and Geographical Distribution:

Do African lions live only in Africa?

African lions are found in Sub-Saharan Africa with 80% of their population living in eastern or southern Africa. African lions prefer to live in grasslands and savanna’s; they are found in the grassland of East Africa, the Kalahari Desert, and the south Sahara Desert.

Where do Honey badgers live?

Honey badgers have wide distribution; they are found in sub-Saharan Africa, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, Oman, Syria, Yemen, UAE, Jordan, Israel, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan. Honey badger lives in a varied habitat which includes grasslands, woodlands, green forests, arid steppes, deserts, rocky hills, thorny forest, etc. They take shelter in rock crevices, caves, burrows; however, they don’t live in extreme desert conditions or the Mediterranean.

honey badger
Honey badger (Mellivora capensis), also known as the ratel. in its natural habitat


What do Badgers eat?

Honey badgers are omnivorous; they are opportunistic foragers. Their diet comprise of rodents, snakes, eggs, dead carcasses, birds, fruits, berries, roots, etc.

What kinds of food do lions eat?

Lion’s diet includes large animals like giraffes, wild buffalo, zebra, wildebeest, impala, etc. Lions usually hunt together; they take care of their pride members too, if any member of the pride gets injured or wounded the food is provided to it. The dominant lion rarely participates in the hunting as the hunt is mainly done by the females; the male lion takes whatever it wants after the kill.

lions feeding in wild
Lionesses eating their hunt in the wild.

Badger’s Fun Facts for kids:

  • During the forage, female honey badgers can travel up to 10 km whereas male honey badgers can forage about 25 km.
  • Honey-badgers are immune to snake venom.
  • Like a skunk, honey badgers also gland in their backside which they use to mark their territory and to keep predators away.
  • Honey badgers have the “Guinness Book record” for being “world’s most fearless animal”.
  • Honey Badgers are voracious (omnivorous) eaters; they can consume anything.
  • Honey badgers have sharp teeth and strong jaw; they can even break the tortoise shell.
  • Honey badgers have exceptionally thick skin, in fact, thicker than any other known animal
  • Badgers have long claws, dig burrows to rest in, almost daily. They’ll do it anywhere
  • Badgers have no visible ears, instead their ears are tucked away within their skin

Lion vs Honey badger: Who would win?

The battle between African lion and honey badger will be the most interesting and exciting one. On the one side, we have the “King of Savannah” while on the other we’ve “World’s most ferocious animal”; when both encounter it would be very complex to determine the winner. Whenever a lion crosses the way of a honey badger or tries to kill it, the honey badger will aggressively retaliate to the lion.  The lion may look bigger and frightening but the honey badger is fearless and ferocious; it can charge on the lion with its long-sharp claws.

The lion might try to bite honey badger but it will be difficult to pierce through the 6mm hard and tough skin of honey badger. Honey badger has a strong will and excellent stamina; the lion may get tired of this fight. Also, honey badger can spray a strong suffocating smell which will drive away the lion. However, lion can kill old and weak honey badger but it will need a lot of effort to take down an adult healthy honey badger. So, we predict honey badger as the winner of this duel.

Comparison Chart: Lion vs Honey badger

Comparison Heads African Lion Honey Badger
Kingdom Animalia Animalia
Phylum Chordata Chordata
Class Mammalia Mammalia
Order Carnivora Carnivora
Family Felidae Mustelidae
Genus Panthera Mellivora
Species P. Leo M. Capensis
Found in Sub-Saharan Africa Sub-Saharan Africa and Some parts of Asia
Weight 331-550 lbs (males), 243-401 (females) 17-27 lbs
Body Length 5.5-8.3 feet (males), 4.5-5.5 feet( females) 55-77 cm
Lifespan 12-15 years in wild; in captivity can live up to 30 years 24 years

Comparison Video: Lion vs Honey badger

FAQ’s-Frequently Asked Questions

  • Who would win honey badger vs lion?

    Lions can reach upto 9 feet in length, 4 feet high, weigh around 450 pounds. honey badgers are no where around that mark so they are almost negligible chances as a winner.

  • Which Animal can kill honey badger?

    Lions, hyenas,leopards and big cats are all well-known to kill honey badgers

  • Which is the most fearless animal in the world?

    Badger, Guinness book has declared the honey badger as the winner for more fearless animal

  • Is it legal to shoot a badger?

    Its illegal and an offense to kill or take a badger, except under license.

  • Are honey badgers bulletproof?

    With traditional weapons its hard to kill Honey can withstand multiple machete blows, arrows, and spears. The only sure way to kill one is via a club to the skull or gunshot.