Honey badger in Tanzania

Honey badger and other mustelids in Swahili: nyegere

Shoulder height: 30 cm; weight: 12 kg. Also known as the ratel, the honey badger (Mellivora capensis) is a black mustelid (member of the weasel family) with a puppyish face and grey-to-white back. It is an opportunistic feeder best known for its symbiotic relationship with a bird called the greater honeyguide, which leads it to a beehive, waits for it to tear the nest open, then feeds on the scraps. It is among the most widespread of African carnivores, but it is thinly distributed and rarely seen. Several other mustelids (mammals of the weasel family) occur in the region, including the striped polecat (Ictonyx striatus), a common but rarely seen nocturnal creature with black underparts and bushy white back, and the similar but much scarcer striped weasel (Poecilogale albinucha). The Cape clawless otter (Aonyx capensis) is a brown freshwater mustelid with a white collar, while the smaller spotted-necked otter (Lutra maculicollis) is darker with white spots on its throat.

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