How Does Nature... Excavate, Protect Against Biotic Factors, and Protect Against Toxins?

Randall's famous "The Crazy Nastya** Honey Badger" video launched a thousand memes but why did this particular organism capture the internet's attention? Let the Biomimicry 3.8 Institute's Megan Schuknecht explain exactly what makes the honey badger such a, for lack of a better description, badass.

AskNature Nuggets | Episode 12

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TRANSCRIPT:

If you haven't heard of the honey badger, you haven't been watching enough wacky animal videos on YouTube or following American college football. But honey badgers have a lot more to offer us than pure entertainment value.

Also known as ratels, honey badgers are weasel-like animals that are found throughout Africa, India, and the Middle East. They are relative loners and are known for their ferociousness and fearlessness.

Honey badgers are stocky and tough. They can be up to 12 inches tall and about 40 inches long, including their tail. They have a number of fascinating adaptations that have contributed to their almost mythic status.
Their front feet are wide and padded, and very strong. They have with long, curved sharp claws--up to an inch and a half long--making them excellent diggers. These adaptations also make a wide variety of food sources available to honey badgers, including burrowing rodents, bee larvae found in crevices of rocks, and even turtles.

Honey badgers have very thick, loose skin, especially around their necks, allowing them to turn their heads up to 180 degrees and bite any attacker back! This loose skin is also very resistant to bee stings, bites, and even machete blows.

One of the most interesting adaptations of honey badgers is their resistance to snake bite (venom). Snake meat is a favorite snack of honey badgers. Honey badgers that have been bitten by king cobras or puff adders, for example, have been known to go into a coma-like state, only to wake up a few hours later to finish their meal and carry on with their day.

By learning from the honey badger, could we come up with better excavation equipment or better protective skins for our buildings? Maybe honey badgers can teach us how to manufacture better anti-venoms for snakebites or even better ways to store those anti-venoms.

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