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  Field Notes From
Honey Badgers

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From Authors/Photographers

Colleen and Keith Begg

In most cases these accounts are edited versions of a spoken interview. They have not been researched and may differ from the printed article.

Photograph by Carol Hughes


Honey Badgers On Assignment Authors/Photographers Honey Badgers On Assignment Author
Honey Badgers

Field Notes From Authors/Photographers
Colleen and Keith Begg

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    We spent a couple of years following the separate activities of two badgers: a male called Boscia and a female named Lindon. One night we were tracking Lindon, who was in heat, when she suddenly got very excited and followed a trail that actually led straight to Boscia. He sequestered her in his hole, and they immediately curled up together and started a courtship. For two nights and three days we watched them mate. It was a very special event for us. To our knowledge, no one has ever recorded courtship behavior in honey badgers. We were thrilled to see two of ours come together. (See the badgers' photo in the Zoom In gallery.)

    We waited a long time to witness the rearing of a young cub. Lindon finally gave birth to a little badger we named Patch because of a funny spot he had on his back. Patch was born at the beginning of winter, and there hadn't been a lot of rain the previous summer, so his mother had a hard time finding enough food to keep both of them alive. At some point she was no longer able to do that. Patch literally starved to death over a three-month period, and we had to watch his demise. Since we were working in a national park, we followed the philosophy of not getting involved with the animals. But that didn't make the loss any less heartbreaking. We had a lot of difficult times during our assignment, but Patch's death was undoubtedly the worst.

    The very first badger that got accustomed to our presence was called Klein Man, which means "Little Man" in Afrikaans. He was a very young adult male, and we suspected that he'd recently left his mother and was looking after himself for the first time. Klein Man eventually became so habituated to us that he would often leave his prey right in front of our car, then run off and play. I wondered if he thought we were vegetarians because most badgers are so protective of their food that they immediately take it into their burrows. But Klein Man was a real nutter and very full of life. He even did these cartwheels down the dunes. He was the only badger we ever saw do that.


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