OK, first we need to get this out the way: yes, these pictures are hilarious, no it’s not animal cruelty to laugh at them. Honey badgers are famously, epically hard bastards. They are the Vinnie Jones, the Jason Statham, even the Mr T of the Animal Kingdom. It was not rabid, wounded, or attacked first; it was fine.
Whether walking up to a creature 10 times your size to pick a fight is impressive or really, really stupid is up for debate, but boy are we glad the plucky little hard nut tried and that photographer Dirk Theron was there to capture it.
The altercation took place near a watering hole at Etosha National Park in Namibia, southwest Africa, where the lairy little creature repeatedly approached the South African oryx, or gemsbok, a large antelope that can reach a length of up to 2.4 meters (nearly 8 feet) and weight up to 240 kilograms (530 pounds).
In comparison, the bantamweight contender comes in at 77 centimeters (30 inches) in length and weighs up to 16 kilograms (35 pounds).
According to Theron, the honey badger picked the fight with the oryx and in response, it used its horns and head to fling the annoying aggressor away.
“It kept on charging at the oryx, then the oryx would hook the badger between its horns and toss him 5 or 6 metres into the air,” Theron told the Daily Mail.
“The first time I thought the honey badger must be dead or seriously injured, but it just got up, shook itself and then charge at the oryx again!”
Honey badgers are native to Africa, Southwest Asia, and the Indian subcontinent so are used to coming into contact with much larger, even predatory animals. They are usually nocturnal in summer, but happily move about in the day in the cooler winter months, like it is in Africa right now. Unsurprisingly, they are also rather solitary animals.
Well known for taking on pretty much anything, including an entire pride of lions single-handedly, Theron wasn’t sure what was irritating the honey badger so much he kept going back for more. Maybe he just got up on the wrong side of bed that day?
They may be the ultimate badass, but don’t be fooled, they aren’t stupid. In fact, they are notoriously clever, as demonstrated by sneaky species ambassador Stoffel, sometimes nick-named “Houdini honey badger” for his frequent, determined, and frankly very impressive escapes from his rehabilitation center.
So yes, these pictures are the funniest thing you’ll see today. And don’t worry, this dude lives to fight another day.