Life in the bush is certainly interesting, as is any encounter with the fearless honey badger. When we launched the Honey Badger Diaries we invited everyone to submit their own stories, whether funny or scary, about their encounter with this interesting creature.
The following story was sent in by Rob Baird.
There’s a honey badger on my stoep!
Having lived in the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve for some time, interesting encounters were plentiful, especially in the evenings.
Some nights when I was walking home late, I was often surprised by our resident Hippo, Harry, while he was making his way along the path to or from the camp dam. Having moved from the Mother City to the bush, my hippo wrestling skills were somewhat limited, so let’s rather replace the word ‘surprised’ with ‘injected with a concoction of paralyzing fear and lots of get-me-the-hell-out-of-here ’. As the encounters with Harry continued, the intensity of ‘get-me-the-hell-out-of-here’ eased and was replaced with ‘lots-of-keeping-quiet’ while Harry went on his way. But enough of Harry, you came here to read about the honey badger.
However exciting these encounters with Harry were, they were far overshadowed by that of the fearless honey badger. There was one little guy (let’s replace ‘little guy’ with ‘ferocious beast’) who was very interested in our little bush home and decided that nightly visits were in order. He must have thought it was a nice place to hang out and have a good time, especially in our outside rubbish bin in which he spent plenty of time having a party all by himself. A person can only buy so many rubbish bins so this resulted in the bin being placed on the roof each night, an act that must have confused our neighbours who ran the elephant research office a few metres away.
Although there was a fair amount of destruction to our outside kitchen (which included an overturned stove), we enjoyed these nightly visited and tried our darndest to safely capture a picture of this elusive animal when he stopped by. Now, I’d like to point out that honey badgers are reputed to go for the scrotum of large animals when attacking so the fear instilled in me by this fact, true or not, made it somewhat difficult to capture a picture as I always had one hand on the camera and the other protecting my man parts, even when there was a window and some distance between us.
Despite many attempts, my girlfriend and I accepted the fact that we were most likely not going to get a picture of our friend.
Months later the time had come for us to leave our bush home and return to Cape Town, and on our very last night our friend came past to say farewell.
He must have been very upset that we were leaving, and so decided to frustratingly gnaw on my girlfriend’s bicycle that we had left outside. This distraction allowed me the opportunity I had been waiting for, and I managed to finally get a picture of the little fella.
We still laugh about these nightly encounters and wonder what the little chap (who we called Fred) gets up to.