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OTUS THE HEAD CAT: Invasive honey badgers are vicious, tough, surly

By The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

This article was published April 30, 2011 at 3:00 a.m.

— Otus note: Time to clear my in-box of all these e-mails about honey badgers.

Dear Otus,

My children are having nightmares about the honey badger ever since they stumbled upon a video about the thing on YouTube.

- Mellivora Capensis, Maumelle

Dear Mellivora,

I assume you are referencing the YouTube video that has gone viral. It shows a honey badger eating cobras, chasing lions and devouring a colony of killer bees while being stung hundreds of times.

I found the video by simply typing “YouTube” and “honey badger” in my Google search line. As of my viewing, it had 5,607,706 “hits.” That’s enough viewers to cause a worldwide sensation.

The honey badger was even mentioned by Sue Sylvester on last week’s Glee, was the subject of a Top 10 List on David Letterman and was pronounced “the spawn of Satan and an insidious puppet of the Obama administration” by Mike Huckabee on his Fox News Channel program.

Sue noted that the honeybadger is the world’s most ferocious creature. Poundfor-pound, it’s the most terrifying animal on earth. It’s fearless and will take on foes many times its size.

Just tell your children that there’s hardly any chance a honey badger would be under their beds waiting for them to fall asleep. Hardly any chance at all.

The honey badger’s natural range is Africa, the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent. Black market trafficking, however, has smuggled an estimated 23,000 honey badger cubs into the United States to satisfy the growing designer pet market.

Honey badgers are adorable cubs. They fit into the palm of your hand and look like fluffy Disney cartoon characters. After maturation at the age of six or seven months, the creatures emit a malodorous, mephitic stench from a large preputial exocrine scent gland at the base of the tail.

Owners tend to dump their pets in the woods and the critters sally forth with no natural enemies. At least five honey badgers have been spotted in Arkansas.

One was discovered devouring a white-tailed deer in North Little Rock’s BurnsPark near the disc golf course across from Funland.

Another was found in the park digging for bees near the Shelby Smith pavilion and was relocated.

A third honey badger was found stalking that alligator that recently escaped from the Mike Huckabee Delta Rivers Nature Center in PineBluff. The ’gator was captured but the honey badger was last seen heading for the Martha Mitchell Expressway looking miffed.

A pair (and officials hope they aren’t a mating pair) were spotted running down a beefalo in the field behind Boxley Baptist Church on Arkansas 21. They escaped when wildlife officers approached.

There have been 43 unconfirmed sightings of more honey badgers on the loose in Arkansas.

Dear Otus,

Honey badger or wolverine?

- James Howlett, Menifee

Dear James,

Honey badger. Wolverine only has those bone claws and a skeleton of adamantium. Honey badgers don’t give a spit. Honey badgers eat snakes, larvae and wolverine.

Dear Otus,

I heard the only way to kill a honey badger is to chop its head off.

- Ronnie Ratel, Warren

Dear Ronnie,

Almost true. That’s why it’s frequently called “thezombie weasel.” The honey badger has tough, loose skin and is impervious to knives or small-caliber weapons. It’s been known to chew up and spit out three or four hunting dogs at a time.

Dear Otus,

Hypothetical: My buddy and I are camping in the woods and wake up to find a honey badger curled up inside our tent. What’s the best plan of action?

- Ennis Del Mar, Mountain Home

Dear Ennis,

Scream like a little girl and run. You don’t have to run very fast, just faster than your buddy.

Until next time, Kalaka reminds you to report sightings to the state toll-free Honey Badger Hot Line at (800) 245-1672.

Disclaimer:

Fayetteville-born Otus the Head Cat’s award-winning column of humorous fabrication appears every Saturday. E-mail:

mstorey@arkansasonline.com

HomeStyle, Pages 36 on 04/30/2011

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