Can a Honey Badger Kill a Lion? [Strength Comparison]

We all know the lion as the king of the jungle. Brave, ferocious, and strong, it stands as a symbol of courage and majesty. One would think that there is no other animal that can challenge its authority. However, people who know about honey badgers – a small, carnivorous, skunk-like mammal – may think otherwise. 

Titled as “the most fearless animal in all the animal kingdom” by the Guinness Book of World Records itself, the honey badger is an adorable but fierce mammal. Though it is quite small in size, its vicious behavior leaves us with the question – can a honey badger kill a lion?

We have done thorough research to analyze these two carnivores and answer this question for you. Hence, continue reading this article to find out!


Can a Honey Badger Kill a Lion?

Honey badgers in the wild are fearless, vicious, and magnificent. Due to their tenacity and strength, a group of honey badgers can kill a lion, although the lion won’t give up easily. However, a single honey badger doesn’t have the power to kill or take down one.

These tiny animals are not only unafraid of lion attacks; they also have no qualms about assaulting bees, jackals, poisonous snakes, elephants, cobras, and mongooses. 

Despite only weighing 11 to 40 pounds and reaching lengths of 1.5 to 2.5 feet, honey badgers are protected from predators by their incredibly thick skin. Hence, they will attack any animal without giving their safety a second thought. Additionally, they have a potent, repulsive scent that keeps other animals away. 

To defend themselves against danger, honey badgers use their long, sharp claws and strong teeth. They are not picky eaters and they can hunt anything they see in their way. 

In fact, 3 honey badgers were shown in a BBC documentary attacking 7 lions that tried to steal their prey. 

Comparing a Honey Badger and Lion

To understand the dynamics of a honey badger and a lion better, we have put together this short analysis of the main differences between the two. 

Honey Badger vs Lion: Family

Lion: Lions belong to the feline or the cat family, as everyone probably knows. This family is called “Felidae”. It is a family of mammals that are carnivores and are usually referred to as cats. 

Honey Badger: The honey badger is a member of the weasel family and is related to other badgers, skunks, otters, and ferrets. Its scientific name is Ratel, but since honey seems to be one of its preferred foods, it is more commonly referred to as the honey badger.

Honey Badger vs Lion: Size

Lion: Males have a 2 to 3 foot (60 to 91 centimeter) tail and can reach lengths of 10 feet (3 meters). They are 330 to 550 pounds in weight (150 to 250 kilograms). Females are a little bit smaller and reach lengths of 9 feet (2.7 meters), weighing between 265 and 395 pounds.

Honey Badger: According to National Geographic, the honey badger (Mellivora capensis) is roughly the size of a small- to medium-sized dog, standing 9 to 11 inches (23 to 28 centimeters) tall at the shoulder and weighs between 13 and 30 lbs. (6 and 14 kilograms).

Honey Badger vs Lion: Height

Lion: According to National Geographic, lions can reach a height of 4 feet (1.2 meters) at the shoulder. 

Honey Badger: Honey badgers can reach a height of 11 inches (28 centimeters) at the shoulder. 

Honey Badger vs Lion: Weight

Lion: According to the Animal Diversity Web of the University of Michigan, fully grown male lions typically weigh roughly 420 pounds. Compared to female lions, which typically weigh around 280 pounds, they are substantially larger.

Honey Badger: Males often weigh 20 to 35 pounds, whereas females typically average 11 to 22 pounds.

Honey Badger vs Lion: Habitat

Lion: Although they may live in a range of settings, lions favor grassland, savanna, deep undergrowth, and open forest. They are most active at night. In the past, they were spread out across a large portion of Europe, Asia, and Africa. Today, they are mostly found in regions of Africa south of the Sahara.

Honey Badger: Most of sub-Saharan Africa, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and western Asia are home to honey badgers. They can survive in a wide range of environments, including hot rainforests and chilly mountains. The size of their home ranges can reach 193 square miles.


Honey Badger vs Lion: Bite Power

Lion: The force of a lion’s bite will vary with age and size. It’s a popular misconception that a lion’s bite can only exert 650 psi. Although extremely strong, that is only 100 psi more than the mastiff, the dog with the strongest bite. A lion’s ability to produce a more potent force with its bite will increase as it becomes bigger.

Honey Badger: The jaw of a badger is remarkably stronger than its size would imply. The biting force quotient of a badger is higher than that of an American black bear. An American black bear can only produce a BFQ of 64, while a brown bear can only produce a BFQ of 108.

Honey Badger vs Lion: Speed

Lion: One of the fastest big animals in the world, lions are capable of reaching speeds of up to 50 mph. They can run for great distances at this speed by using their strong hind legs. Lions can easily overcome prey animals like zebras and antelopes when hunting; therefore they largely use their speed for this purpose.

Honey Badger: Although its greatest speed is only 19 mph, the honey badger is renowned for its ability to run down opponents. Some people are faster than these mammals, but not for longer periods.

Who Would Win: Honey Badger or Lion?

If a lion and a honey badger got into a fight, the lion would prevail. The size and capacity of two animals to kill another animal often determine the outcome of a conflict between them. With its incredible size and strength, the lion is outstanding in both regards and completely capable of overwhelming a honey badger.

At first appearance, a battle between a lion and a honey badger could appear unfair. However, the ranges of these two species overlap in Africa, which has brought them into touch. On the one hand, the lion is a dangerous predator that is bigger than the biggest domestic dog and is armed with a variety of tools. 

The honey badger, on the other hand, is related to the weasel but is larger than its cousin and equipped with strong teeth, claws, and thick, impenetrable skin. These two animals would most likely cross paths somewhere in sub-Saharan Africa, most likely in the region’s east where they both reside in the wild.

When two creatures are battling for their lives, size, speed, and the tools they employ to battle all matter.

A lion can grow up to 8 feet long and weigh 500 pounds, whereas a honey badger is considerably smaller and weighs just 40 pounds. Usually, the larger animal has the upper hand over the smaller one. The lion in this instance dwarfs the honey badger in size. 

Some people have hypothesized that a honey badger’s skin could shield it from deadly blows from powerful predators. However, the tissue and bone beneath the skin will not survive even if it does. The bones of the honey badger are easily breakable by a lion’s bite.


Do Honey Badgers Hunt Lions?

Although not proven yet, honey badgers might not hunt lions, simply because they are not easy kills and usually honey badgers scavenge for whatever food they have. They will most probably consume small easy kills, even though they are known for taking preys bigger than them.

Honey badgers are omnivores and eat a variety of foods, including berries, roots, fruits, rodents, birds, and reptiles. With the aid of their excellent sense of smell and long, powerful claws, they may dig for or seize food that is buried and then rip it into pieces. 

These creatures have also been reportedly witnessed chasing adult lions away from their kill, so they will be picky eaters and will scavenge whatever they can. 

Are Lions Afraid of Honey Badgers?

The one thing that honey badgers do that scare off their opponents and works almost all the time is that they tear off their opponents’ testicles and yes, this is something even lions are afraid of.

Honey badgers are renowned for their fierce defensive skills and aggressive attitude despite their diminutive size. The Guinness Book of Records has also stated that this carnivore can even defend itself against much larger predators like lions and hyenas.

Since honey badgers have poor eyesight and typically have their noses in the ground, they may be unaware of their surroundings and only attack when startled by predators, which frequently occurs when they are digging.

Can a Honey Badger Kill a Tiger?

Honey badgers can take on opponents bigger than their size, so if they were to encounter tigers, they might not hesitate.

It would be a difficult feat for a honey badger to defeat a tiger as the tiger has the advantage of size, weight, power, and skills. The tiger may not be able to tear from the hard skin of the badger. However, that might still affect the badger internally.

The honey badger is regarded as one of the most vicious animals in the world, weight for weight. It trots with a hairpin trigger through the African Savannah, eager for conflict. Honey badgers, so named because of their thick head of golden hair, have been known to challenge lions, tigers, and leopards. 

Can a Honey Badger Kill a Hyena?

A hyena might be sufficiently scared off by a honey badger. Their bites could result in an injury that later becomes infected and kills the hyena. However, since hyenas hunt in packs, it might not be possible for the honey badger to defeat one in combat. 

Hyenas are substantially bigger, have very strong jaws, and are skilled killers.

However, because they are typically rabid or dangerous in some way, many large carnivores simply retreat from small, enraged animals that assume a threat stance.

If they were in a fight, the hyena might just be taking a risk, honey badgers can turn around “in their skin,” and their hides are 1/4 inch thick. What this means is that honey badgers’ skins are not tightly attached to their bodies, so if a predator grabs hold of their skin, they can move about freely and attack the predator. 

Additionally, honey badgers frequently target the testicles, and if the predator loses the ability to reproduce, it may be harmed.

Can a Honey Badger Kill a Human?

Although there are anecdotal reports of honey badgers injuring or even killing people, there is little empirical data to support these claims. They are undoubtedly capable of causing serious harm. However, we would witness a lot more violent interactions if honey badgers were determined to attack people.

Additionally, although there were tales of honey badgers emasculating and letting their prey bleed to death in the middle of the 20th century, no one has recorded such an attack or prey on humans since 1950.

Final Verdict

To conclude, we found out that if a honey badger would take on a lion, it would give it a good fight. Honey badgers are vicious and always looking to attack beings that they think are threats. 

However, because of the sheer difference in size, weight, power, and skills between a lion and a honey badger— the lion would win, being the bigger predator. We hope that you found this article helpful and also fulfilling to know so much about the nature of the animal, the honey badger.

Disclaimer: This blog should not be considered as being professional pet medical advice. The content published on this blog is for informational purposes only. Please always consult with a licensed and local veterinarian for medical advice.

About Shaun Clarke

Shaun is passionate about pets and animals, especially dogs, cats, and rabbits. He owns a dog and a couple of cats too. He loves visiting wildlife sanctuaries and shares a strong bond with animals. When he is not writing, he loves to do a barbecue in the backyard with his family and friends.