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Photo Information
Copyright: Willem Botha (whjb) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 51 W: 26 N: 172] (683)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2006-07-17
Categories: Mammals
Camera: Olympus E-300, Sigma 55-200mm 1:4-5.6 DC, 55mm UV Filter
Exposure: f/7.1, 1/1600 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): Mammals of Southern Africa II [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2006-10-21 4:41
Viewed: 6592
Points: 16
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Honey badger (Mellivora capensis). The ratel is generally a solitary animal but it has also been observed in small groups. These groups usually consist of about three members, most likely families . Ratels are nomadic and have a large home range. They are very secretive and usually nocturnal, hunting at night. When threatened, a ratel usually attacks and has even been known to attack human hunters and cars. Ratels, especially wounded ones, secrete foul scented anal secretions to discourage enemies. Probably the most intriguing aspect of ratel behavior is its symbiotic relationship with the honey guide. The honey guide will lead a ratel to a beehive and wait for the ratel to expose the desired parts. The ratel eats the honey and leaves the larvae and wax, as well as hard to get at honey, for the bird to consume. (Rosevear, 1974. National Geographic, 1981)

LordPotty, NellyD, labfam, loot has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To loot: Thankswhjb 7 11-17 06:14
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Critiques [Translate]

Hi Willem,
Funny but good shot.

Great shot Willem.
This loks more like an animal that should be in the forest,but I guess it knows what it is doing.
Good colour and light with good detail.

  • Great 
  • viv Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 292 W: 3 N: 653] (3317)
  • [2006-10-21 5:39]

Hello Willem,
What a great shot, I know this animal only out of the books. What a lucky guy you are to make a picture of it. Sharp and the eye that very interesting.
Thanks a lot.

Hi Willem, werent you lucky to capture this chap - lovely sharp photo. It would be interesting to know where you were. TKS for sharing a rarely seen fellow.

  • Great 
  • NellyD Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 237 W: 0 N: 445] (1783)
  • [2006-10-21 14:17]

Hi Willem,

It's a great shot, and a funny one, what a face :-)
I like it, I never saw this animal before, so thanks for sharing this.

Greetings, Nel

Hi Willem,

Nice closeup of this little chap. Looks like he is ready for the fight, hands are up front, sort of karate stance. Sharpness and DOF very good. Well done.


Great shot! I love the texture and reflection off the hair. Great exposure of a tricky critter.

This was one of the animals I most wanted to see when we were in South Africa and Botswana but we didn't find one. Everyone just wants to show you the "big 5" but if you had an interest in other species (Ratels, Pangolins, Springhares, snakes), they didn't seem to know what to do with you!

  • Great 
  • loot Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5524 W: 722 N: 4163] (11276)
  • [2006-11-10 20:18]
  • [2] [+]

Hello Willem

You sure are one lucky guy to get such a good view and the opportunity of a lifetime to photograph this animal. They are rather scarce and shy therefore they do not stick around for long once you have stopped your car and poked the camera out of the window. However, it seems like this was a very curious chap or you had something in your car that smelled like food and he came a-begging. If you do a search of the 'Gallery' you will find that this photo is one of only three on TN showing the honey badger which gives you some indication of how seldom they are seen or photographed. I've just come back from the Kruger after an 18 days visit where I saw 2 badgers, but I had no chance to take any good photos.
These are ferocious little animals with a well establish reputation in the animal kingdom. It is thought that young cheetah cubs looks much similar to badgers (displaying the greyish-white and black colours on their backs) to confuse other predators and preventing them from attacking the young cheetahs out of fear for the badgers. Just one look at those claws already tells one to ‘watch out’.
You managed very well to capture the colour and contrasts in its fur showing some excellent details and you even caught that magic little catch light in its eye.
Just one other point I would like to mention to you. It would be great to know where you have taken this photo as your notes do not provide a clue. Further I see that all your photos indicate that it was apparently taken at "Alberton, Gauteng". Surely this photo, or the photo of the leopard, or the dolphin, or the vultures, etc., was not taken in Alberton. I know there must be some vultures living in Alberton, but I am sure they are of a different kind and not Whitebacked vultures (chuckle). When you upload a photo the idea is that you identify the place where the photo was taken and not where you live. This way each photo has a unique and complete record for "Continent, Country, Province, Town or Location" where the animal was seen or where the shot was taken.
Anyway, good work and TFS.

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