By Crystal Chung @CrystalKChung
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Considered to be ‘The World’s Most Fearless Animal’ by the Guinness Book of World Records, the following set of rare images show a honey badger feeding hungrily on wild beehives in Kruger National Park, South Africa.
The photographer, Chris Jek,said: “A honey badger is a very elusive, small, omnivorous but ferocious animal known for taking on beehives to eat honey.
“Pictures of honey badgers feeding on wild beehives are very rare to capture as the behaviour has much more often been observed in man made beehive, but very exceptionally in the wild.”
Honey badgers are notorious for their strength, ferocity and toughness and are known to savagely and fearlessly attack almost any kind of animal when escape is impossible, even repelling much larger predators such as lions.
Chris, from France, was driving on a dirt road following the Sabie River when he spotted the evasive animal on the side of the road.
He said: ”The badger was about 30 metres away from me. I did not realise at first glance that it was sitting on a beehive. It was only in my lens that I noticed it was surrounded by furious bees. Switching off my engine, I could hear the bees buzzing in fury around the intruder.
“The honey badger did not care at all about me. It was entirely focused on retrieving the honey from the hive. I could see the bees attacking it furiously but it was completely indifferent to their stings.”
The honey badger has a thick rubbery skin that helps protect it from the teeth of predators. The fearless animals also have incredibly powerful jaws, which allows it to eat every part of its prey, including the bones.
A honey badger’s jaws are even powerful enough to eat a turtle - including the shell - without difficulty.
The 52-year-old photographer said: “I had a once-in-a-lifetime piece of luck as I arrived just as the honey badger discovered the beehive, so I could follow the entire action from start to finish. Checking later on my cameras record, I found out that it took the honey badger seven minutes to excavate the honey, eat it and leave peacefully into the bush.
“On top of that, I had a relatively clear view of the action, with no bush or branches hiding the view as it so often happens in the Kruger Park.
“After it had its sweet breakfast, the honey badger stared at me again and then disappeared into the bush, leaving me amazed and fascinated by the incredible piece of luck I had to be exactly at the right place at the right time!”