Honey badgers are the largest terrestrial mustelids in Africa. Adults measure 23 to 28 cm (9. 1 to 11. 0 in) in shoulder height and 55–77 cm (22–30 in) in body length, with the tail adding another 12–30 cm (4. 7–11. 8 in). Females are smaller than males. In Africa, males weigh 9 to 16 kg (20 to 35 lb) while females weigh 5 to 10 kg (11 to 22 lb) on average. The mean weight of adult honey badgers from different areas has been reported at anywhere between 6. 4 to 12 kg (14 to 26 lb), with a median of roughly 9 kg (20 lb), per various studies. This positions it as the third largest known badger, after the European badger and hog badger, and fourth largest extant terrestrial mustelid after additionally the wolverine. However, the average weight of three wild females from Iraq was reported as 18 kg (40 lb), about the typical size of the males from largest-bodied populations of wolverines or from male European badgers in late autumn, indicating that they can attain much larger than typical sizes in favorable conditions. Skull length is 13. 9–14. 5 cm (5. 5–5. 7 in) in males and 13 cm (5. 1 in) for females.
Honey badgers do appear to have some immunity to snake venoms. A honey badger bitten on the face by the highly cytotoxic puff adder showed signs of severe pain but recovered fully within five hours (Begg & Begg pers. obs.). This immunity may develop over the life time of the honey badgers due to regular contact with small amounts of venom in snakes, scorpions and bees. Young cubs are prevented from catching poisonous snakes by their mothers until they have the necessary skills and coordination.
The honey badger ( Mellivora capensis ), also known as the ratel ( / ˈ r eɪ t əl / or / ˈ r ɑː t əl / ), is widely distributed in Africa , Southwest Asia , and in the Indian subcontinent . Because of its wide range and occurrence in a variety of habitats, it is listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List .