We have recently returned from our annual visit to South Africa’s flagship game reserve, the Kruger National Park. What an incredible experience awaits those who visit the park for the first time – and an equally wonderful time for those of us who go back year after year. This year proved to be even more outstanding than usual (for January), mainly because of the drought, as the animals were much more visible without the typical long grass of summer. Unfortunately the downside was that the animals were very hot, thirsty and, in many instances, hungry. There were some heartbreaking sights, but I will blog about those another time. Today belongs to Stoffel Two – our nickname for a honey badger (Mellivora capensis) that caused quite a stir in our camp at Satara.
As you can see from the photo of our chalet, the kitchen is situated on the outside of the building, with the fridge enclosed in a metal cage (to keep out thieving monkeys and honey badgers!)
We had the foresight to lock our fridge gate with a padlock – something that our neighbour omitted to do. Stoffel Two arrived one hot lunch time and proceeded to tackle the unlocked gate. He deftly pulled back the dead bolt, opened the gate and then opened the fridge with absolute ease.
Unfortunately he had rather lean pickings as the meals for our group were mostly catered for, which meant that there was very little in the way of tasty food to sink his teeth into. It didn’t stop him examining every nook and cranny of the fridge in search of something edible.
Honey badgers are quite dangerous when confronted, as we saw when one of our group tried to chase Stoffel Two away. He was cornered on the verandah, and feeling threatened, he immediately bared his teeth and growled ferociously, making her quickly pull back out of harm’s way.
Once he had checked out the entire contents of the fridge, the honey badger made his way past all the photographers in search of the next easy target in the camp.
Do yourself a favour and watch this short video.
You will be amazed and amused by his Houdini-like ability to escape from his enclosure. For more information on these fascinating and incredibly intelligent animals, read our blog about them written after our trip to the Central Kalahari.