Going in:

My brain is always hungry for new information and new perspectives. I hate how cable networks like Discovery Channel and The Learning Channel have strayed from their original focus to primarily feature garbage reality TV shows.  I believe PBS’s Nature series is one of the few remaining sources of high-quality informative programming about the natural world, so I was excited to see this appear on Netflix streaming.


You’ve heard someone say before: “Honey badger don’t give a s***.”  Before watching this show, everything I knew about honey badgers was based on the video-gone-viral from a few years ago, where it shows a honey badger eating a King Cobra after shrugging off its venomous bite.  (See embedded video below)

We all know the Internet is full of hyperbole, exaggeration, and polarizing statements. As it turns out, that viral video sells the honey badger well short. In addition to its ferocity, aggression, and ability to sleep off poison that would kill any other animal in Africa, the honey badger is perhaps the smartest and most clever animal on the savannah.

This episode of PBS’s Nature documents a honey badger research team as they travel through Africa, tracing the activities of the honey badger and gathering stories from those who’ve witnessed and dealt with them. They’ve got great night vision video of honey badgers’ nightly scavenging of a camp trash dump, as they fight off predators much larger than themselves. They got tales of honey badgers going after huge lions and rhinos, and winning the battles by fighting dirty.

But the most amazing thing is the brain that guides their brawn. Need an example? Here are the lengths one wounded honey badger went through to escape its enclosure at the wildlife rehab center featured on the show, which is essentially a sunken concrete pit with vertical walls that it can’t possibly climb:

  1. Climb the trees near the edge of the pit and jump out (too easy)
  2. After edge trees are removed, spend several hours twisting branches on the middle trees to get them to bend toward the edge. Climb those and jump out.
  3. After all trees are removed, prop a rake that a caretaker has left up against the wall and climb out.
  4. After zero-tolerance policy enacted against rakes, gather large rocks from the pit. Stack them in the corner and climb out.
  5. After all rocks are removed, use drinking water to make mud balls. Stack them in the corner and climb out.
  6. Are you seriously not impressed yet?

I used to think raccoons were clever for figuring out how to get into our trash cans. One of them was fierce enough to snarl and swipe at my foot before escaping. Now I know a different perspective: if raccoons are the street thugs of the animal kingdom, the honey badger is Keyser Soze.


There are many great Nature shows. This is one of the best I’ve seen in years, and it strongly backs up the honey badger legend with hard evidence.  It’s less than an hour – get your learn on!

In addition to Netflix streaming, it is available to stream for free directly from PBS. (see below)


PBS link: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/episodes/honey-badgers-masters-of-mayhem/full-episode/8636/

Original viral video: (Warning: rated R for gratuitous nature violence and language)

Honey Badgers: Masters of Mayhem (Nature on PBS)
Find out the truth behind Internet legend
The Good
  • Great footage of honey badgers in action
  • In-depth info about their place in nature, and the problems they cause
The Bad/Ugly
  • Sparse info about how they live away from humanity
8.1Overall Score
Reader Rating: (1 Vote)

About The Author


I'm a video game programmer, just like Chev Chelios. I've loved movies all of my life, favor substance over style, and try to have high standards and an open mind.

  • Rodrigo Alvarez

    Honey badgers are pretty awesome and this documentary shows how insanely smart they are. If you ever want to confine a honey badger, the only way to do it is in a concrete hole with ABSOLUTELY nothing in it.