Stoffel the Honeybadger


Stoffel the Honeybadger

Twenty years ago, Brian Jones, a wildlife conservationist at Kruger National Park in South Africa, rescued a honey badger he named Stoffel. Stoffel might’ve looked like a lump-headed rodent, but history proved he was one seriously smart badger.

Genius Honey Badger Pulls Off A Daring Escape That Has To Be Seen To Be Believed.

Anyone who’s been a frequent user of the Internet since about 2011 likely knows that honey badgers famously do not care. Only that’s not the only thing worth knowing about them!

You see, the aforementioned meme overshadowed the impressive intelligence of the honey badger. Brian Jones, a wildlife conservationist at Kruger National Park in South Africa, found that out firsthand when he rescued Stoffel the honey badger from a trap 20 years ago.

See, any time Brian puts the rescued honey badger in a cage, the rascally critter does something amazing…

Stoffel was a bit of a loose cannon in his early days—you know the type. A loner. A rebel. A badger who didn’t play by the rules. But after Stoffel was mauled by a few lions on the conservation, Brian knew he was going to have to make some changes to the honey badger’s lifestyle.

Brian set up Stoffel in a new pen with a female honey-badger named Hammy. He hoped this would help Stoffel put some of his energy to a more constructive use. That, Brian figured, would keep the honey badger out of trouble. But oh boy, was he wrong!

The gate on Stoffel and Hammy’s new pen was simple. There were two sliding mechanisms: one at the base of the swinging, chain-link gate, and one toward the top of it. This would be enough to corral the tricky honey badger, right? Well…

Stoffel wasn’t so easily contained. In fact, once the gate was shut, he climbed up the fence, reached through the links, and simply undid the lock! Still, he wasn’t out of the pen yet—he needed help from his lovely assistant.

Once Stoffel undid the first bolt, he climbed down the fence, and, like a gentleman, held it in place while Hammy climbed up. Together, they pulled off a truly daring escape! It was enough to make Harry Houdini proud.

Once Hammy was off of the fence, Stoffel opened it up, and the two simply walked out. Amazingly, this wasn’t even their greatest escape. In fact, they were capable of much, much more…

“Their intelligence is just beyond anything,” Brian told the BBC. “People have said, ‘Did you train it?’ Train it? Not at all. Didn’t even think of it. He outwitted us.” Now that’s some high praise for a badger, but after seeing Stoffel’s second escape, you won’t doubt it.

Brian’s praise wasn’t unearned. Stoffel practiced escaping regularly. Whatever Brian did to keep Stoffel and Hammy in their pen, the two honey badgers would find a way out, even tunneling like they were in The Great Escape. So Brian tried something drastic…

To keep his escape artists locked up for good, Brian built what BBC dubbed “Honey Badger Alcatraz”—a walled-off enclosure that, in theory, would be inescapable for Stoffel and Hammy. Well, theories are nice, but these honey badgers didn’t care much for Brian’s theory. And so began the second act of Stoffel’s escape show…

First, it’s important to note just how resourceful honey badgers are. They’re one of the few animals on the planet who make use of tools in addition to their freakishly sharp claws. This guy, for instance, used a rock to break through a glass enclosure.

In fact, the honey badger earned its name due to its propensity to go after honey, which is, you know, normally way up in trees and surrounded by bees. In other words, nabbing some honey is no easy task… unless you’re a honey badger!

Honey badgers can scale trees as easily as a cat. And really, the word easily here is no exaggeration. To test how good the honey badger like Stoffel was, a beekeeper named Guy Stubbs tried to help Brian by designing a badger-proof beehive. He thought he’d pulled it off, too… but then Stoffel showed up.

You see, Guy hoped he could best Stoffel and Hammy with his new contraption. Clearly, he didn’t know what he was up against. Watching Stoffel thwart his best bee-safety efforts must have been something else. Oh, but what about Brian’s Honey Badger Alcatraz?

Maybe it won’t come as a surprise that Stoffel saw Honey Badger Alcatraz as hardly a challenge. There were trees in the enclosure, and where there are trees, there are branches. So, for Stoffel’s second escape act, he simply grabbed a branch, carried it over to the wall, and used it to scale the enclosure!

Brian was tired of being outwitted, so he removed all the branches and climbable trees from the enclosure. That’s when he discovered that Stoffel didn’t need the branch to escape. Instead, he just piled up rocks into makeshift steps and walked out!

Yet, somehow, this wasn’t even Stoffel’s finest work. The main event for this honey badger’s escape show? It wasn’t even carrying shovels or flipping tires. It was a breakout—or rather, breakin—that will really blow your mind!

See, Stoffel was essentially the Houdini of the animal world, and he was proof that honey badgers might just be one of the smartest animals on Earth. Still not convinced? Well, take a look at this…

As far as honey badger tricks go, it didn’t get too much better than Stoffel scaling a tree and effortlessly grabbing the beehive a beekeeper worked so hard to protect. But you haven’t seen anything yet. The next few videos provided some evidence…

Finally, the main event: when you watch the video below, you’ll see even more of Stoffel’s brilliant escapes: one executed so precisely and expertly that he gave Brian and his wife a scare in the middle of the night! How smart is this honey badger?

For a small animal, the honey badger has an amazingly large brain and he is absolutely fearless. Stoffel certainly proves that!

Courtesy: Maggie Watson - see the full story with images below:

Genius Honey Badger Pulls Off A Daring Escape That Has To Be Seen To Be Believed by Maggie Watson (video).

The story (behind) Stoffel the honey badger:

Some of you may have seen the hilarious video where the beloved Stoffel of Moholoholo Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre attempts multiple escapes from his enclosure. Some questions have been raised as to why Stoffel was in an enclosure in the first place, so we would like to share with you Stoffel’s story from our side.

The killing resulted in international media attention, caused outrage among animal conservationists, criticism by politicians and celebrities and a strong negative response against Palmer.


Stoffel was hand raised by a farmer in the area where he caused chaos in the house. He was brought to Moholoholo about 18 years ago where he was allowed to roam free with the other two female honey badgers at the centre. These females eventually went back to the wild but Stoffel stayed due to the fact that he had been imprinted by humans by such a young age. He caused havoc in the rehab centre killing small bucks, rabbits and even an adult tawny eagle.

He also visited the local lodge where management received frantic calls for help as Stoffel chased the kitchen staff out the kitchen, taking over as he helped himself to the tasty food in the kitchen. At another time he visited guest rooms; tearing open handbags to get to what was inside.

Eventually Moholoholo was forced to put him in a quarter hectare camp with natural trees and grass. However he broke out of camp to fight with the lions, ending up in the hospital clinic for two months. He was then put back in his camp whereupon he immediately tried to get back to the lions.

In the end Moholoholo was sponsored by Rotary Club to build Stoffel a brick house. Yet, after only a few hours in his new home, he escaped again and again in spite of the staff trying different measures to hinder him.

In short a human imprinted honey badger can be a problem. However Stoffel will remain loved by all at the Moholoholo Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre and for all who come to visit the centre, he is an ambassador for his species.

Courtesy: Posted May 2014 by Africa Geographic, written by: Brian Jones


Stoffle, the Badger that can escape from anywhere! | Honey Badgers: Masters of Mayhem - BBC (video).

Honey Badgers: Masters Of Mayhem. Full version (video).

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