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Honeyguides and Honey Badgers

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Honeyguides are birds from Southern Africa, Asia and the Mideast. As a species, they are normally on the hunt for bees and their hives. As a bird, accessing the gold-mine of honey within the hives is not such as easy task. This is where the honey badger or ratel (Afrikaans) comes into play. The bird has evolved to a point where it is actually smart enough to get help from a deadly badger.

First the bird chirps until it has the attention of the ratel. The badgers, who have also evolved to make use of this symbiotic relationship, know to follow the honeyguide to the prize. The ratel is equipped with the tools needed to weasel its way into the hive unlike the small guide bird. Oddly enough, the badger, which could easily kill the bird, doesn't, but does leaves a certain amount of honey and hive behind as a form of tipping. They both seem to have agreed on ganging up on bees as the right thing to do.


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