Honey Badger Vs Lion: The David And Goliath Of The Wild

In a fight of honey badger vs lion, who is going to win or have the upper hand in fight? Let’s delve deeper into these many times-asked questions and try to resolve this mystery once and for all.

At first glance, it seems like a very unfair fight as there is a huge difference between them in terms of their size and first appearance. However, it is very much likely that they would encounter each other because they both share the same territory in the ranges of Africa.

If the lion has an advantage in terms of its size and fierceness, then the honey badger also has many weapons in its arsenal. It might be smaller in size but has powerful teeth, strong claws and jaws, and very hard skin which is extremely difficult to penetrate.

Both of these creatures usually exist in the eastern side of Africa. There is a huge population of both of these animals in the wilderness of this region of Africa. Let’s compare their features one by one and decide which animal would be the ultimate winner in this fight.

honey badger vs lion
Honey Badger vs Lion.

Key differences between honey badger and lion

Both of these creatures are actually quite different from each other. Lion belongs to the genus panther while honey badgers belong to the genus Mellivora. Lions are also considered to be larger, faster, and more intelligent than honey badgers. However, both are mammals and very ferocious predators and are mainly found in Sub-Saharan Africa.

CharacteristicsHoney badgerLion
SizeWeight: 11-40 lbs Length: 1.5-2.5 ft Height: 10 inchesWeight: 264-550 lbs Length: 4.7-8.2 ft Height: 3.9 ft
Speed and movement19 mph35 mph
Bite power and teethPowerful teeth and sharp jaws could bite through tortoise shells.30 feet with four-inch canines. 650 PSI bite force.
SensesPoor eyesight but good hearing and smelling sense.Good sighting capability plus night vision, good smelling, and hearing capability.
HabitatSub-Saharan AfricaAfrican grasslands
Defense mechanismThick but flexible skin plus very stinky musk.Hunt in the pack and very large size.
Life span10-12 years10-15 years
Offensive capabilitiesSharp claws, powerful bite, quick retorting capability.Excellent scratching, and biting, capability plus powerful paws and claws.
Tail55-77 cm170-250 cm
DietOmnivores: birds, rodents, reptiles, roots, fruits, etc.Carnivores: zebras, wildebeests, antelopes.
Predatory BehaviorUnplanned attacks plus dig preyStalks and pounce, in the end, attack in groups.

Honey badgers vs lions: Comparison based on their physical features

Both of these animals have many extraordinary capabilities. However, we are going to discuss key elements which will determine the outcome of the fight between honey badger and lion. We will closely compare their sizes, speed, defensive mechanism, fighting skills, predatory behavior, etc. By examining these features, we can finally determine the result of the ultimate battle between them.

Size: honey badger vs lion

It is obvious that a lion has a much bigger size than a honey badger and the big size animal has definitely an edge over a smaller size animal. On average, lions are 8 feet long and weigh around 500 pounds while honey badgers on average have just 40 pounds in weight and 2.5 feet in length. It means a honey badger is much shorter than a lion. Thus, the lion has a clear edge over the honey badger when it comes to size.

Honey badger vs lion: senses

Lion powerful senses, ultimate predator
Lion: powerful senses, ultimate predator.

When it comes to sighting capability, honey badgers also lack this feature. But they are excellent when it comes to sensing and smell. They also have the excellent hearing capability. Still, it is easy to ambush honey badger when it is busy somewhere.

On the other hand, lions have excellent sighting, smelling, and hearing capabilities. They can easily capture their prey in the nighttime. They can easily smell the markings of the creature left behind by other animals. They can easily analyze the animals coming towards them at miles of distance. Thus, the lion is also the ultimate winner when it comes to senses.

Intelligence: lion vs honey badger

Honey Badger small in size, big in brain
Honey Badger: small in size, big in brain.

It is not predestined that the only bigger and more powerful will be the winner. Sometimes, the most shrewd and cunning also take a number. Honey badgers have a big brain in a small body which they use very effectively while fighting. There are very few non-primates species that have this tool and the honey badger is one of them.

The lions are also not dumb in this case. They are actually among the smartest large cat species who can act very smartly than their other cousins like leopards and tigers. In this feature, the ultimate winner would be a honey badger.

Defense mechanism: lion vs honey badger

As you already know, lions are much bigger in size and they also like to roam around in packs or with a partner. Moreover, they also have very strong senses. All of these things are compliments for their defense mechanism. It is extremely difficult to ambush or overpower lions.

On the other hand, honey badgers have also good defense mechanisms as they have very thick and flexible bodies. Furthermore, they could utilize their body for their best during the fight. They can turn back in their loose skin and attack backward. They can also hide under the dig as they can dig very quickly. These things added more defense mechanism skills in the honey badgers.

Fighting skills

Fighting skills is all about quick action and more use of force. As far as quick action is concerned, badgers have an edge over lions while lions are much more powerful when it comes to the use of force. The one thing which stands out in the lions is their stamina as well as their vicious attack on their enemies. This also gives the lions edge over the badgers.

Predatory behavior: Lions vs honey badgers

Lions like to eat only fresh meat. That’s why they like to attack every potential prey they find in the wilderness. They also like to hunt together with other lions or use stealthy techniques for attacking their opponents. They also don’t like to fight in the danger zone but fight till the bitter end. They rarely lose the fight and most of the time overpower their enemies.

On the hand, honey badgers are also very ferocious in terms of attacking their prey. But they don’t assess the situation before attacking any animal. That’s why they also end up fighting with very big and dangerous animals. In this case, there are more chances of losing the fight rather than overpowering other animals.

Overall, if we analyze their predatory behavior, there is more inclination toward lions than badgers. Thus, the lions are also winners in this property.

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Offensive capabilities: honey badgers vs lions

Lions have several features in their hand like their massive size, powerful bit, fast run, and ramming capability. Moreover, they can also utilize all their sharp claws in their four paws while fighting with other animals. Thus, they can inflict very serious damage on their enemies.

On the other hand, honey badgers also have very sharp claws but they only use their front claws in the fight. They also preferably use their power teeth more than jaws in the fight. They like to bite only on the most sensitive part of the other animal. It means they attack while using their trump card.

It means they might be aggressive and powerful as well as lions still lions have an advantage over them in their offensive capabilities.

Speed and movement: honey badger vs lion

Both animals are good in terms of speed and movement. When it comes to speed, lions have an edge as they can run as fast as 35 mph while badgers can only run as much as 19 mph. on the other hand, when it comes to movement, honey badgers are quite good in terms of retorting back as they are very agile animals. The size of their body is also advantageous in this scenario. Thus, we will tie this feature between honey badgers and lions as both of these animals have an edge over each other.

Who would be the ultimate winner in the fight between honey badger and lion?

In simple words, the ultimate winner would be a lion. Whenever a fight happens between two animals, it is decided based on their size and power to kill another animal. Lions are extremely good in terms of power and size. That’s why the lion would be a winner in this fight.

Honey badgers might resist or endure some fatal blows from very large animals like a lion but a time comes when it becomes not good enough to sustain these powerful attacks. The thick skin of honey badger might hold it up for the time being but the tissues and bones under it would be crushed ultimately. The blow or bite of the lion is good enough to crack the honey badger’s skin.

If a lion wants to attack a honey badger, first it will smell honey badger somewhere with its powerful sensing capability and then follow the musk sprayed by the honey badger. When they encounter it, the lion will pounce overwhelmingly with very powerful force and break the honey badger’s back or crack its skull.

Whenever a casual encounter happens between the honey badger and the lion, the honey badger shows its agility by dancing and also sometimes taking a bite or swiping at the lion. By doing this, the lion becomes active and retorts back with very powerful blunt force with the help of its paws and claws. It would stagger the honey badger and after that lions would give their fatal blow.

It doesn’t matter how aggressive or powerful a honey badger is, it could not kill a full-grown lion. It might not be easy to kill the honey badger the lions but they would be the ultimate loser.

YouTube video
Watch the Honey badgers vs 6 lions action. Who will be the winner?

Frequently asked questions

In the fight between honey badger and lion, the lion would be the winner. The lions are more powerful, have bigger sizes, and have very aggressive bites which is unsustainable for even the very thick skin creatures like honey badgers.

Honey badgers are very aggressive and ferocious animals and are considered the most fearless animal in the world. It is extremely difficult to overpower or control them. Sometimes, even the bigger size animals like lions, tigers, and leopards try to have a distance from honey badgers as there are chances of injury in the fight and they would also get very less meat in the end. It doesn’t mean that the lions are afraid of honey badgers. There are many instances when a fight happens between them and honey badger gets killed in the end.

Usually, honey badgers like to hunt their own food. But they have also been seen stealing from big animals like lions, hyenas, and leopards. They could also steal the remaining prey of the predators left behind by them. It is actually in the nature of honey badgers to become engaged with large animals in various forms. By doing these activities, they also get themselves killed by these dangerous predators.


In this article, we have tried our best to compare honey badgers and lions from various perspectives. They were compared based on their size, weight, height, sensing capability, defense mechanism, and offensive capabilities. If we conclude, then it is quite easy to understand that the lion would be the ultimate winner between them. We have proved this by analyzing their various features and capabilities.

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