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Apr
05

Do Animals Eat Honey?

We know that honeybees produce sweet honey from the nectar of flowers. We also know that humans enjoy eating the substance, using it as a sweetener, and applying it during skin care and first-aid treatments. But, do animals eat honey? Aside from the fictional Winnie the Pooh, you may be surprised to learn how many animals enjoy this sweet substance.

Real bears enjoy honey as do raccoons, which seem to eat anything they can get their little paws on these days. Skunks may not smell sweet but they enjoy the sweet taste of different types of honey. Even predatory jackals are known to have honey snacks when they are not chasing wild game. These long-legged wild dogs have always had a bad reputation. One would think that honey would have sweetened them up by now.

Civets may not be familiar animals to people living outside of Asia or Africa where these small, nocturnal mammals reside. Known for their musky scents, civets are kept as pets by some people indigenous to Peninsular Malaysia. A palm civet even became the mascot of the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity located at the National University of Singapore. These cat-like mammals are carnivorous but they are also known to indulge in delicious honey.

The appropriately named honey badger is arguably the biggest honey fan in the animal kingdom. This little critter looks more like a weasel than a badger. Do not let appearances fool you because this carnivore can ferociously defend itself, causing t to have few natural predators. Its strong-clawed toes come in handy for more than just defense because this is one of the few species that can use tools. A relatively smart animal, the honey badger can roll logs and fight off large predators including lions.

Honey badgers search for beehives, often locating the sweet stuff by following birds that eat bee larvae. Fortunately, these animals are native to Africa and southwest Asia, far from where manuka honey is made. When they are not enjoying savory honey, honey badgers dine on turtles, frogs, insects, rodents, fruit, and vegetables.

Next time you buy manuka honey, think about these and other animals that enjoy the sweet stuff as much as you do. Animals and humans have more in common than many people realize and in this case, we are united by the busy little honeybee. As long as those tiny insects keep doing their jobs, we will all be happy!

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