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The honey badger has a fairly long body, but is distinctly thick-set and broad across the back. Its skin is remarkably loose, and allows it to turn and twist freely within it.The skin around the neck is 6 millimetres (0.24 in) thick, an adaptation to fighting conspecifics.The head is small and flat, with a short muzzle. The eyes are small, and the ears are little more than ridges on the skin,another possible adaptation to avoiding damage while fighting.The honey badger has short and sturdy legs, with five toes on each foot. The feet are armed with very strong claws, which are short on the hind legs and remarkably long on the forelimbs. It is a partially plantigrade animal whose soles are thickly padded and naked up to the wrists. The tail is short and is covered in long hairs, save for below the base.
Honey badgers are the largest terrestrial mustelids in Africa. Adults measure 23 to 28 cm (9.1 to 11 in) in shoulder height and 55–77 cm (22–30 in) in body length, with the tail adding another 12–30 cm (4.7–12 in). Females are smaller than males.Males weigh 9 to 16 kg (20 to 35 lb) while females weigh 5 to 10 kg (11 to 22 lb) on average. Skull length is 13.9–14.5 cm (5.5–5.7 in) in males and 13 cm (5.1 in) for females.There are two pairs of mammae.The honey badger possesses an anal pouch which, unusual among mustelids, is reversible, a trait shared with hyenas and mongooses. The smell of the pouch is reportedly "suffocating", and may assist in calming bees when raiding beehives.
The winter fur is long (being 40–50 mm long on the lower back), and consists of sparse, coarse, bristle-like hairs lacking underfur. Hairs are even sparser on the flanks, belly and groin. The summer fur is shorter (being only 15 mm long on the back) and even sparser, with the belly being half bare. The sides of the heads and lower body are pure black in colour. A large white band covers their upper bodies, beginning from the top of their heads down to the base of their tails.Honey badgers of the cottoni subspecies are unique in being completely black in colour.for more images