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Ratel/Honey Badger (Mellivora capensis) Fact Sheet: Distribution & Habitat


Historical range (from Begg et al. 2008 unless otherwise noted)

  • Extensive range
    • Extended through most of sub-Saharan Africa
    • Inhabited Arabia and parts of Asia
      • Iran west to Turkmenistan and the Indian peninsula
  • Rare (at low densities) or extinct across most of historic range

Current distribution (from Begg et al. 2008; Vanderhaar and Hwang 2003 unless otherwise noted)

  • Africa
    • Western Africa, surrounding the Sahara desert
    • Central, eastern, and southern Africa
      • Spans the continent from west to east
    • Believed absent from the central Sahara Desert, the Mediterranean coast (to the Nile Valley), and central portions of South Africa
  • Arabian Peninsula
    • Covers much of the peninsula
  • Asia and India
    • Western Iran, across the central Zagros Mountains
    • Turkmenistan
    • India and southern Pakistan


Habitat generalist (from Begg et al. 2008 unless otherwise noted)

  • Rainforests
    • Congo Basin
  • Arid desert outskirts
    • Around the Sahara and Namib
  • In India, avoids regions with heavy rainfall (Gupta et al. 2012)

Elevation range

  • 0-4,050 m (0- 13,287 ft) (Sillero-Zubiri 1996)

Distribution Map

Ratel distribution map

Adapted from according to IUCN fact sheet. Click here or on map for detailed distribution (IUCN).

Page Citations

Begg et al. (2008)
Gupta et al. (2012)
Sillero-Zubiri (1996)
Vanderhaar and Hwang (2003)

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