RATEL, or Honey-Badger, the name of certain Indian and African small clumsy-looking creatures of about the size and appearance of badgers, representing the genus Mellivora in the family Mustelidae.
Two species of ratel are commonly recognized, the Indian (M.
Ratel), which ranges over Africa, but a black ratel from the Ituri forest has been separated as M.
C. Jerdon states that the Indian ratel is found throughout the whole of India, from the extreme south to the foot of the Himalaya, chiefly in hilly districts, where it has greater facilities for constructing the holes and dens in which it lives; but also in the north of India in alluvial plains, where the banks of large rivers afford equally suitable localities wherein to make its lair.
In confinement the Indian ratel becomes tame and even playful, displaying a habit of tumbling head over heels.
It is said also to dig up the nests of wasps in order to eat the larvae, as the ratel - a closely allied South African form - is said to rob the bees of their honey.
Among animals peculiar to the forest regions are a tiger-cat about the size of a leopard, the honey badger or black Ituri ratel and the elephant shrew.