The honey badger, Mellivora capensis (Von Schreiber, 1776) belongs to the diverse Mustelid family, which includes eight other badger species, otters, weasels and the wolverine. The name badger was given to the honey badger because of its superficial resemblance to the Eurasian badger, but the two species are not closely related and the honey badger is the only representative of a separate subfamily in which it is the only species.

Many subspecies of honey badgers have been described, mostly determined by pelage variations, but the majority of these subspecies are disputed by zoologists. The honey badger's pelage, particularly the colour of the gray mantle and white stripe is highly variable and changes with age.

classOther badger species in the world include the Eurasian badger (Meles), American badger (Taxidea), Hog badger (Arctonyx), Indonesian stink badger / Teledu (Mydaus), Palawan / Calamian stink badger (Suillotaxus) and the Chinese ferret badger (Melogale).

Kingdom: Animalia (animals)
Phylum: Chordata (animals with a notochord)
Sub- phylum: Vertebrata (mammals, fish, reptiles, birds)
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Mustelidae (otters, martins, weasels, polecats)
Subfamily: Mellivorinae (honey badgers)
Genus: Mellivora
Species: capensis