The honey badger has an extensive historical range which extends through most of sub-Saharan Africa from the Cape of Good Hope, South Africa, to southern Morocco and south western Algeria, and outside of Africa through Arabia, Iran and western Asia to Turkmenistan and the Indian peninsula (Skinner & Smithers, 1990; Harrison & Bates, 1991; F. Cuzin, pers. comm.). Historically it is thought to be absent from the driest centre of the Sahara desert, the Mediterranean coast as far as the Nile Valley, and the Free State Province of South Africa (Lynch, 1983; Kingdon, 1989; Skinner & Smithers, 1990; Begg, 2001a). It lives in a wide variety of habitats from the dense rain forests of Zaire to the arid deserts on the outskirts of the Sahara and pro-Namib, from sea level to the afro-alpine steppes in the Bale Mountains of Ethiopia (> 4000 m; Sillero-Zubiri, 1996).

In India it is mostly found in the semi arid areas of Gujarat, Rajasthan, madhya pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, with occasional sightings from the moist areas such as Orissa, West Bengal and as far as Assam. South wards it has also been reported from Tamil Nadu ( S. A Hussain in Mustelids, Viverrids and Herpestrids of India - www.wii.gov.in/envhome/envisdec99/ratelbadger.htm)