While these five animals are not necessarily shy, they’re often as
hard to see, just because they’re mostly small. Each one has one of the
esteemed Big 5 animals in its name.
Arguably the cutest of the little five, the elephant shrew looks like
a small mouse but with a very long nose/trunk. Measuring just over 25
cm, including its tail, which is longer than its head and body, you’re
very lucky indeed to see one of these in the wild.
They’re quick as lightning and agile, living in areas with rocky outcrops that provide crevices in which they can find shelter.
The leopard tortoise’s name conjures up images of feline stalking.
Despite this, there’s nothing of the sort done by these slow-moving
reptiles. The leopard part of their name comes from the characteristic
black-spots-on-yellow-background of their shells.
They’re gentle creatures and snack on plants. Occasionally they’ll nibble a bone to get some ever-essential calcium.
Like the leopard tortoise, with a name like ‘ant lion’ you’d kind of
expect these insects to be large and fierce. They’re not large at all,
but in their larval form can certainly be fierce. But only if you’re an
ant: the larvae build characteristic little conical traps into which
Adult ant lions, who have undergone metamorphosis, are often mistaken
for dragonflies, with their translucent wings and narrow bodies. They
mostly fly at night.
Rhino beetles are tough little guys and strong contenders for joining
the ugly 5 list, too! They’re fierce-looking but are totally harmless
to humans being neither biters nor stingers. In fact, they’re not even
terribly efficient flyers, due to their size.
The only time that rhino beetles tend to fight is over the attention of female rhino beetles. Sounds familiar.
There are two main kinds of buffalo weavers: red-billed and
white-billed, distinguished from each other by, surprise(!), the colour
of their bills. They are sociable creatures and colony-type nests are
built which house numerous birds in separate ‘compartments’.
Buffalo weavers dine on insects like grasshoppers and ants, so can often be found hunting their prey on the ground.