Going on a safari is a great choice for a vacation, particularly if you’re interested in seeing exotic animal life. When going on a safari, most animal lovers want to make sure they see The Big Five: buffalo, elephant, leopard, lion, and rhinoceros. While these majestic animals certainly aren’t to be missed, Africa is home to countless beautiful animal species, meaning you should try to expand your horizons a bit while sightseeing.
For example, in addition to the Big Five, Africa is also home to a group of creatures known as the Little Five. Learn more about the Little Five and why you should be certain that seeing these tiny animals is a part of your next African safari vacation.
One of the most notable creatures featured in Africa’s Little Five is the Lion Ant. During the early stages of their life, the Lion Ant is as ferocious as the animal for which it’s named, setting traps so that they can capture and eat other insects. While you’re on safari, take a look at the ground and it’s likely you’ll see one of these traps, which looks like a small hole in the ground.
After their pupal stage, the Lion Ant flies and feeds on pollen.
Africa is home to a variety of bird species, including the Little Five member known as the Buffalo Weaver. These birds are very easy to pick out of crowd as they can be very loud. As you might expect, these birds get their name from the company they choose to keep. Buffalo Weavers will often be found near buffalo, feasting on the insects that are often left behind by the larger animals.
Depending on the area of Africa you are visiting, you’ll see either a red-billed or white-billed Buffalo Weaver.
Perhaps the most interesting Little Five animal that you can see on your African safari vacation is the Elephant Shrew. Many people are surprised to learn that the Elephant Shrew is related to the elephant, at least genetically. In addition, Elephant Shrews can vary widely in size, with some of these animals being as long as 11 inches and as heavy as a pound.
As you might be able to tell, every member of the Little Five is named after a Big Five counterpart, including the Leopard Tortoises. The spots on the shell of the Leopard Tortoise are very similar to those of a regular leopard, but that’s where the similarities end. The Leopard Tortoise is the largest creature in the Little Five, and can live up to 100 years. These tortoises are also well-known for the hissing noise they make when retracting into their shell.
The final member of the Little Five that you should look out for while on safari is the Rhinoceros Beetle. Like full-size rhinos, the male Rhinoceros Beetle has a horn on its head that it uses to fight other beetles. Fortunately, despite their intimidating appearance, Rhinoceros Beetles are harmless to humans.
If you want to see every animal in the Big or Little Five, then you need to start booking your African safari vacation today.
Jill Liphart for Roho Ya Chui