Big 5 African Wildlife Animals: Facts & Photos
The big 5 are Africa’s sought after animals especially in game viewing holidays and game watching safaris. The term big five applies everywhere whether is is big 5 in South Africa or big 5 in Kenya or East Africa as a whole.
The big 5 animals consist of the Lion, Buffalo, Rhino, Leopard and the mighty Elephant. Below is the list and picture gallery of the big 5 animals in the African Wild.
Lion – Big 5 Facts
Lions inhabit the Savannah grasslands. Being social animals they are the only big cats that live in groups otherwise known as prides. Each pride consists of up to three male lions, a number of female lionesses of around 6-12, and their young cubs. The lionesses are close knit and work as a team to bring up young ones and hunting. With time, young males eventually leave in search of securing their own territories in order to establish their own pride by conquering a group headed by other alpha males.
Best Place to See Lions
Elephant – Big 5 Facts
Being the largest land animals on earth, African elephants are the most sought-after big 5 animals. African Elephants are larger than Asian elephants and can be identified by their larger ears that resemble the African continent. (Asian elephants have smaller, rounded ears.). Elephants are herbivorous in nature and the biggest threat they face is from illegal hunters known as poachers because their tusks make the biggest trophies.
Best Place to See Elephants
Leopard – Big 5 Facts
Leopards are carnivorous, big cats that are closely related to other cats like lions, tigers, and jaguars. In Africa, the can be found mainly in the sub-Saharan Africa and Northeast Africa. African leopards are light colored with distinctive dark spots that are called rosettes and they live on trees where they usually drag their prey to keep them away from scavengers and rival predators like lions although some lions like the Lake Manyara lions can climb trees, they cannot outdo Leopards.
Best Place to See Elephants
Rhinoceros – Big 5 Facts
There are two types of African rhinoceros, white and black rhino. Contrary to popular beliefs, their body colour is the same (grey). What differentiates them though is their lip shape but not the body color. The white rhino’s lip is square shaped while the black rhino has a pointed upper lip. The reason why each type of rhino has a unique lip shape is because of the animals’ dietary behaviour. Black rhinos are browsers hence they get most of their nutrition from eating trees and bushes. They use their lips to pluck fruits and leaves from tree branches. White rhinos are grazers and a huge part of their diet is based on grass, walking with their heads and squared lips lowered to the ground.
Best Place to See Rhinoceros
Buffalo – Big 5 Facts
The African Buffalo or Cape buffalo is strong contender of the big 5 since it is one of the sought after big 5 animas and one of the most dangerous animal to hunt in Africa. In the African wild, Buffaloes have very few predators aside from lions of whom also have to hunt the cape buffalo tactically or risk being mauled to death by their strong horns.
Best Place to See Buffaloes
WHY ARE THEY CALLED THE BIG FIVE?
The big five was originally a hunting safari term used by the so-called big game hunters in accordance to how difficult it is to hunt these animals in the hunting prime era of the 19th and early 20th centuries. The big 5 are the most dangerous animals to hunt. Professional hunters created a hunting sport in Africa whereby one was to hunt as many game trophies as possible within the shortest time.
Check out African Animal Videos
Big 5 game hunting safari became popular among travellers and everybody from American presidents, most notably former United States of America’s president, Theodore Roosevelt who even wrote a book on his African Game Trails, to European royalty and heads of state that had the urge to come to Africa to shoot a large, dangerous animal.
Since most of the BIG 5 are endangered, Hunting Safaris are restricted and awareness is created to encourage ‘shooting’ to done through a camera lens instead of a gun to stop illegal hunting and poaching for ivory and rhino horn.
Africa Big 7
The big 7 is more popular in South Africa. On top of the big 5 animals which are all land animals, two more aquatic or water animals have been added to complete the big 7 pack these two include the Great White shark and the Southern Right Whale. So the big 7 animals are Lion, Elephant, Rhino, Buffalo, Leopard, Great White shark and Southern Right Whale.
The Small 5 or Little 5 Animals.
The “Little Five” is not based on anything factual or on-paper as it just a random idea for fun just because there and big five animals why not five little animals in Africa, with names that resemble the “Big Five”.
The small Five are: Ant Lion, Leopard Tortoise, Elephant Shrew, Buffalo Weaver, and the Rhinoceros Beetle.