Small 5 Art

In our previous blog we presented the “Big 5» and identified the four other groups of African animals: the 5 small, the 5 shy and the 5 ugly.

In this blog, we focus on the “Little 5”! The “Little 5” are a group of much smaller animals, inspiringly named, based on the relationship between their names and their African “Big 5” counterparts.

Header photo credit: GetLocalAfrica

The ‘Little 5’ are: the Ant Lion, Buffalo Weaver, Elephant Shrew, Leopard The turtle and the Rhinoceros Beetle! Let us introduce you to these charming little animals.

The Antlion

It’s a species of insect, and in its larval form it can certainly be fierce if you’re an ant! The larvae build conical traps into which the ants fall. Adult antlions, after metamorphosis, are often confused with dragonflies with translucent wings and narrow bodies, flying mainly at night.

The buffalo weaver

It is a small bird of which there are two species, red-billed and white-billed. The Red-billed Buffalo Weaver is the most common and part of this group. They are sociable creatures that make huge, messy colony-style nests, made of thorny twigs, which house many birds in separate chambers. Buffalo weavers are found in drier regions and feed on insects like grasshoppers and ants. They are therefore often found hunting on the ground.

The elephant shrew

It is a small furry mammal that resembles a mouse but gets its name from the presence of a very long and sensitive nose/trunk. You are indeed very lucky to see one in the wild, as they are lightning fast and agile, living in areas with rocky outcrops that provide crevices in which they can find shelter.

The image below illustrates (from top left to bottom right): the rhinoceros beetle, the leopard tortoise, the red-billed weaver, the elephant shrew and the ant lion.

Small 5 images

Photo credit: Brand South Africa

The leopard tortoise

Is a slow reptile. The leopard part of their name comes from the characteristic black dots on a yellow background of their shell and certainly not for the stealth and speed of leopards!

The rhinoceros beetle

Is a nocturnal beetle and a subfamily of the scarab family. They look fierce but are completely harmless to humans as they do not bite or sting. They are not very efficient flyers, due to their size, but they can, anecdotally, lift up to 850 times their own weight!

We often see many Little 5s during our Safaris if we look a little closer!

In our next blog we will review the Shy 5.

Written by: Elizabeth Palmer