Interesting animal Facts

addo elephant national park
Port Elizabeth, South Africa

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The BIG 5

The Big 5 refers to five large mammals found in Africa which are the lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and cape buffalo. So why not a hippo, or a giraffe – they are quite big, aren’t they? The hippo certainly is. The reason for the Big 5 name is that these five animals were the hardest to shoot by big-game hunters as they are particularly ferocious when cornered and injured. Tour operators and guides have picked up the phrase and used it as a marketing term and it very cleverly has stuck.

  • Elephant – An Elephant can drink up to 200 L water a day and about 50 L of urine is excreted daily!
  • Buffalo – Older bulls have less hair on their bodies and take mud baths more regular to protect their skin against sunburn and insect bites!
  • Lion – Lion claws grow in layers, As the outer layer is worn away, it falls off and is replaced with a new one. 
  • Leopard – A mother will lick her cups to cool them down, and to improve blood circulation. The mother’s saliva on their skin produces
    Vitamin D.
  • Rhino – The Rhinos upper lip can be curled into the shape of a hook or a finger, allowing it to grasp branches of shrubs and trees and to pick leaves and twigs from it. It functions almost like the tip of an elephant’s trunk.

The SMALL 5

  • The Ant Lion – The Ant Lion lives up to 25 days
  • The Leopard Tortoise – It is quite slow and its only able to cover 300 meters in an hour! 
  • The Elephant Shrew – Elephant shrews mainly eat insects, spiders, centipedes, millipedes, and earthworms.
    An elephant shrew uses its nose to find prey and uses its tongue to flick small food into its mouth, much like an anteater.
  • The Rhino Beetle – Rhinoceros Beetles can lift something 850 times their own weight!
  • The Buffalo Weaver – The buffalo-weaver is the largest weaver in South Africa at 23 cm.

The Shy 5

  • The Meerkat – Can dig its own weight in dirt in less than a minute and can kill up to 30 prey items per hour!
  • The Aardvark – Mostly eats termites and ants
  • The Porcupine – They are good swimmers and their hollow quills help keep them afloat!
  • The Aardwolf – One aardwolf can consume more than 200,000 termites in a single night
  • The Bat-Eared Fox – These animals have 9 calls by which they communicate with each other.
    They whistle softly as well as using their tails and ears as means of communication.

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