The Little Five

Who are the Little Five?

By now you know who and what the Big Five are.  Now you’re really going to impress people with your knowledge and expertise.  You’re going to be able to tell them what the Little Five are.  Even of the most seasoned travelers, not too many people can cite these, many never heard of them.  You will stun those you know and those you don’t know, and perhaps you’ve never even been to Africa.  This will even be more impressive.

Each of the little five take the name of one of the Big Five as follows, then you can remember it in the same order:

You’ll remember the acronym BRELL for the Big Five; Buffalo, Rhinoceros, Elephant, Leopard and Lion.  The Little Five are much more difficult to spot, and/or to take a photo of, so I must admit, I have not personally taken photos of all of them.

At some point on safari, however, I have seen most of them. The only one that I’ve not actually seen or identified is the ant lion, (often antilion, or lion ant).  I often walk over their ‘home’, but have never seen anything come out of it, not for lack of trying though.

Buffalo WeaverThe Buffalo Weaver is often seen throughout Africa flitting from one area to another.  Although I’ve seen them countless numbers of times, they have never stayed still long enough to get a good photo of them, but I managed to find one that will give you an idea of what they look like.   But, as is the case with the others, I’ve had to ‘borrow’ the photos from the internet.



rhino beetleThe Rhino Beetle is herbivorous, feeding on fruits, nectar and the sap from trees. Often seen are the ones greenish in color.  You’ve probably seen them in the areas you live in, as they are not limited to Africa.  In Africa, it’s pretty common to see two males fighting with those horns protruding at the front of their body.  When males fight, they are usually fighting for the right to mate with a female, and protection of their territory.


elephant shrewElephant shrews are mostly diurnal (seen at night), which is when I have seen them.  This has often been with a spotlight and great photos have evaded me.  Nonetheless, elephant shrews are not classified with the superficially similar true shrews, but are in fact more closely related to elephants and their kin.



leopard-tortoiseThe Leopard Tortoise is seen throughout Africa.  They get their name from the leopard-like patterns on it’s shell.  Tortoises are known to be slow moving creatures, but each time I’ve seen a leopard tortoise, they seem to disappear into the bush and out of sight quicker than you can turn your head. Their habitat is the grasslands of the savanna, and not in water.  The only time you might see them dig is to dig a nest to lay eggs.


AntilionSince I have not seen an Antilion to really identify it, there is not much I can tell you about it.  I can tell you when you’re walking on the plains of the Serengeti or between rooms, you will often see perfect pin-hole sized holes in the ground, where they bury their cocoons.  That is the home of the antilion.

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