Buffalo Weaver

Let's Get Small - A Look at Africa's Little Five

Zegrahm Contributor|April 23, 2018|Blog Post

While much attention is rightly paid to Africa’s Big Five, we believe the continent’s smaller wildlife deserve their due, as well. Enter Africa’s Little Five. These tiny fellas often get overlooked—and not simply because of their minuscule size. Yet they play a vital role in maintaining the diverse and delicate African eco-system. So, let’s take a closer look these half pints.

African Elephant Shrew

Elephant Shrew 

This cute little guy looks like a rat crossed with an elephant. Native to at least six African countries, the elephant shrew averages around 5.5 inches in length; some reach almost twice that size. Look for them hopping about on their long legs, using their large snouts to sniff out insects across Southern Africa’s dry forests and savannas.

Buffalo Weaver

Buffalo Weaver

The three species of buffalo weavers—black, red-billed, and white-billed—are among the largest weaver birds, measuring between 8 and 10 inches. They also are the messiest, building large, communal nests with multiple entrances and often more than one to a tree. Quite social in nature, they can be found in small flocks, loudly cackling as they scour Africa’s dry regions for insects, seeds, and fruits.

African Ant Lion

Ant Lion

This peewee may be the smallest of the Little Five, but he rules other ant species. Also known as pill bugs or doodlebugs, ant lions are found in sandy, arid areas, digging underground traps to catch even smaller brethren for food. Eventually the larva transforms into a winged insect, more diplomatically dining on nectar and pollen.

African Rhino Beetle

Rhino Beetle

Heavy body armor and a wicked horn make this insect one fierce-looking dude. The male actually sports a dual-tipped horn that can be used as pinchers to dig for food or do battle with rivals. (Don’t worry, they are harmless to humans.) Rhino beetles, which can reach up to 6 inches in length, are among some of the strongest creatures on the planet when compared to their body weight.

African Leopard Tortoise

Leopard Tortoise

The biggest of the Little Five is also one of the largest tortoises on land, measuring around two feet in length and weighing upwards of 70 pounds. Named for the distinctive markings on their shells, these handsome herbivores are found throughout southern and eastern African and can live up to 75 years in captivity.

 

Keep an eye out for these pint-sized creatures on a number of upcoming expeditions across the African continent:

Signature Botswana | May 15, 2018
Remote Tanzania
 | August 8, 2018
Southern Africa's Diversity: Namibia, Botswana & Zambia | February 14, 2018
Kenya & Tanzania Under the Canvas | June 18, 2018
Plains to Primates: Zambia & Rwanda | September 6, 2018

 

Check Out Our FREE Ultimate Africa Guide Now  Get Tips & Tricks Plus Bonus Content  On Planning Your Dream Trip

  • Southern Africa's Diversity

    Southern Africa's Diversity: Namibia, Botswana & Zambia

    February 14March 6, 2019

    Visit some of Africa’s most remote and diverse camps with expert naturalist Lex Hes, from the elephants of Damaraland and the Himba people of Namibia to the leopards of South Luangwa National Park and the lush Okavango Delta.

  • Signature Botswana

    Signature Botswana

    April 23May 5, 2019

    Join this exciting itinerary that reveals the many wonders of one of Africa's premier safari destinations during the beginning of the dry season, when large concentrations of animals gather around the water sources.

  • Iconic Africa

    Iconic Africa: Kenya & Zimbabwe with Victoria Falls

    June 18June 30, 2019

    If it's wildlife you seek, look no further than this brand-new for 2019 adventure to Kenya and Zimbabwe. You'll spend two full days in Hwange National Park, home to 100 mammal and 400 bird species; watch hundreds of elephants and buffalo just outside your elegant safari tent; and search for hippos and crocodiles during a sunset Zambezi River cruise.

Related Blog Posts