Did you know that the term “Big Five” originally referred to the animals that were the most difficult to hunt on foot? These five animals are the leopard, lion, rhino, elephant and African buffalo. Today however the term takes a gentler approach by referring to seeing/photographing these animals in wildlife safaris. Here are some interesting facts about the Big Five:
- Leopards can be found in various places in the world – They live in Sub-Saharan Africa, Northeast Africa, Central Asia, India and China.
- Leopards can jump up to 6m forward through the air (that is the length of 3 adults lying head to toe!) and can run up to 58km/h.
- Leopards are very solitary and each has their own territory that they mark in different ways – like scratches, urine scent marks to warn other leopards to stay away. Male and females will only cross territories to mate.
- They have a varied diet and eat bugs, fish, antelope, deer, rodents and other animals.
- Even though it is usually referred to as “The King of the Jungle” only lives in the grasslands or plains.
- A male lions’ age can be determined by the darkness of his mane. The older the lion, the darker his mane will be.
- A lion can sleep up to 20 hours a day.
- The lioness will do most of the hunting, despite the male eating first. The male lions defend the territory.
- An adult male lion’s roar can be heard up to 8 km away.
- The buffalo is sometimes referred to as the “black death” by hunting websites due to it being known to be grumpy and unpredictable.
- An African buffalo, in display of aggression or to establish dominance, will often kneel down and rub his head and neck on the ground.
- The African buffalo does not have a very good eyesight but their hearing and smell is exceptional.
- The average lifespan of a buffalo in captivity is between 11 to 22 years.
- African buffalos can outrun lions but due to predators being able to accelerate quicker, they are easy to ambush.
- The word “elephant” comes from the Greek word “elephas” which means Ivory, which their tusks are made of.
- Elephants are the world’s largest land animals.
- Wild elephants live in families called herds, which are only made up of female elephants. The only male elephants in these herds are young calves.
- A young elephant male will stay with the herd until he is 15 years old, after that he will leave and live alone like most bull elephants.
- Elephants are the only animals, other than humans, to grieve the dead.
- The oldest female elephant in the herd is usually the leader and she is called the Matriarch.
- Elephants are so clever, they can peel their own bananas’
- The name Rhinoceros means “nose horn”.
- A white rhino can weigh up to 3500 kg and is the third largest land mammal.
- A group of rhinos are called a herd or crash.
- Rhinos sunburn easily and are also susceptible to bad bug bites. To remedy this, Rhinos often take mud baths to put a protective layer on their skin.
- Rhinos communicate using infrasonic frequencies that humans can’t hear.
- Rhinos numbers are dwindling and today it is estimated that there is only 29000 rhinos left in the wild.
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