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The Big 5

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Who are the big 5 and why?

When I first heard about the big 5 I assumed it had to be the 5 biggest animals. However, that is not the case. The term big 5 consist of the African Elephant, African Lion, African Leopard, African Rhino and the Cape Buffalo. The term was coined by game hunters who described the 5 most difficult animals to hunt, due to their wild nature and ferocity. Before the restrictions, hunting one these animals was considered a great achievement. 

African Elephant:

The big 5 African Elephant

The African Elephant is the biggest animal of the Big 5, however, it is not considered the most dangerous. It is peaceful when not threatened. In some way they are like humans. Elephants show respect for their dead. They also have a great memory  and can recognise places many years after they revisit them. Male and female elephants only stay together during their breeding season. 

  • Elephants flap their ears to keep cool.
  • An elephant's skin is one inch thick.
  • Elephants use their trunk as a snorkel when swimming.


African Lion:

The big 5 African Lion

Lion is the only African big cat that are social. Normally they live in prides with around three males, many more females and their cubs. Their reputation as the king of the jungle is a bit misleading when they actually are pretty lazy. They hunt in groups, however the lionessess do most of the hunting while the lions defend their territory.

  • Lions rest around 20 hours a day.
  • Lions do not like to swim. 


African Leopard:

The big 5 African Leopard

The leopard is the most adaptable big cat and can be found in a wide variety of environments. It uses most the day resting in tree branches and does the hunting during the night. After a kill the leopard drags the body up tree branches to avoid other stronger predators, like lions, from stealing the food. 

  • Leopards are exellent swimmers.
  • Leopards can kill prey larger than themselves.

African Rhino:

The big 5 African Rhino

There are two kind rhino's, black and white, however there is no color difference. The price for rhino horn is very high which plays a huge role, making it an endangered species because of poachers. For the same reason, conservationists focus very much on the rhino. They have poor eyesight, but great hearing and sense of smell.

  • Man is the rhino's only natural predator.
  • A group of rhinos is called a crash.

Cape Buffalo:

The big 5 Cape Buffalo

The last one on the Big 5 list is the Cape buffalo. Because of its ill-temper and has killed many hunters, it is considered the most dangerous of the five. The buffalo is very social and live in large herds with up to 2000 members and they are never further away than a days walk from water. The buffalo gets 15-25 years old and the horns is a good indication to tell how old it is.

  • Buffalo mate and give birth only during the rainy season.
  • Buffalo protect their calves by pushing them into the middle of the herd.

You are welcome to send us pictures you have taken of the big 5 animals to or our facebook page and we will share it with our friends on facebook.(remember link)


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2 Responses on this page.Add your own

  1. Gravatar Aurilene says:

    I visited St Helena twice in the late foetris traveling to England for treatment after contracting Polio in the then Northern Rhodesia.  I have to go there before I am too old to enjoy it.  It is definitely on my bucket list.

    Reply to this comment
  2. Gravatar Pearl says:

    I didn’t know why they were named the big five until now, it explains why hunters always go on about the Big 5
    . Thank you so much for the post it is very informative. Its just such a shame that most of these Animals are facing extinction due to greed and

    Reply to this comment

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