For many visitors going on an safari in South Africa, seeing the Big Five is a high priority. They just don’t feel their trip is complete without seeing Buffalo, Elephant, Leopard, Lion and Rhinoceros.
While the Big Five is magnificent, there's much more to South Africa's wildlife. The region has some of the world's richest biodiversity hotspots, with remarkable birdlife, abundant buck, small game and bizarre insects. To promote these, some clever people came up with another must-see list: the Little Five. They are (and don't laugh) the Elephant shrew, ant Lion, Rhinoceros beetle, Buffalo weaver and Leopard tortoise.
- Elephant Shrew
This tiny insectivore (Elephantulus myurus) lives in arid lowlands, rocky outcrops and savannah grasslands, getting its name from its elongated snout.
- Ant Lion
The ant lion (Myrmeleontidae) is an odd yet familiar feature of the bushveld, digging conical depressions in dry, soft sand with which to trap its prey – ants.
- Rhinoceros Beetle
The rhinoceros beetle (Scarabaeinae dynastinae) is one of the largest beetles in southern Africa, with horns on its head much like those of its larger namesake.
- Buffalo Weaver
Red-billed buffalo weavers (Bubarlornis niger) are social birds that build their nests in the forked branches of tall trees. They nest in open colonies and are a rather noisy and busy lot.
- Leopard Tortoise
The leopard tortoise (Geochelone pardalis) is a striking feature of the bushveld landscape, getting its name from its black and yellow spotted shell. The animal is one of the largest breeds of tortoise in this part of the world.