Thanks to great marketing and abundant documentaries made, the animals of Africa are starting to hit the spotlight. Most people consider going to this continent to see “The Big Five”, the term used for the five animals that prove to be the most difficult to hunt by humans. Although this term sounds savage, the continent has embraced the name to encourage tourists to visit and see how these animals are in their “almost” natural habitat.
If the closest you come to animals on vacation is a stroll along the beach with your dog, then you in for a treat. Here are The Big Five animals you shouldn’t miss when you’re in Africa.
#1 African Elephant
What makes the African Elephant different from the Asian Elephant? If you aren’t familiar, the main and most obvious difference between the two is their ears. Asian Elephants have smaller ears while the African Elephant has larger ears. The latter also has tusks whether they’re male or female while the former rarely has tusks on males and none on females. In general, African Elephants are known to be larger, too.
Aside from the common reason that elephants are big and heavy which makes them difficult to hunt and tame, they have another fascinating characteristic that helps them escape hunters. African elephants, regardless of their size, can actually hide behind tall grass! Seems impossible, right?
#2 African Lion
When it comes to hunting them, African Lions are considered the best simply because of the thrill they give. They attack even if you do not do anything to them, and they always live exciting social lives. This means, they go in prides and you will almost always see a lot of them bathing under the sun.
African Lions are considered the second largest cats just behind the tiger. Males have thick and furry manes that extend onto their shoulders which make them harder to see.
#3 African Leopard
If the lions are the most exciting animals to look out for, the leopards are the most difficult to see. This is attributed to their stealthy characteristic and the great camouflage their skin provides. Some have dark black fur while some are dotted with large spots.
However, the African Leopard can also be very interesting to watch. Unlike the lion, leopards are naturally shy and will often run away when they sense danger (ironic for something so carnivorous). Like cats, they are also excellent tree climbers.
#4 Black Rhinoceros
What used to be part of The Big Five is the Black Rhinoceros which is now considered to be extinct. In 2011, the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) declared that there are no longer any black rhinos to be found and not a single one is held in captivity.
#5 Cape Buffalo
The last star in The Big Five series is the Cape Buffalo. They are easily called as one of the most dangerous animals to hunt, but you can still see them in a number of national parks throughout Africa.
The Cape Buffalo is known to be ill-tempered, always attacking people who come as a threat to them. The way they attack is often by the use of their curvy yet sharp horns.