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The Big Five Animals of Africa

Updated on July 7, 2018
centfie profile image

I love wildlife and the amazing animals that God created. So, I am now a self-proclaimed wildlife writer.

The Big Five

The big five animals derived their classifying name from the difficulty they give to hunters rather than their size. They are also fierce in appearance and yet they are also uniquely appealing. While some are carnivores (Lion, leopard), others are herbivores (elephant, rhinoceros, buffalo.) To sight these animals in one place, visit Kenya, Tanzania or South Africa.

The Lion

The Lion belongs to the Panthera genus, of the big cat family which includes the tiger, leopard, and cheetah. It is classified as the second largest cat after the tiger. The lion has been given a kingly state and it features in the famous old cartoon film, Lion King, among others. Children in Africa grow up knowing that the Lion is the King of the jungle because there are many folk stories that profess of 'the Lion's kingship.' It could be because the male lion usually sits as if watching over his empire, or it could be his fierce roar. The mane on his head adds to his beauty and glory. The adult female lion usually sits next to her man, although she does most of the hunting and the training of the young ones. Lions are social since they live in prides, which are usually a group of lionesses and cubs, with dominant males who protect the pride. The young male cubs are usually driven off at 2-3 years to form their own prides.

Lions can be sighted at Serengeti plains in Kenya and Tanzania, Namibia, South Africa and Botswana


The Leopard

The leopard is the smallest of the Panthera genus of the big cats. It resembles the jaguar, with its spotted coat and its strength, although it has a smaller body size. If there was modeling in the animal world, it probably would have been the Miss/Mr. World because of its smooth gait, stealthiness, and slim body. The leopard is a stealthy climber and cunning hunter, often catching its prey unawares. It can hunt and kill even on top of trees. It is one of the most dangerous animals for a human to come across in the wild, because of its speed and strength. They prey on animals which are much bigger than themselves such as Zebras and wildebeests. Leopards adapt easily to different environments; they can thrive in arid areas. They are often sighted at Serengeti (Kenya/Tanzania) and Kruger, South Africa.

Leopard | Source

The Elephant

Now, this is one huge and heavy animal that walks on the surface of planet earth. The adult elephant can weigh between 5 to 7 tonnes. Its enormous build makes it almost impossible to be preyed on alive. However, the young ones, called calves, are usually a target of predators like lions. The female elephants known as cows, usually live together with other females and their offspring.

Elephants like to live near water bodies, it seems their bodies get dehydrated very fast. They live in Savannah's and forests, but they can survive in deserts, especially near waterholes. They can live up to 50 years in the wild. The Loxodonta africana, the African Elephant, has bigger ears and both females and males have tusks, compared to their Asian counterparts which have smaller ears and it is mostly the males that have tusks. Despite escaping the threat of predators, Elephants face the threat of poachers who kill the huge animal for its tusks and leave behind their poor bodies to rot or to be fed on by scavengers.

Elephants live in Kenya at Maasai Mara and Amboseli National Parks, Serengeti plains, Okavango (Botswana) and Kruger (South Africa).

Elephant cow and calf
Elephant cow and calf | Source

The Rhino

Rhinos are two-horned and odd-toed ungulates (hoofed animals). The two species of rhino found in Africa are the white rhino and the black rhino. The white rhino can weigh 3.5 tonnes while their counterpart, the black rhino, which are lighter and shorter, can weigh 2tonnes. with its protruding horns at the front of its face, the rhinoceros must be the ugliest of the big five. It is fierce and hot-tempered, human beings cannot come close to it yet it is a herbivore. Rhinos have very few predators, unless while they are still small. Unfortunately, like the elephants, they face the merciless bullets of poachers who are usually after their horns.

They can be spotted at Serengeti, Kruger, and Ngorongoro (Tanzania).

Rhinoceros | Source

The African Buffalo

The African buffalo is an ungulate that resembles large bulls or cows in appearance; with tremendous curved horns. The Syncerus caffer has no genetic link with the tame cattle. They are not easy to tame and are also very dangerous. They graze in herds and live in the grasslands, forests, and mountains of Africa. The herds are usually made up of more females and young ones than males. The female buffalo can weigh 500 kilograms to the 900 kilograms of the male buffalo. They mainly reproduce during the rainy season. They are not easy to hunt as prey. A group of Lions and other big predators usually attack one buffalo before they can manage to put it down.

Buffalos are found at Serengeti, Kruger, Ngorongoro, and Okavango.

African Buffalo
African Buffalo | Source

The most beautiful of them all

Which animal among the big five,do you think is the most beautiful?

See results

© 2015 Centfie


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