One of the joys of visiting the National Parks in South Africa, especially those in the Limpopo and Mpumalanga Province is the wildlife.
Of course there is always the Big 5, but have you heard of the Little 5?
- Instead of an Elephant look for the Elephant Shrew which has an elongated nose (like a mini trunk) that’s used to sniff out both predator and prey. An uplifting fact about them is that they are monogamous animals, forming pairs that live in common territory of several acres, but they are seldom together. They do, however, keep track of each other’s whereabouts through scent markings.
- Instead of a lion, get a ranger or tracker to spot an Antlion, known for their predatory tendencies, preying on ants and other insects for food, these tiny predators pack a punch.
- Instead of a rhino who has to have its horn shorn off in order to survive in this day and age, the male Rhinoceros Beetle uses their rhino-like horn in territory battles and also to dig for food.
- With only three species, the very vocal Buffalo Weaver is known for weaving intricate nests which are home to their colonies. These vast nests are architectural masterpieces and are a lesson in successful community living in the animal kingdom.
- Instead of a leopard, Leopard Tortoises may not be as fast as their feline counterpart, but their distinctive black and gold markings certainly resemble a leopard’s spots. These tortoises are bound to pop up in the oddest of places and very resilient, they can even swim and climb trees. Often used as a toy for lion cubs, their head in their shell forms an indefatigable protection.
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