Check out the lit­tle 5 5

Take a sa­fari in your own gar­den and …

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - JELLYBEAN JOURNAL - MEG DE JONG

EVERY­ONE’S heard of South Africa’s big five – the king of an­i­mals the lion, along with the ele­phant, rhi­noc­eros, buf­falo and leop­ard.

But there are an­other hand­ful of crea­tures worth a look, and they’re smaller – much smaller. South Africa’s “lit­tle five” in­cludes the ant lion, the ele­phant shrew, rhino bee­tle, buf­falo weaver and leop­ard tor­toise.

You also get the leop­ard toad, an en­dan­gered toad found in vleis in the Cape Penin­sula.

As you may have no­ticed, th­ese lit­tle guys share their names with Afr fa­mous an­i­mals – un­der­stand why wh at the long nose of shrew (a bit like a trunk), the in­ter­esti on a leop­ard tort (splotchy – much lik and the sharp po rhino bee­tle has – like a horn. Othe such as the ant lion their name from s viour – this lit­tle b for set­ting ela­bor catch other gog­gas.

So, if you’ve no enough to go on a your hol­i­day to scou five, m could s time in gar­den un­der r the bush you can the lit­tle

rica’s most and you can hen you look the ele­phant an ele­phant’s ing mark­ings toise’s shell ke the big cat) oint that the it looks a lot er crea­tures, n, per­haps get shared be­habug is known ate traps to . ot been lucky a sa­fari over ut out the big maybe you spend some n your back

check­ing rocks and in hes to see if n spot any of e five.


Male buf­falo weavers are of­ten brightly coloured, while their fe­male mates are duller in colour. Some types of buf­falo weaver all work to­gether to build a gi­ant shared nest.


Some peo­ple call ant lion lar­vae “doodle­bugs” be­cause of the odd squig­gly trails they leave in the sand while looking for a good place to build their traps. Ant lions build sand traps to catch other in­sects to feed on. Af­ter an ant lion pu­pates (changes from one stage of its life cy­cle to an­other – like a but­ter­fly) it turns into an in­sect that looks a lot like a dragon­fly.


The av­er­age life­span of a leop­ard tor­toise is 100 years – a whole cen­tury. Leop­ard tor­toises are her­bi­vores, which means they only eat plants. Leop­ard tor­toise eggs take a year to hatch. You can tell if a leop­ard tor­toise is a boy or a girl by looking at the belly. If it is flat, then it is a fe­male; if it’s cupped, then it is a male.


Ele­phant shrews vary in size from about 10cm to al­most 30cm, from just un­der 50g to over 500g. Ele­phant shrews are mostly di­ur­nal, which means they are ac­tive dur­ing the day.


The rhino bee­tle’s big spikes are used by the males for fight­ing. Rhino bee­tles have be­come pop­u­lar pets in Asia. Rhino bee­tles can lift 850 times their own weight, mak­ing them one of the strong­est an­i­mals in re­la­tion to their own size in the world.

THE BIG FIVE: Lion, ele­phant, rhino, buf­falo, leop­ard.

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