12 facts about the Big Five
The big five consists of the lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard and the rhino. These animals were first called ‘The Big Five’ by hunters due to the difficulty and danger involved in hunting them on foot. Nowadays the name Big Five are the animals that most of the safari tourists wants to see. Here are some interesting facts about each of Africa’s iconic Big Five animals.
- The female lions (lioness’s) have strong bonds as they remain in the same pride for life and raise their cubs together and even nurse other cubs.
- Female lions do most of the hunting, but the males eat first.
- When lions are born, they have dark spots on their fur.
- Leopards don’t roar, they bark and snarl.
- The leopard is the strongest climber of the big cats in Africa and they are also strong swimmers.
- Elephants have the longest pregnancy period of all land mammals (22 months!), giving birth to calves weighing 120 kg.
- Some baby elephants suck their trunks for comfort, just the way young children suck their thumbs.
- The elephant is extremely social and develops strong intimate bonds between friends and family members. They even mourn the death of loved ones performing rituals and returning to visit graves.
- Rhino horn is made of keratin, similar to our nails. The horn is not attached to the skull and if it breaks off it will grow back.
- The largest of the five rhino species is the white one, which can grow to 80m tall and weigh the same as 30 men (about 2,500kg).
- Buffaloes have excellent memories and will ambush hunters who they have encountered before.
- Female buffaloes have strong bonds and if one of them gets attacked the entire herd will defend her, even killing lions and other predators.