Little 5 Art

In our previous blog we introduced Africa’s ‘Big 5‘ and identified the other four African Animal Groups: The Little 5, The Shy 5, The Ugly 5.


In this blog we  focus on the ‘Little 5 ‘!  The ‘Little 5’ are a group of much smaller animals, named inspirationally, based on the relation of their names to their African ‘Big 5’ counterparts.

Header Photo Credit: GetLocalAfrica

The ‘Little 5’ are:  the Ant Lion, Buffalo Weaver , Elephant Shrew, Leopard Tortoise and the Rhino Beetle!   Allow us to introduce you to these delightful little animals.


The Antlion

Is a species of insect and in their larval form can certainly be fierce, if you are an ant! The larvae build conical traps into which ants fall. Adult antlions, after metamorphosis, are often mistaken for dragonflies with translucent wings and narrow bodies, mostly flying at night.

The Buffalo Weaver

Is a small bird of which there are two kinds, red-billed and white-billed. It is the red-billed Buffalo Weaver that is more common and is the one in this group. They are sociable creatures who make enormous, messy colony-type nests made of thorny twigs which house numerous birds in separate chambers. Buffalo weavers are found in drier regions and eat insects like grasshoppers and ants, so can often be found hunting on the ground.

The Elephant Shrew

Is a small furry mammal that looks like a mouse but derives its name from the presence of a very long, sensitive nose/trunk. You are very lucky indeed to see one of these in the wild as they are quick as lightning and agile, living in areas with rocky outcrops that provide crevices in which they can find shelter.


The image below illustrates (from top left to bottom right): Rhino Beetle, Leopard Tortoise, Red-billed Buffalo Weaver, Elephant Shrew and the Ant Lion.


Little 5 images

Photo Credit: Brand South Africa

The Leopard Tortoise

Is a slow-moving reptile. The leopard part of their name comes from the characteristic black-spots-on-yellow-background of their shells and definitely not for leopard like stealth and speed!

The Rhino Beetle

Is a nocturnal beetle and a subfamily of the scarab beetle family. They’re fierce-looking but are totally harmless to humans as they neither bite nor sting. They’re not very efficient flyers, due to their size but anecdotally can lift up to 850 times their own weight!


We often see many of the Little 5 on our Safaris by looking a little more closely!


In our next blog, we will take a look at the Shy 5.

Written by: Elizabeth Palmer

Alexandra’s Africa is an independent, niche Southern African Safari  Tour Operator with offices in the New Forest in Hampshire, UK and in Outeniquastrand & Pretoria in South Africa. We offer a range of small-group Hosted Safaris, Safaris for Women, Tailored Safaris and Conservation Experiences.  For more information: 👉 ALEXANDRA’S AFRICA CONTACT