Your African Safari guide

Big Five of African Savannah

In Africa, the Big Five game animals are the lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant, and the African buffalo. They are examples of charismatic megafauna, featuring prominently in popular culture, and are among the most famous of Africa’s large animals.

 

why they are called the big five

The term “Big Five” originally referred to the difficulty in hunting the Lion, Leopard, Rhinoceros, Elephant and African buffalo. These five large African mammal species were known to be dangerous and it was considered a feat by trophy hunters to bring them home. Fortunately nowadays, most countries in Africa have banned hunting in favor of photographic safaris.

(1)Lion

The lion is a large cat of the genus Panthera native to Africa and India. It has a muscular, broad-chested body, short, rounded head, round ears, and a hairy tuft at the end of its tail. It is sexually dimorphic; adult male lions are larger than females and have a prominent mane

Gestation Period

As the gestation period in lions is about 110 days, the data suggest that a high nutritional level early in pregnancy may influence breeding success.

Lifespan of Lions

 These big cats have an average lifespan of about15 to 16 years in the wild, depending on their access to nutrition and their natural habitat.

Height of a lion:1.2m

Length of a male lion: 1.8m to 2.1 m body length

Length of a Female lion: 1.6 to 1.8 m body lengt

Diet of a lion:

Lion Diet involves eating only salt, water, and meat from ruminant animals.  Lions usually hunt and eat medium-sized to large hoofed animals like wildebeests, zebras, and antelopes. They occasionally also prey on larger animals, especially sick or injured ones, and eat found meat such as carrion. Lions eat many different kinds of animals, known as prey. Lions can eat a lot. Male lions will eat an average of 7kgs of meat a day and the lionesses eats 4.5kgs.

How fast can a lion run?

At a maximum speed of 80 km/h (49.71 mph), the lion ranks second among the fastest land animals in the whole of Africa.

Male lion running through the savannah in AfricaMale lion resting at sunset in Africa

(2) Rhinoceros

A Rhinoceros, commonly abbreviated to rhino, is a member of any of the five extant species of odd-toed ungulates in the family Rhinocerotidae. Two of the extant species are native to Africa. The two African rhino species, black rhino and white rhino – have both increased in number in recent years thanks to successful conservation efforts, especially in South Africa. Indeed, the white rhino has been brought back from the brink of extinction.

Gestation period of a rhino:

The gestation period of a white rhino  is approximately 16 to 18 months and15 to 16 months  for Black rhinos.

Lifespan of Rhinos:

Black rhinos may live up to 35 years and40 – 50 years for the white rhinos  in the wild. Females reach sexual maturity between ages 4 and 7; males mature between ages 7 and 10. Gestation lasts approximately 14-16 months, with a single calf being the norm every 2-1/2 to 3 years.

Height of a Black rhino: 1.3 – 1.8 m from the Shoulder

and1.5-1.8 m for a white rhino from the Shoulder.

Length of a black rhino: 2.8m to 3.8 m body

Length of a white rhino:3.7 – 4 m body

Diet of a black Rhinoceros

Is a herbivorous browser, black rhinos primarily eat leafy plants, branches, shoots, thorny wood bushes, and fruit. Their skin harbors many external parasites, which are eaten by tickbirds and egrets that from a symbiotic relationship with the rhinos.

 A mother and calf Black Rhinoceros

 

Diet of a white rhino:

 Herbivore; white rhinos are grazers, feeding entirely on grasses that they crop with their wide front lip. Their short legs, long head reaching almost to the ground, and wide mouth are used in combination with a side to side head movement to eat massive quantities of grass.

a white Rhinoceros

How fast can a rhino run?

A white rhino run can reach a speed of 50 km/h (31 mph). Black rhinos can run at 55 km/h (35 mph).

Two rhinoceros running at Masai Mara national reserve Kenya.

What is the difference between Black and White Rhinoceros?

White rhinos tend to be significantly larger than black rhinos. Their body is long, imponent and barrel shaped. Black rhinos, on the other hand, are shorter, sturdier and more compact. An adult white rhino can weigh up to 2,300 kg, while a black rhino doesn’t usually go over 1,000 kilograms

 A photo image Difference between black rhino and white rhino

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