The Little Five – Curious Critters

Just as Kruger National Park has a big five, it also has a little five. They’re five small animals which share part of their names with the big five and some of them have a feature in common with their larger namesake.

These five petite creatures are:

  • Antlion
  • Eastern rock elephant shrew
  • Leopard tortoise
  • Red-billed buffalo weaver
  • Rhino beetle

Antlion

The antlion is an insect that makes a cone-shaped hole in the sand to trap ants. The hole at the bottom of the cone leads to the antlion’s nest. The cone acts as a funnel and unsuspecting ants are trapped when they walk into it. Antlions like to eat ants while they’re in larvae form.

You can see the little antlion holes if you look carefully on the ground in rest camps or at picnic sites.

Eastern Rock Elephant Shrew

The elephant shrew is quite a cute small mammal similar to a mouse, but it likes to eat insects. It has a distinctly long nose that looks like a mini elephant’s trunk!

The elephant shrew lives in rock crevices and is most active at dusk.

Leopard Tortoise

Leopard tortoiseThe leopard tortoise gets its name from the spots on its shell.

It’s the fourth largest tortoise species in the world and they can weigh as much as 54kg (120 lbs) and grow to 70cm (28in) in length. Leopard tortoises often live to be 100 years old!

Red-Billed Buffalo Weaver

The red-billed buffalo weaver is a member of the weaver family of birds. It’s famous for weaving lovely nests using grass and strips of reed.

Rhino Beetle

The rhino beetle is one of the largest beetles in the world. The males have distinctive horns on their noses that they use to fight other males with and dig holes in the ground.

All of these small animals can be found in Kruger National Park. The most likely ones that you’ll see though are leopard tortoises and red-billed buffalo weavers.