top of page




Less famous than their Big Five counterparts, the Little Five got their name simply for being significantly smaller, and also coincidentally sharing English names with their Big counterparts. The Little Five refers specifically to the species found in Southern Africa.

These include:

The buffalo weaver is a species of bird and among the largest members of the weaver family. They primarily eat insects, seeds, and fruit, and spend most of their time foraging for food on the ground. Buffalo weavers live together in colonies and interestingly prefer to live in close proximity to livestock. The males tend to be polygamous and can control up to eight nest chambers with three females. Dominant males have more nests and females compared to less dominant males. Only the females feed their chicks, and are highly intolerant to other females during nesting.


The name was originally given due to its trunk-like snout, and its physical resemblance to a shrew. In fact, genetically, it is closer related to the elephant than it is to a shrew. Though relatively common, elephant shrews are very difficult to spot in the wild. They are generally solitary creatures, sometimes co-existing in monogamous pairs. Females give birth to relatively well developed young that can run within hours. Elephant shrews live in small holes in the ground, and feed primarily on small insects.

The antlion is famous for its aggressive hunting behavior during the larval phase. The creature most of us think of when we hear the name antlion is in fact the larva that digs pit traps to catch prey such as insects. The short-lived adults resemble dragonflies or damselflies. There are in fact about 2000 species of insects that share this name and can be found all across the world. Because of the amount of energy it takes for the larvae to maintain their pit traps, they have very slow metabolisms and it can take years for an antlion to complete its life cycle. An adult antlion only lives an average of 25 days.


Named for the beautiful patterns on its shell, the leopard tortoise is the only species on this list considered to be threatened due to illegal pet trade and habitat destruction. It is the fourth largest tortoise species in the world. The leopard tortoise prefers semi-arid and grassland habitats and feeds mostly on thistles, grass, and succulents. In the wild, they can live up to 80 – 100 years. Females lay multiple clutches of eggs ranging from 5 – 30 eggs per clutch. The tortoise is most vulnerable when still in its egg. After that, the tortoise has few natural enemies due to its tough shell.

The rhinoceros beetle belongs to the scarab family and makes up about 1500 species. The beetles are known for their large size (some reaching up to 15 cm in length), and for the males’ horn-like protrusions. Underneath its tough carapace, the beetle has wings with which it can fly – to an extent. In the larval stage they feed on rotten wood, and the adults feed on nectar and plant sap. Males use their horns to fight each other over sap sites and mating rights. In Asia they are quite popular as pets as they aren’t aggressive or dangerous to humans.

bottom of page