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big five

big five game

What are the big 5 animals?

If you’ve gone on an African safari, chances are you’ve heard of the Big Five, the must-see list of iconic megafauna.

The term, coined in the late 1800s during Africa’s colonial period, refers to what trophy hunters considered the most challenging and dangerous animals to hunt on foot.

Lionsleopards, elephantsAfrican buffalo, and rhinoceroses are “what people think of when they think of Africa and wildlife.

source: Nationl Geographic
Discover fun facts about them

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Group name: Pride

The lion society is matrilineal, “the females hold the territories,” and stay with the pride into which they’re born. (Related story: “In real life, Simba’s mom would be running the pride.”)
Cub Cutie: Young African lions grow up in prides with between 3 and 40 other felines. Females usually live with the pride for life, but males often leave when they’re a few years old.

Hunting generally is done in the dark by the lionesses. They often hunt in groups of two or three, using teamwork to stalk, surround, and kill their prey.

go to National Geographic to learn more 

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Group name: Herd

  • average life span in the wild:

  • Up to 70 years

  • size: Height at the shoulder, 8.2 to 13 feet

  • weight: 2.5 to seven tons

These hefty, cow-like animals often congregate by the thousands in the Serengeti; forming large groups is one defense against predators.

Male and female buffalo both have horns, but the males’ curve upward and fuse together in the center, forming a solid bony plate called a boss. It’s a helpful defense—as is being more than three times heavier than their lion adversaries.

source: National Geographic


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This is the most elusive, and also the smallest, of the five. “I call them ninja cats because they’re just sneaky and they’re harder to spot,” Borrego says.

Speaking of spots, most leopards are light-colored, with distinctive dark spots that are called rosettes. Black leopards, which appear to be almost solid in color because their spots are hard to distinguish, are commonly called black panthers.

The solitary big cats haul large kills, such as zebra or antelope, into a tree to eat alone, in peace.

source: National Geographic




They are huge, with a weight of up to 5000pounds and horns that can grow up to five feet long. They can't see very well and are likely to charge.

Due largely to poaching for their horns, the western black rhino was declared extinct in 2011. The last male northern white rhino died in 2018, with only two females remaining—making that subspecies functionally extinct. (Learn about the different types of extinction.)

There are five different species of rhinoceros: black, white, Javan, great Indian, and Sumatran

Learn more

source: National Geographic

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Group name: herd

The biggest of the Big Five is the African savanna elephant, which can weigh up to seven tons. The African forest elephant, which is about three feet shorter and lives in the forests of the Congo Basin, was declared a separate species after genetic testing in 2010 showed big differences between the forest and savanna dwellers.

Savanna elephants are large enough to change the landscape, pulling up trees to make grasslands, dispersing seeds, and overall increasing biodiversity.
Even their footprint makes little pools for frogs!


Learn more

source: National Geographic

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