The Bush Telegraph

News from Tshikwalo Game Lodge and Dinokeng Nature Reserve

Dinokeng Little 5

While the Big 5 gets all the attention we often forget about the fascination that is the Little 5. While not big in size, these animal represent a big part of this habitat and the family that is game.

Elephant shrew 

  • Length – 25 centimetres
  • Weight – 53 grams

They have elongated snouts which closely resembles the trunk of an elephant.

They eat insects, fruits, seeds and nuts and are prey to other animals like raptor birds and snakes.

Ant lion 

Ant lions create saucer like depressions in dry and soft sand to trap their prey which usually tends to be ants.

At a certain stage of their lifecycle they develop wings and look similar to a dragonfly but are not well suited for flying.

Rhinoceros beetle

  • Length – 6 centimetres
  • Weight – 30 to 40 grams

Their horns resemble that of a rhinoceros, hence the name, and these horns are used for mating, digging and fighting between males.

These beetles are nocturnal, feed on vegetation and are preyed upon by birds and snakes.

Leopard tortoise

  • Length – 30 to 70 centimetres
  • Weight – 15 to 45 kilograms

Leopard tortoise is the only one that can swim.

Males have a concave bottom on their shells which makes mating a lot easier.

They can live anything between 50 and up to 100 years and their age can more or less be determined by counting the rings made on one of the scales on their backs.

Red-billed Buffalo weaver 

  • Length – 24 centimetres
  • Weight – 65 to 80 grams

They are the largest of all weavers and are very social birds that build big nests and live in open colonies which make them rather noisy birds.

Nests have multiple egg chambers where 2 to 4 eggs are laid and incubation of the eggs lasts or 14 days. Small birds leave the nest anywhere between 20 to 23 days.

Here is a quick peek at some of these fascinating little ones:

Elephant Shrew

Rhinocerus Beetle

Ant Lion

Red-billed Buffalo Weaver

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