Any safari aficionado knows about the “Big Five,” but what about Africa’s lesser-known creatures? These are the animals that don’t fall in the all-star cast featuring the fabled African lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and buffalo.
Perhaps you should consider seeking out an alternative to the clichéd Big Five during your next adventure in the African Bush. The following 5 animal species aren’t easy on the eyes, but they’re nevertheless intriguing to observe and study:
The Hyena– Besides its grotesquely cackling laugh and elongated neck, you can spot these animals using your sense of smell. They are most likely saturated in the blood of the meal they are ferociously devouring, crunching the bones and all. As a species, they don’t have a collective reputation for being the prettiest animals in the bush. Some might argue that they are cute as little cubs, but even still, the smell of the dirty carcass they are devouring is kind of a deal breaker.
The Vulture– And while we’re on the subject of carcasses, why not give a shout-out to the strangest winged predators of the bush. With soaring wings like an eagle and a hunched, almost devious posture, these creatures are undeniable creepy. Their hooked beak is perfect for shredding meat, and their featherless head ensures an easy post-dinner clean up. They definitely give Jack the Ripper a run for his money.
The Warthog– Paging Pumbaa. Besides being found on screen in The Lion King, these creatures are also prevalent in the Okavango Delta. Warthog wild pigs are cursed with warts all over their faces in addition to a strangely disproportionate body shape. These facial blemishes are a slight blessing in disguise considering that they protect the faces of male warthogs during fights.
The Wildebeest – As the pretty gazelle’s ugly stepsister, these animals are a genetic anomaly unlike any other. Fusing a buffalo-like head with a shaggy horsetail and antelope’s body, these safari creatures are often overlooked. In a Darwinian sense, their less-than-perfect appearance isn’t going halt the procreation of their species considering they are nearly blind. Ignorance could be bliss, after all.
The Hippo- These are actually some of the most dangerous mammals in Africa. Short stumpy legs extend from the hippo’s plump body, reflecting its sedentary nature. The hippo actually doesn’t sweat, nor does it contain any sebaceous glands. But what it does have are glands that create a thick red fluid, which explains why some say that hippos “sweat blood.” With its razor-sharp incisors and canines, the hippo is an aggressive animal with a larger than life half a ton stature. How’s that for intimidation?
Warthog mother with her piglets