The Ugly, Shy, or Small Five

The heart that one can see clearly, for the most essential things are invisible

Hans Christian Andersen, The Ugly Duckling

🇮🇹  Testo in italiano.

This blog post follows “The Big Five”,  posted a few weeks ago.

 The African bush wonders travelers with its biodiversity. Today we will introduce other “5” classifications: the Ugly, the Shy, and the Small Five. A new spotting challenge for wildlife lovers.

The Ugly Five (or Six?)

So, they’re not the supermodels of the African wild, but these wildlife species make up for it by being interesting.


I believe it is really nice to see them running together with their cubs, and with the tails in the air.


It is impressive to see them in migrating herds.


These birds do not enjoy a good reputation, and they do not look great. However, their role as scavengers in the bush is crucial.

Marabou stork

They are huge birds, with a very unique look with their bald head, and an enormous conical bill and red-spotted head.


These strong animals are extremely brave. Both scavengers and hunters, they have a very sophisticated social behavior.


It should be the sixth; indeed, someone lists this super-aggressive reptile in the list!

The Shy Five

You’re a very lucky person if you get to see any of these African animals as they are notoriously elusive.  Have you ever spotted them? 


It is very rarely spotted, and only during the night game drives.

Bat-eared Fox

They have huge upright ears and outstanding camouflage skills.


It's a beautiful naked creature, with long noses and sweet upright ears. They show up during the night to hunt for termites. Photo by Theo Stikkelman


In their natural environment, these sociable animals will disappear way before a human can get anywhere near.


These striped animals are similar to the hyenas, they are only nocturnal, and they eat (a lot of) termites. Photo by Derek Keat

The Small Five

While these five animals are not necessarily shy, they’re often as hard to see, just because they’re mostly small. Each one has one of the esteemed Big 5 animals in its name.

Elephant Shrew

It looks like a small mouse; they are very agile and almost impossible to spot.

Leopard Tortoise

Its name come from the black spots on the shells.

Ant Lion

It is known for the fiercely predatory habits of its larvae, which in many species dig pits to trap passing ants or other prey.

Rhino Beetle

It is fierce-looking but is totally harmless to humans being neither biters nor stingers.

Red-billed Buffalo Weaver

This bird is a sociable creature and colony-type nests. Their bill can be either red or white.

We hope you enjoyed the article. Please feel free to leave your comments below.

 The v-adventures Team

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