Too much is said about the big 5, but little about the shy 5 Safari Animals. 5 small, more evasive groups of creatures that are rather nervous or timid in the presence of people and other animals.
The shy 5 animals are present in several countries in Africa like Tanzania, Kenya and South Africa; they include the meerkat, Aardwolf, Aardvark, Porcupine, and the Bat-eared Fox. Four of these creatures are night hunters i.e are nocturnal except the Meerkat.
Getting to sight of one of them is quite a daunting task as they are away from the rest of the world. These creatures are weak and vulnerable and are easily attacked and killed by other predators.
Aardwolves resemble small hyenas though they have a smaller face. They live in east and southern parts of Africa in a range that includes South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, and parts of Angola in the south and of Ethiopia, Tanzania, and Kenya in the East.
They mostly feed on insects and their larvae unlike all other hyenas that are mainly cannibals which hunt larger prey. Aardwolf feeds on a specific gene of termites because these termites feed on dry grass hence the reason why the Aardwolf prefers the savannas.
Aardwolves have long broad and sticky tongue tongues just like the Aardvarks to get the most termites possible. These creatures are shy nocturnal animals, they mate during Autumn and spring whereby two to four cubs are born, and the pair work together to raise their cubs. The female aardwolf spends her time foraging for food, while the male stays in the den to guard the cubs against any predators or threats.
Aardwolves are territorial and mark their territories by scent to establish territorial dominance as well as attract mates. They are monogamous and live with their partners in several barrows, don’t like fighting and when attacked they tend to run away or induce their mane to stand making them look big.
The largest rodent found in Africa is the porcupine. It has a round head and a blunt muzzle with small eyes, and short legs with five toes that have sharp powerful claws. Porcupines have soft hair on their back, and sides, and are normally mixed with quills which cover to the entire back and lie flat against each other, however, in times of danger, the porcupine raises and spreads them out, running sideways and backward to harm any attacker near them.
Porcupines cannot shoot them at a predator but the quills do detach easily when touched and so many animals come away from a porcupine encounter with quills stuck on their snouts or bodies.
Porcupines are strictly vegetarian and specialize in eating roots, bulbs, and fruits, including plants, shrubs, and leaves. They also gnaw on bones which provide a natural salty taste. Porcupines’ sharp quills are what is best remembered when people talk or discuss about these organisms, for, they cover almost the entire backside of the creature, sides, and their tail to protect against external enemies.
The meerkat is a slim creature with a pointed little face often expressing a curious look, has quite small ears and patched eyes. They are omnivores, which means that they eat both plants and animals. They need little or no water as they do get enough from their food. These creatures are mainly found in the southern parts of Africa specifically throughout the desert region of Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa.
It’s a pleasure to watch these funny animals as they are incredibly social and knowledgeable. Meerkats live in underground burrows in groups known as mobs, each member of the mob is responsible for gathering food, looking after the babies, and keeping a keen eye out for predators.
Meerkats live in groups of 20 to 40 known as mobs, clans, or a gang, and are under the leadership of a dominant female referred to as a matriarch who happens to be the largest female in the gang. The Alpha female or the Matriarch is the only female with breeding rights and she does so with the alpha male, two to three pups are born and all meerkats in the mob care for the offspring of the dominant female or matriarch.
4. Bat-eared Fox
This cute African savannah Inhabitat is a species of fox and lives in the east and southern parts of the African continent. It’s name originates from it’s ears which are huge in proportion to its head, and it has a small and a short pointed muzzle, a silver-gray fluffy coat, while its limbs, tail, and back parts of the ears are black, a bushy tail that is black at the tip. Every year the animal renews its coat by molting.
The Bat-eared Fox is an insectivore i.e its diet consists of a variety of small insects that include dung beetles and harvester termites, arthropods, small rodents, and lizards that have tiny teeth that used to chew small insects, rodents, and fruits. Their main source of food is ants and termites they scavenge in family groups.
Bat-eared Fox belongs to the dog family (Canidae) and is one of Africa’s most remarkable species, as they are also an incredibly distinctive site on an African safari. Bat-eared Fox are monogamous and breed once per year in their hideouts between September and November, the matriarch gives birth to between 2 and 5 pups and they both take part in rearing the pups.
Also known as the Antbear, Aardvarks are small, pale yellowish-gray colored animals with elongated heads that have a pig-like look to their appearance and are commonly found in various regions in SubSaharan Africa. In these regions, there is adequate habitat such as savannas, grasslands, forestland, bushlands, and plenty of food such as Ants and Termites.
These creatures are insectivores, meaning they feed on ants and termites, with their sharp claws, strong legs and heavy skin that is resistant to insect bites, a strong sense of smell, hunting for food in ant hills is just but fun for the Aardvark.
Aardvarks live in self-made deep burrows where they spend almost their entire day sleeping in, which is a technique to escape the excessive heat and only come out at night in search of food. Aardvarks come together during breeding season, their gestation period lasts for 7 months whereby a single Aardvark is born between the month of Sept and November.