When planning a safari, most people are interested in seeing the big five. However, it’s interesting to note that in the world there are ugly five safari animals that many people talk less about.
If you really want to get the full experience during your visit, you should watch out for these ugly five safari animals. You should pay close attention as you continue with your safari, so that you will see the warthog, the vulture, wildebeest, marabou stork, and the hyena.
Of course, the lion, elephant, leopard, and rhinoceros and buffalo, the big five safari animals are widely noticeable in Africa’s national parks. Similarly, the rhino beetle, buffalo weaver, ant lion, elephant shrew and leopard tortoise are the small five safari animals which you can also see.
Here are the ugly five safari animals;
1. The Marabou Stork
Originating from the stork family is the marabou stork, a large wading bird scavenger. You can find it in the southern part of the Sahara in Africa and it likes living near humans. It has a large long beak and a long pink sac at its throat, it also has black legs and wings.
The marabou stoic breeds during the dry season and its eggs take 30 days to hatch. Their young ones mature at 4 years while its total lifespan is 25 years in the wild and 43 years inside a cage.
The marabou stork feed on carcasses just like vultures although they can swallow other birds like pigeons, doves and cormorant chicks. They can also eat any animal matter including feces. Their major predator is the lion.
2. The Wildebeest
The famous wildebeest is one of the ugly five safari animals from the family of antelopes, goats, cattle and sheep. They look like cattle but they have hair along their neck. Majorly found in the Eastern and Southern Africa. They are famous for their breath-taking scenery during their massive migration to new grazing grounds.
Breeding for the wildebeests usually takes a short period so that the young ones can be fit to move with the herd. This is one of their adaptable characteristics. Wildebeests regularly graze together with zebras, although you can also find them mixing with other domestic livestock.
The wildebeests mostly are targeted by predators and thus they depend on the warning signals from other animals like the baboons. They graze in large groups for safety.
3. The Hyena
Hyenas are part of the wild dog family majorly found in Africa. You can easily find them in African countries where you can identify them through their wailing screams and ‘laughter’ which you can hear from a distance of up to 5 kilometers. Their hind legs are also shorter than the front ones.
The hyenas are mainly scavengers although they can also kill directly. They can kill animals of different sizes and types. Hyenas also feed on vegetables and bones and some animal droppings. Their digestive system can accommodate everything they consume except hooves and hair which is excreted through their droppings. Hyenas live in clans which are made up of related individuals. They raise their young ones in those clans and they mark their territories by depositing their droppings and also through a strong unique scent from their bodies.
4. The Vulture
The vultures are scavenger birds. There are two types of vultures found in the world: the new world vultures in North and South America and the Old World vultures found in Asia, Africa and Europe. One of the outstanding characteristics of the vultures is the unfeathered bald head, which helps to keep the head clean during feeding.
It’s rare to get vultures attacking a healthy animal although they kill wounded or sick animals for food. You can clearly see the vultures gathered on a carcass from a distance. They use their powerful beaks to dig through the carcasses and feed, then relax for digestion to take place.
Vultures do not carry food for their young ones, but store food in their crops and vomit it out once they get to their nests. Another amazing fact about this ugly bird is they urinate on themselves to kill germs that accumulate on their feet as they walk on carcasses. They also vomit when they sense danger to keep their predators distracted as they fly away.
5. The Warthog
The warthog is one of the ugliest animals on the planet. It is a member of the pig family only that it lives in the wild. It has two pairs of tusks that protrude from the mouth and curve upwards. The warthog uses its tusks as a defense against the predators.
The warthog is omnivorous and its diet depends on the food items available. During rainy seasons it survives on grass while in dry season it eats roots, barks, eggs, berries and fruits.
It’s common to see warthogs in groups, the females and the young ones live together while the males live outside the group but not far from where the females stay. They mate during the rainy seasons. Their gestation period is between five to six months.
Unlike the bold big five animals, there are the five shy animals that you can rarely see during your safari. This is because they disappear after sensing the presence of a stranger. These are the bat-eared fox, porcupine, aardwolf, aardvark, and the meerkat. The African civet, pangolin, honey badger and the African wild dog are some of the animals that are the rarest to see during your safari. You must pay close to attention to spot them.
Moreover, there are some animals which you cannot miss to see during your safari. When you visit the national parks in Eastern and Southern Africa you must see the baboon, crocodile, lion, antelope, giraffe, wildebeest, gazelle, vultures, waterbuck and topi. Among the big five you cannot miss the elephant, leopard and the buffalo.
During your safari, you will come across several types of animals but it’s important you be keen so that you can see all the animals even the rarest.