The Big Five
African Elephant, Cape Buffalo, Black Rhinoceros, Lion and Leopard are the animals called Big Five. It refers to the most difficult animals in Africa to hunt on foot. The Big Five were chosen for the difficulty in hunting them and the degree of danger involved, rather than their size.
Of the Big Five, it is most difficult to acquire hunting licenses for leopards. The leopard is sometimes considered the most difficult of the Big Five to hunt because of their nocturnal and secretive nature. They are wary of humans and will take flight in the face of danger. The leopard is solitary by nature, and is most active between sunset and sunrise, although it may hunt during the day in some areas. Leopards can be found in the savanna grasslands, brush land and forested areas in Africa. Leopard hunting uses the same methods as hunting for lions. Baiting, hounding, and stalking are the most common methods used today to hunt the cat.
The Small Five
There is also a "Small 5" in Africa, their names relate somewhat to the Big 5. The Small 5 are: Elephant Shrew, Red Billed Buffalo Weaver, Ant Lion, Leopard Tortoise, Rhino Beetle.
The leopard tortoise is a striking feature of the bush veld landscape, getting its name from its black and yellow spotted shell. The animal is one of the largest breeds of tortoise in this part of the world; a mature leopard tortoise can weigh over 23 kilograms, with a shell circumference of up to one meter. The males are larger than the females. Younger tortoises have dark brown patterns, while adult shells take on shades of yellow with somewhat smaller spots. Leopard tortoises live in savannah and grassland areas, close to water.
The Ugly Five
There is also a group of animals called the Ugly Five. The ugly five are awarded the title of the ugliest animals found in Africa. The members of this most exclusive of clubs are the hyena, wildebeest, vulture, warthog and the marabou stork. Although they do not get nearly the same well deserved recognition as the Big Five.
Vultures are found on every continent except Australia and Antarctica. Old World vultures found in Africa are scavenging birds, feeding mostly from carcasses of dead animals which they find by sight. A particular characteristic of many vultures is a bald head, devoid of feathers which helps to keep the head clean when feeding.