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Johannesburg Zoo

The Johannesburg Zoo features the "Big 5" in it's over 365 animal species. What animals make up the Big 5? Lion, Leopard, Rhino, Elephant and Buffalo - Africa's greatest animals. The Phrase "Big 5" was coined from big game hunters and refers to the five most dangerous and difficult animals in Africa to hunt.

Interesting facts about the #Big5:


  • Lions roar can be heard 8km away. The male roar is louder and more frequent, usually to declare territory, call stray members and ward off rivals.
  • Lions great each other by rubbing their heads against each other, exchanging scents that convey information about their intentions, moods and recent activities.
  • Lions sleep up to 20 hours a day.
  • The darker the lion's mane the older he is.


  • The leopard is solitary by nature, only interacting for mating or raising young cubs
  • Mostly active between sunset and sunrise. Don't roar, but bark or snarl, when they are happy they even purr.
  • Master stalker, long tail is used as a rudder for balance for climbing or hunting.
  • The leopard's long whiskers are used as antennae to judge spaces between bushes and trees.
  • A leopard's spots are called rosettes as the clusters of dark spots resemble roses.


  • Rhinos are pre-historic looking mammals that present day poaching is a serious threat to the continuing survival of the species.
  • Rhinos weigh in at 2500kg and can live up to 40 years old.
  • Sometimes you may see a rhino eating mud or soil; this is a dietary mineral supplement.
  • You'll often find white rhinos resting in the shade or wallowing in mud, a cooling agent and helps evict parasites.
  • Rhinos have poor eye sight but are fantastic at hearing and smell.
  • Rhinos aren't slow because of their size; they can reach speeds of 40km/h.
  • All five species of rhino are endangered.
  • A group of rhinos is called a "crash"
  • Neither black nor white rhinos have front teeth, which is why they rely on their lips for eating.


  • The elephant is the largest and heaviest land animal.
  • Elephants ears measure roughly the size of the surface of a double bed.
  • They are highly social animals with the females ruling the group.
  • Can eat up to 300kg grass, bark and branches.
  • Elephants can get sunburnt, they throw sand on their backs and head to prevent sunburn and keep insects off their skin.
  • Their skin is incredibly tough, but they can also feel a tiny insect walking on their skin.
  • Elephants also have the longest gestation period of 22 months, give birth to calves weighing 120kg.


  • Buffalo are social animals and move around in large herds
  • The adult buffalo's horns are it's characteristic feature; they have fused bases, forming a continuous bone shield across the top of the head referred to as a "boss".
  • They are widely regarded as very dangerous animals, as they gore and kill 200 people per year.
  • The African buffalo is not an ancestor of domestic cattle and is only distantly related to other larger bovines.

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