South Africa is one of the leading tourist destinations with the most diverse animal species. It is equally home to both the largest & the smallest animals in the world which are housed in the various zoos scattered across the country as well as in the green forests in valleys that house endangered species and shelter them from the targeting eyes of poachers and unauthorized hunters. Keep on reading to see the largest and smallest animals that can be found in South Africa:

1. Elephants

The size of their trunks defines their age. They are powerful such that they can fall trees for food and fun. They eat heavily to sustain their bodies and live in groups. Each group has a bull which acts as the leader, protector and a mate. They eat 23 hours a day continuously and are the biggest living animals in the entire world. Their gestation period is 22 months (almost 2 years).

See Also: Africa’s Most Dangerous Animals

Elephant - Animals of South Africa

2. Lions

Their staple food being the meat, they have a variety of animals to choose from. The male dominates the females and can go anywhere they wish. They live in large families of up to 25 lions where they control a certain areas. The males run fast but for short distances. The lions’ roar can be heard as far as 5miles (8km) and is intended to ward off intruders or to locate members. They do not have any known predators.

Lion - Animals of South Africa

3. Rhinos

An average rhino weighs between 850-1600 kilos (1900-3500 lb). Their height ranges between 1.5 to 1.75 meters and have length between 3.5 to 3.9 meters. They are either black or white but the white rhinos are endangered. The black rhinos have one horn while the white rhinos have two horns. They eat grass and bushes and live in herds. They are very fast and charges at anything that comes near though they have poor eyesight but great hearing & smelling.

South Africa Mala Mala - Animals of South Africa
4. Buffalo

They have huge horns & floppy ears. They live between 15-23 years and weigh around 1700 pounds. Their biggest threats include lions, hyenas and crocodiles. They live in herds with males for breeding and protection. They are a threat to even lions when in a large group and attack to kill. They eat grass and bushes and are larger than cows. They are the only animals whose horns are not bone structured.

Buffalo - Animals of South Africa

5. Leopard

Leopards hunt at night & sleep during the day. They camouflage with the surrounding making it hard to be seen. They hunt bigger animals, are agile, able to run fast, jump high, and can climb a tree with a kill. They have a single mate for life & prefer to keep their families at home. Their families include father, mother and children.

Leopard - Animals of South Africa