Most people around the world are familiar with the coveted Big 5 of Africa. So glamorous are these majestic creatures that even trips to Kruger National Park are often scored out of five based on which of the big five were spotted. Well it’s time for Simba and his friends to move over because there’s a new 5-piece on the block.
They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder and it’s probably not totally fair to call these five furies ugly, but you’ll have a hard time convincing anyone of their lavish beauty and grandiose poise. But we love them none the less as they are very unique and each fulfils a very important role in the circle of life. But without further ado, here are the Ugly Five:
Although Pumba did much to improve the image of this animal it only takes one real-life sighting to ruin that cute image you had in your mind after watching Lion King. Its weird protruding teeth and wart-like facial features don’t exactly make you want to cuddle it. If there is one thing the warthog has got going for it, it has to be its cute backside and antenna-like tail, which just so happens to be the only part of the animal you see most of the time.
Not even an animated movie can do anything for this pour animal’s fate as even on screen they are used as antagonists and sly opportunists. Add to this their freakish laughing noises and you have one very undesirable animal. But alas, the hyena has one card to play in its favour and that is its young. If you’ve ever seen a little black hyena cub with its shiny eyes and big satellite dish ears you would know that you just want to hug it and squeeze it and love it and hope that it never ever grows up!
A long scrawny neck is an amazing thing to have when you are picking the last few pieces of flesh off the inside of a carcass, but it doesn’t really do much for looks. To add insult to injury most of the members of the vulture family wear quite dreary outfits. A spot of colour really would have done them a world of good. But they do a good job by cleaning up after some of the more glamorous carnivores so we like them for that!
If it is true that storks are responsible for delivering babies this ugly cousin of the stork family will surely scare the heebie jeebies out of any new-born. Its beak looks like the paint is flaking off and its second chin has turned into a fully grown flap. If its looks weren’t bad enough it could really also do with a breath mint since its meal of choice is carrion (decaying flesh of an animal). I guess someone has to clean up after the rest has had their fill.
Also called gnus, these antelope are like the Big Macs of the African prairies. Lions consider them good to eat but they never look as beautiful as on the TV commercials. Their flat foreheads extend right down to their noses and looking them in the eye just doesn’t give you the impression of intelligence. Couple this with a hunchback and you know precisely why this lion snack made the ugly list. If you look at the wildebeest calves though you cannot help but wonder where it all went wrong as these little buggers are cute as a button.
But wait there’s more
Apart from the Big 5 and the Ugly 5 there is also a Little 5! These tiny tots have the names of the Big 5 but live on a slightly smaller scale. They are the rhino beetle, buffalo weaver, ant lion, leopard tortoise and elephant shrew.