Kenya Vacation Guide

Kenya Animals:

The Big Five: African Lion, Leopard, Elephant, Buffalo and Rhino.

Most people come to Kenya to see the famous "big five". The Lion, the Leopard, the Elephant, the Buffalo and the Rhino. There are many other animals that reside in Kenya including the Zebras, Giraffes, Hippos, Monkeys, Wildebeests, Gazelles, Antelopes and many bird species.

The African Lion.

Male Lion The Lion is the best known of the big five. It’s the “King of the Jungle” and one one of the biggest cats in the world. Male lions have a big Mane and look majestic. Female lions are smaller in size and have no mane. They are however the bread winners in the lion family, doing most of the hunting.

A typical Lion pride has one to three males and as many as 15 females. The males protect the pride from other marauding young males that may want to take over the pride. If other males take over the pride, they will kill the cubs and sire their own with the females.

Lions spend most of their time resting and playing with their cubs. They sometimes look docile and cuddly but they are very dangerous.

The leopard

Leopard walking Leopards live a solitary life and socialize during mating season only. They have different body color depending on their location and habitat. Their colors vary from reddish brown to cream. They have dark spots with patterns unique to each individual leopard, just like fingerprints are unique in humans.

Leopards are generally night-time animals, hiding in rocky hills and perching on tree branches. They are very agile and strong and can drag a prey twice their weight to the top of a tree to hide it from scavenger like hyenas. Male leopards are larger and heavier than females.

They have a varied diet, normally hunting small mammals like Gazelle and Antelopes but can also eat insects, rodents and reptiles.

Leopards kill their prey by grabbing it by the throat and biting down with their powerful jaws until it suffocates. They rarely fight other predators for food because an injury can prevent them from hunting and prove fatal due to starvation.

The Elephant.

Elephants The Elephant is the biggest animal in Kenya. Male elephants can grow up to 12 feet (3.64 m) tall, weigh up to 12,000 lbs (5455 kg) and can live up to 70 years. They eat large amounts of vegetation.

Elephants are social animals, living in close knit herds. The males are the leaders of the herd, protecting it from predators and others dangers. If you see elephants flapping their ears furiously and snorting, this means they are sensing danger and are agitated. You should thus move away as soon as possible because they can easily attack. They also flap their ears slowly like a fan to cool them down in a hot day.

Female elephants reach puberty at thirteen years of age and can have offspring until the age of fifty. They produce a single calf every three years and very rarely have twins.

The African buffalo.

Bufallo Buffalos are also very large animal. Males can weigh up to 2000 lbs (900 kg). Buffalos have a bad temper if disturbed and can be very dangerous. They have very sharp horns that can easily dismember and kill a human or another animal. They usually live in dense vegetation around swamps and big rivers.

Buffalos are fierce and have few predators, often chasing full grown Lions when agitated. Lions however do kill and eat buffalos regularly, but it usually takes multiple lions to bring down a single adult buffalo. When chased by predators a buffalo herd will stick close together and make it hard for the predators to pick off one member. Calves are gathered in the middle. Buffalo will also try to rescue a member of their heard who has been caught by a predator.

Buffalos mate and give birth only during the rainy season. A bull will closely guard a cow that comes into heat, keeping other bulls at bay so that it can mate successfully.

The Rhino

RhinoThe Rhino is another one of the biggest animals on earth. They have no teeth at the front of their mouths and rely on their powerful molars to grind up plant food. There are two species of Rhino in Kenya. The Black Rhino and the White Rhino. Both are endangered species and are protected by the Government against poachers who kill them for their horns, used to make traditional medicine in Asia.

Rhinos are solitary animals and prefer living alone or in pairs. They can live up to 60 years or more. Their habitat varies from dense forest to open savanna. Rhinos lack good eyesight, but have excellent sense of smell and hearing.


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Photos by:

The Dilly Lama, WRI, by Thumbling, Bexy Mitten, & Snake3yes of Flickr

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