Which Animals in Hluhluwe Game Reserve are Ranked No. 1 in the World?

Published On: Apr, 2022

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I have the privilege of experiencing Africa’s magnificent animals on a regular basis. I love all animals but I decided to share a few special ones. These special animals are ranked no. 1 in the world and for a very good reason. Yes, we have them right here in Hluhluwe Imfolozi Game Reserve.

Do you know the answer to the animals that are ranked number one? I ask my guests this question whilst on game drives. The Big 5 always comes to their minds first. So, let me help you answer this. 

  • Elephant
  • Giraffe
  • Cheetah
  • Honey badger
  • Dung beetle

Why are these animals ranked no. 1?

I think everyone knows the largest land mammal in the world is the majestic Elephant. Giraffes have the same number of neck vertebrae as humans, but they are the tallest on earth. The number one speedster in the world is the Cheetah. The Honey Badger is smaller than a warthog and yet fearless enough to take on a lion. My favourite creature, the Dung Beetle, is the strongest in the world.

What are the special features and adaptations to be the world’s number one animal?

Elephant The Largest Land Mammal 1

The Largest

Elephants are the world’s largest land mammals. To help them with their heavy bodies, their skeletons are modified to make their structure lighter. To reduce the weight of their massive heads, their skulls are not solid bone. It has a honeycomb (looks like tubes) formation. Elephants have large thick legs to carry their huge bodies. However, their large leg bones are spongy, helping the bones create strength and still be lightweight. The elephant’s neck vertebrae are flat disc shapes to support the weight of the tusks and trunk. An elephant’s limbs are positioned more vertically under the body than in most other mammals to support their weight. The circular feet of an elephant have “cushion pads” which distribute their weight evenly. Sightings of these large beauties are good at Hluhluwe Game Park.

Giraffe Tallest Land Mammal

The Tallest

Giraffes have very long bodies and because of this, they have very large hearts. What’s so fascinating is that their hearts can weigh more than 11 kg and measure about 60 cm. Their large hearts assist in pumping blood all the way up their ever-so-long necks to the brain against very high blood pressure. Their hearts have thick muscle walls and a small radius giving it great power to overcome the downward pressure. Giraffes have unusually high heart rates, at 150 beats per minute, as compared to humans at 60 – 100 beats per minute. They have immense weight pressing down on their legs which puts the blood vessels under a lot of pressure. So to prevent the blood from pouring out their legs, the skin on their lower legs is thick and tight. These graceful animals tower over the trees in Hluhluwe National Park so you have a very good chance of seeing them. 

Cheetah Fastest Land Mammal 1

The Fastest

Cheetahs are the fastest land animal in the world. Their body structure with long legs and slender bodies can reach speeds up to 112km/within seconds. They can only maintain these high-speed chases for a few hundred meters before they get tired and overheat. Something interesting about their tails is that they are used to steer the cheetah during these sprints. They have exceptional speed and agility however lack strength. This makes them almost defenseless against larger predators. They hunt during the day to avoid the attention of nocturnal predators. Cheetahs are skittish by nature but Hluhluwe National Park gives you a fair chance at viewing them.

Honey Badger Most Fearless Animal In The World 1

Most Fearless

In the 2002 edition of the Guinness Book of World Records, Honey Badgers were named the most fearless animal in the world.

They love honey, therefore the name. So, they think nothing of raiding a beehive full of angry bees. Honey Badgers have no boundaries. They will take on any animal of any size if they feel threatened. These fearless animals are protected by their thick skin. Even a porcupine cannot pierce their skin. Honey Badgers can take on venomous snakes like cobras. This is quite a scene to watch as they fight and kill the snake, pass out from the venom injected into them, only to wake up and eat the snake. They have sharp claws to dig, attack, smash, and grasp. They do not have many predators as predators think it’s not worth the risk. Sighting a honey badger in Imfolozi Game Reserve is rare.

Dung Beetle Strongest Animal

The Strongest 

Compared to body weight, the dung beetle is not only the world’s strongest insect but also the strongest animal on earth. Even the mighty elephant doesn’t compare to this little critter. They can pull over one thousand times their own weight. Research has proven that they can pull 1,141 times their own body weight, which is equivalent to a person weighing 70kgs pulling 6 double-decker buses full of people. Now that is WOW!!! As long as there’s fresh dung around you’ll be sure to see dung beetles. 

Under African Skies gets you closer to seeing animals that are ranked NUMBER ONE in the world!

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