Last week, we talked about the first five members of the Elusive 11—some of the most difficult African wildlife to spot on a safari. Now, discover the final six members of this hard-to-find group. Can you sight them on a nighttime game drive?
The caracal is an African wild cat that can also be found in the Middle East and parts of India. Its unique ears, with black tufts of fur curving off to each side, make it easy to distinguish. The caracal is the fastest of the small cats and can jump up to 10 ft. in the air. With this hunting prowess, the nocturnal caracal hunts a wide range of prey, including birds, mongoose, and even monkeys. See if you can spot one on an African safari stalking prey in the night.
7. Honey Badger
The honey badger is famed for its aggressiveness; the Guinness Book of World Records named it “World’s Most Fearless Animal.” The honey badger is an omnivore and will eat nearly anything: insects, eggs, small mammals, snakes, and even small crocodiles. It’s also not picky about its home. It will burrow through the ground or a tree trunk to create its den, and it may even steal another animal’s den. Given its cunning and ferocity, the honey badger is a fascinating creature to spot on safari.
The pangolin is easily distinguished by its scaly armor. Like an armadillo, the pangolin will roll itself into a ball if touched, and it uses its spiky tail as a weapon. There are eight species of pangolin in the world (four in Africa), all of which are endangered due to illegal hunting. As a solitary, nocturnal animal, the pangolin can be one of the most difficult African animals to spot on safari.
The crested porcupine, found in Africa, is similar to the North American porcupine, but with distinctive black and white quills that are longer along its spine. The African porcupine forages for roots, fallen fruits, and other ground-level vegetation at night. When threatened, it stomps its feet and emits a distinct rattle from specialized quills. If the threat persists, the porcupine will attack in reverse for maximum damage to its enemy. See if you can spot one on your next safari in Africa!
The African serval is a medium-sized cat, yet it has the largest ears of any cat, including much larger ones. Its incredible hearing helps it hunt a wide variety of prey, as do its long legs. In addition to hunting in the grass of the savannah, the serval can use its long forelegs to dig into burrows or catch fish out of the water. Serval kittens are extra hard to spot on safari, as the mother hides them extremely well and moves them often.
11. Side-striped Jackal
As its name suggests, the side-striped jackal has distinctive black stripes running along its sides from shoulder to hip. This jackal is omnivorous; when fruit is in season, it will eat fruit almost exclusively, but at other times will eat rodents, reptiles, birds, and carrion. The side-striped jackal is the only member of the Elusive Eleven that isn’t nocturnal. However, it’s extremely territorial. Each territory is inhabited by just one breeding pair of jackals and its offspring, making sightings rare.
Can you spot the Elusive 11 on an African safari? See our safari travel packages and find out for yourself!