The ‘Secret Seven’ title is the stuff stories or made of. Featured by more than one author, it speaks of secret societies and secret meetings, and has captured the imagination of both young and old. It is therefore no wonder that Africa’s Secret Seven has sparked so much excitement and interest of those who learn about it.
Africa is famous for its Big Five, and they are a must-see during a visit to Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. So immediately Africa’s Secret Seven brings up a huge question mark. What are these mysterious creatures? And why are they special enough to make “the list”.
First off, the secret seven’s biggest mystery lies in the fact that they are not easy to spot – in fact, they are rated as the most difficult game animals to view on safari. This makes it so much more exciting to uncover Africa’s Secret Seven and very extraordinary indeed.
So now we know that to make the list, these animals have to be elusive and nocturnal. The Secret Seven are all rare animals that enjoy their privacy, but what makes them unusual are their adaptive coping mechanisms for survival in the wild.
So here they are, uncovered: the aardvark, African wild cat, civet, large spotted genet, pangolin, porcupine and serval.
Let’s zoom in a little on each of the animals ‘special powers’ or characteristics.
This strange-looking creature can walk extremely in order to find food. Its main feature is its 30cm tongue, with which it eats ants and termites. The Aardvark hides itself during the day and searches for food at night.
African Wild Cat
This feline looks just like a house cat, but is much bigger. It is also an extremely shy creature that hunts at night using long grass and dense bushes to camouflage itself from its prey. It eats small animals but can kill small antelope.
A Civet lives in forested woodland areas and is completely solitary. Its unique feature is its secretions, which are used for the musky smell in perfume.
This small cat-like animal is part of the Mongoose family. It’s a very agile animal and an excellent tree climber, hence they are usually found in mixed woodland areas.
The Pangolin has a tough, scaly body and very small eyes. It spooks extremely easily and rolls up into a ball if threatened. They also have very long tongues for eating ants and termites.
The Porcupine is probably the best known member of the Secret Seven. It is the biggest rodent in Africa and has black and white quills that it ejects when under attack. It sleeps during the day and eats plants, berries and bark at night.
The Serval is a medium sized cat-like animal with tawny coloured fur and black spots and stripes. It has a short tail and lean body, with very long legs that are out of proportion to its body size. Their toes are also elongated and move around easily, making it easier for them to catch prey.
So next time you go on a safari – be sure to ask about the Secret Seven and you may even be lucky enough to spot one.