A theme for our tour in the “Living Desert” is the “Little 5”. Most tourists come to Namibia hoping to see the “Big 5” but with only three millimetres of rain per year the Namib Desert is not suitable for elephants…
The “Little 5” are:
- Cartwheeling Spider (scroll down)
- Shovel-Snouted Lizard (scroll down)
- Sidewinder Snake
- Namaqua Chameleon
- Palmato Gecko
Cartwheeling Spider (Carparachne aureoflava)
Sorry to say, we never saw it.
We found it’s nest, next to the typical traces after its “hopping”…
This large desert spider makes a burrow out of silk in the sand.
This is closed with a little silk trap door, here seen to the right. We never saw the spider itself. It is called “cartwheeling” because it “cartwheels” very quickly down the dunes to escape enemies.
Next on my list of the “Little 5” is the:
Shovel-Snouted Lizard (Meroles anchietae)
This one we saw several times.
They were running up and down the dunes but Chris never did catch one for us. This lizard is also called “the dancing lizard” because it stands at two feet at the time, lifting two to cool them off from the very hot sand.
So we kind of missed two of the “Little 5”. And we also missed the:
Black Scorpion (Parabuthus villosus)
…although we saw several tracks of it.
A big lazy one who walked with his big tail hanging in the desert.. The Namib Desert scorpion is night-active and poisonous.
As a compensation for what we missed we saw the:
Fitzsimon’s Burrowing Skink (Typlacontias brevipes)
Chris stopped the car and quickly got into the sand to fetch a skink.
It looks like a small snake but is actually a legless lizard.
It is covered in a glossy layer of wax that makes it able to “swim” through the sand.
It lives below the surface and it is blind.
It find’s food (small insects) by being very sensitive to vibrations in the sand.
After this tour you will never again look at sand dunes the way you did before…
Stories of the rest of the “Little 5” coming soon…