Views #1314 | Intermediate (B1)

The Big Five

Michael talks about the most famous animals in South Africa and which one is the most dangerous.

Ana: I heard that South Africa is famous for its wild animals.

Mike: That's true. We have many different kinds of animals in South Africa. Have you heard of the big five?

Ana: I think so but I don't remember what it is.

Mike: So the big five are the animals that foreign tourists like to come and see in South Africa. And there are safaris and trips you can go on to wildlife reserves to see these animals.

Ana: So what are they?

Mike: So would you like to guess?

Ana: I guess lions.

Mike: Yes, that's one of them.

Ana: And elephants.

Mike: Yes.

Ana: And giraffes.

Mike: No. The giraffe is definitely a big animal but it's not one of the big five. The other three are rhinoceros, the – is it the water buffalo, I think. And the final one is – what is the final one?

Ana: Is it the cheetah?

Mike: Yes, the cheetah. Yes. The cheetah can run very, very fast.

Ana: Okay, and have you seen all of these animals?

Mike: Let me think. It's been a while since I visited a wildlife reserve but I've seen elephants before. And let's see; I've seen a lion. I don't think I've ever seen a cheetah. I've seen a rhinoceros from far away.

Ana: I've heard they're quite dangerous.

Mike: I don't think that there are not many of them in the wild. I don't know if there are any in the wild. They're all in wildlife enclosures so that actually I don't think many people are injured or killed by rhinoceroses. But actually, do you know what the most dangerous animal is in Africa?

Ana: Is it the lion?

Mike: No, it's not. It's the hippopotamus.

Ana: Really?

Mike: I think they killed more people every year in the world than any other animal.

Ana: Wow, that's very surprising.

Mike: Maybe mosquitoes kill more with malaria but in terms of big animals, it's definitely the hippopotamus.

Ana: Wow.

Mike: They have very long teeth as well.

Ana: That's scary.

Mike: Yeah. It is pretty scary. You don't want to be – you know, they can swim as well. So they would – and if you go out on the river in a little bit on a dam and there's a hippopotamus, he can tip your boat over and bite you in half.

Ana: All right. So you should definitely look out for hippos when you go to South Africa.

Mike: Yeah. You should be careful. Crocodiles can also be nasty.

Ana: Okay.

Answer these questions about the interview.
Audio Lessons about Phrases and Vocabulary

wildlife reserve


You can go on to wildlife reserves to see these animals.

A wildlife reserve is protected land for wild animals. Notice the following:

  1. African safaris are usually on wildlife reserves.
  2. There is a wildlife reserve for native birds near my city.



They're all in wildlife enclosures.

An enclosure is an area with a wall or fence around it. Notice the following:

  1. The animals are kepts in a small enclosure.
  2. The deer escaped from the enclosure.

tip -- over


He can tip your boat over.

When something tips over, it turns over. Notice the following:

  1. The wave tipped the raft over.
  2. Our boat tipped over when I leaned over the side.


in half


Bite you in half

When something is cut in half, it is split into two pieces. Notice the following:

  1. She cut her spending in half.
  2. He broke the candy bar in half so we could share it.



Crocodiles can also be nasty.

Nasty means not nice. For animals it can mean dangerous. Notice the following:

  1. Be careful, that dog can be nasty.
  2. He can be nasty if he does not get his coffee in the morning.

Vocabulary Quiz

reserve • enclosure • in half
tip over • nasty
  1. She can be when she is mad .
  2. The puppy is kept in an for safety.
  3. We toured the nature .
  4. He cut his debt .
  5. Try not to the bucket.

Related Lessons

1313 Zoologist
#1313 Zoologist
Working with animals.
Video 1313
Is there wildlife in your area?

Other Lessons

1315 Know a good place?
#1315 Know a good place?
Ideas about where to eat.
1312 Change Climate Change
#1312 Skin Sea and Sun
Paul and Amy discuss sunshine and warm and cold climates.
1311 Climate Change
#1311 Choosing a Climate
Aimee and Paul discuss the best place to live.


Courses for Students and Teachers

One Minute English Videos

Views English Lessons

Mixer English Lessons

Learn Academic English with News Stories

About the Teacher / Creator

Hello, and welcome to elllo. My name is Todd Beuckens. I've been an ESL teacher for 25 years. I created elllo to provide teachers and students free audio lessons and learning materials not usually found in commercial textbooks.
Contact Me Here