Everyone who comes to Africa wants to see the Big 5 -- elephant, lion, leopard, rhino, and buffalo -- a term coined during the great hunting expeditions of the last century, when these animals were considered the most dangerous to kill and, therefore, the most prestigious trophies. Thankfully, the majority of hunters today aim only cameras, but the thrill of watching these magnificent creatures survive in a wild and untouched African landscape remains. But while almost everyone arrives wanting predominantly to tick off the Big 5, East Africa has more large mammals than virtually anywhere else on Earth, and the variety and concentration of its birdlife is unequalled. Included here are some of the more common predators and their prey -- some of them occurring in their thousands -- as well as a few of the more rare creatures you may be fortunate enough to track down.
To get the most out of your safari, consider purchasing The Safari Companion: A Guide to Watching African Mammals, Including Hoofed Mammals, Carnivores, and Primates (University of California Press), by Richard D. Estes, one of the excellent Collins Field Guides to large mammals of Africa, or East Africa-specific guides to birds, butterflies, wildflowers, and reptiles and amphibians.
By Pippa de Bruyn and Lee Fuller, Private Guide and Singita's East Africa Guide Trainer
Bushbaby -- Bushbaby, or Komba (Galago senegalensis)
Bushbabies -- so called because their nocturnal cry sounds like that of a distressed baby (and perhaps also because of its endearingly huge eyes) -- are primates, though more closely related to the lemurs of Madagascar than the distantly related higher primates such as chimpanzees. Though they call to announce their location, most communication is done via scent: Aside from glands in their skin that imbue each bushbabies' fur with a musky scent, they mark their territory by urinating on their hands, wiping their hands on their feet, and then walking over branches (this may be why they do not make great pets, despite scoring high on the "oh gosh, how cute" scale). Bushbabies live in loose troops ruled by a dominant female, while dominant males travel among several troops; young males live on the periphery of troops. Preferring riverine thickets and forests, bushbabies are highly mobile -- a single animal can cover up to 2km (1 1/4miles) per night, visiting about 500 trees in only 6 hours of foraging time. They do not eat tree leaves, but live on a diet of tree sap, flowers, fruits, and insects. Scientists have identified about 16 to 18 species of bushbaby in Africa; there are thought to be more. Bushbabies live for about 8 years.
Chimpanzee -- Chimpanzee, or Sokwe Mtu (Pan troglodytes)
The chimpanzee is not only more closely related to man than any other living creature (sharing around 93% of DNA sequences), but it is also the most studied primate to date: Jane Goodall's study of the chimps at Gombe Stream on Lake Tanganyika in Tanzania -- going for more than 40 years now -- is the longest-standing animal research project in the wild. Chimps live in large troops -- up to 100 individuals -- dominated by an alpha male, sometimes subdivided into smaller sub-troops. They are primarily frugivorous, but males also hunt opportunistically, killing colobus monkeys, baboons, young antelope, guinea fowl, and pigs in well-organized hunting parties characterized by rapid mobilization and cooperation between the males who play different roles such as blockers, chasers, and ambushers. Chimpanzees use tools, showing their innate intelligence and abilities by "fishing" for termites, ants, and bees with grass stems that they insert into nests; they also use clubs and rocks to break open nuts. Chimps communicate in a manner similar to human nonverbal communication, using vocalizations, hand gestures, and facial expressions; captive chimps have been taught sign language. Scientists have documented mourning displays, humor (especially when tickled), and empathy toward other species (like feeding turtles). Gestation is 8 months and produces a single baby (occasionally twins) -- if the baby is a daughter, the mother-daughter bond will last a lifetime (usually 40-50 years).
Olive Baboon -- Olive Baboon, or Nyani (Papio cynocephalus anubis)
Africa's largest and most widespread baboon (found in 25 countries throughout Africa) is also its most confident, and the chances are very high that you'll encounter it. Named for its green-gray coat, the baboon is immediately recognized by its tail (held up and bent down in the opposite direction to that of a monkey) and doglike muzzle, which is why it is also known as Anubis (after the Egyptian god Anubis, often represented by a dog head). Living in big troops of up to 130, baboons are active during the day, when they forage, play, groom, nurse, and spar in full view of any onlookers. The olive baboon troop has a rigid social structure with complex communication comprising aural and visual means (what looks like a big yawn to a human onlooker is perhaps the need to show off a full set of canines to an approaching rival), as well as tactile means such as social grooming and nose-to-nose greetings. Part of its success is that it is omnivorous, resourceful, and at home in various habitats, therefore able to find nutrition in almost any environment, whether within the tree canopy or beneath the ground. Gestation is 6 months; the female produces one offspring at a time, which may live up to 20 years.
Vervet Monkey -- Vervet Monkey, or Tumbili (Cercopithecus aethiops)
This medium-size monkey is a common sight throughout East Africa and, like the olive baboon, adapts easily to many environments. There are several subspecies, but the body is generally silvery gray, whereas the face, ears, hands, feet, and tip of the tail are black; males are easily recognized by a turquoise blue scrotum and red penis. Vervets live in troops of 10 to 50 individuals comprising mainly adult females and their offspring. There is a strict social hierarchy, and a mother's social standing predetermines her offspring's, with even adults submitting to juveniles of families with higher social status, who will also be on the receiving end of the most grooming. Gestation lasts 7 months and produces a single offspring with a lifespan of up to 20 years.
African Buffalo -- African Buffalo, or Nyati (Syncerus caffer)
The barrel-chested African buffalo is the second-largest animal in the bovid class (second only to the North American plains buffalo), weighing between 500kg and 900kg (1,100 lb.-2,000 lb.). While it looks placid and bovine, it has one of the most fearsome, aggressive temperaments, and will engage in mobbing behavior to fight off predators. A startled or angry buffalo will make a loud, explosive grunt; this is usually a signal to climb the nearest tree! The savannah buffalo has a sparse coat of short black hair, with males typically darker than females (forest buffalo are more red in hue); both males and females bear the buffalo's distinguishing horns. Buffalo are ruminants (they have anaerobic bacteria in a specially segmented stomach that breaks down rough and otherwise inedible food). This makes it one of the most successful grazers in Africa, as it is able to survive in almost any habitat, though it does need regular access to water. African buffalo are sociable, living in large herds; the biggest of these can grow 1,000-strong, though the introduction of the cattle disease rinderpest decimated numbers (it was the hardest hit animal) in the Serengeti at the turn of the century. The basic herds consist of related females and their offspring; these are surrounded by sub-herds of bachelor males, high-ranking males and females, and old or invalid animals. With very few predators (predominantly man and lions), the buffalo often lives to 18 years; aging males are displaced by new dominant males, and are forced to leave the herd and live on their own; these are prized by hunters for their thick horns.
Coke's Hartebeest -- Coke's Hartebeest, or Kongoni (Alcephalus busephalus cokei)
Similar in outline to the topi, but larger and not as variegated in markings, the fawn- to reddish-hued Coke's hartebeest has medium-size horns, reaching up to 70cm (27 in.). Coke's hartebeest, also commonly known as kongoni (tough ox), is the most widespread of the hartebeest. Its preferred grazing grounds are medium and tall grasslands; it tends to migrate between short, well-drained pastures in the wet season to long grasslands in the dry. Unlike wildebeest, kongoni do not give birth at a certain time of year or in the midst of the herd, but in isolation, well hidden in the scrub; the female will leave her young calf hidden there for a fortnight, visiting it briefly to suckle. Even more unusual, adult females have long relationships with their offspring and seemingly prefer their company to that of other adults; they are often accompanied by up to four generations of their young, with female offspring remaining close to their mothers up to the time they give birth to calves of their own; even male offspring often remain with their mothers for as long as 3 years. Gestation is 8 months; lifespan can be up to 20 years.
Eland -- Eland, or Pofu (Taurotragus oryx pattersoni)
The largest antelope in Africa (weighing 300kg-1,000kg [660 lb.-2,200 lb.], depending on sex, and up 180cm [6 ft.] at the shoulder) is identified by its twisted horns: about 65cm (26 in.) long, with a steady spiral ridge. It is also the slowest antelope and tires quickly. When the eland moves, it makes a clicking noise -- this is from overlapping hoof tips, not from the ankle or knee joint, as popularly believed. Herds usually have 30 to 80 individuals but are known to exceed 400; the eland has an unusual social structure, in that individuals leave or join herds as necessary without forming close ties. It has been held in high esteem in tribal mythology throughout Africa; in East Africa, the Maasai believe they are "God's cattle," and this is then the only wild meat that they will eat. Gestation is 9 months; lifespan is up to 20 years.
Greater Kudu -- Greater Kudu, or Tandala Mkubwa (Tragelaphus strepsiceros)
Along with the sable and the oryx, the male kudu -- identifiable not only by its horns, but also by the long fringe or "beard" of hair running down his throat and chest -- is the antelope with the most magnificent horns: A long, elegant spiral that, when fully grown, reaches 2 1/2 twists, these can sometimes become entangled when jousting with another male, which may result in both animals starving to death. Males are typically loners or live in small bachelor herds, joining the female only during mating season. The female is smaller and has no horns. Both males and females have 6 to 12 thin vertical white stripes on each flank, and an equally white chevron across the forehead. When pregnant, the female will leave the herd to give birth and leave the newborn hidden for 4 to 5 weeks. The kudu is a browser, feeding on seeds, leaves, and shoots. Gestation is 8 to 9 months; lifespan can be up to 20 years.
Maasai Giraffe -- Maasai Giraffe, or Twiga (Giraffa camelopardalis tippelskirchi)
The graceful Maasai giraffe is one of six different species of the family Giraffidae, tallest of all land mammals (the height of a double-decker bus), with the Maasai giraffe typified by its large irregular jagged patches, which look rather like giant snowflakes. You may find huge individual variation in a single herd, with markings for each individual as distinctive as a fingerprint. The Maasai giraffe is gregarious and non-territorial, appearing in loose, fluid herds that can number between 2 and 50. Calving happens throughout the year; following a 15-month gestation, the giraffe will give birth to one calf. The embryonic sack usually bursts when the baby falls to the ground, and within 5 minutes, the 1.8m (6-ft.) calf can stand. It nearly doubles its height in the first year. Despite its weight and almost cumbersome height (the record-size bull, shot in Kenya in 1934, was 5.9m/19 ft. tall and weighed approximately 2,000kg/4,400 lb.), the giraffe is surprisingly agile, reaching top speeds of up to 60kmph (37 mph) and moving with an endearing loping gait (unlike most four-legged species, legs on the same side move in unison to propel the animal forward). Giraffe can inhabit savannahs, grasslands, or open woodlands. They have specially adapted tongues and lips to nibble acacia leaves, avoiding (and even consuming) the trees' ferocious thorns. They drink large quantities of water and, as a result, can spend long periods of time in arid areas. Tanzania's national animal, the giraffe may not be hunted in Tanzania; anyone caught with any parts or products made from a giraffe faces up to 15 years' imprisonment.
Oryx -- Oryx, or Choroa (Oryx beisa)
East Africa has two types of oryx -- the common beisa oryx (Oryx gazella beisa) and the fringe-eared oryx (Oryx g. callotis). Though it is difficult to distinguish between the two, there is no mistaking this beautiful antelope, with its attractive black-and-white markings on a horse-like head, from which grow straight, narrow, rapier-like horns reaching 75 to 80cm (around 30 in.) long. Both males and females have horns, and they are lethal -- capable of killing a lion. Some say that if seen from the side, the horns appear as one, and therein lies the origin of the fabled unicorn. The oryx is perfectly adapted to near-desert conditions, able to survive without water for long periods and to store water by raising their body temperature, thereby avoiding perspiration. It also feeds on plants late at night or early in the morning, times when the desert-adapted foliage retains the most water, thereby providing the oryx with both nutrients and moisture. A female leaves the herd to give birth and hides the calf for 2 or 3 weeks, visiting a few times a day to nurse it. After that time, calves are able to run with the herd. Lifespan is up to 20 years.
Sable Antelope -- Sable Antelope, or Mbarapi (Hippotragus niger)
One of the most impressive-looking antelopes, the sable has majestic, backward-sweeping, scimitar-shaped horns that can reach more than 1m (3.3 ft.); the males have a glossy, jet-black coat with striking white facial markings and underbelly. Listed as rare by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the most important populations are found in wooded savannahs of Zimbabwe, Zambia, and East Africa. Sable antelope form herds of 10 to 30 strictly hierarchical females and their calves, led by a single bull; when males fight, they drop to their knees and use their horns. Adult males often reach 1.5m (5 ft.) at the shoulder and can weigh more than 270kg (595 lb.); males are about 20% larger and heavier than females. Lifespan is up to 17 years.
Topi -- Topi, or Nyamera (Damaliscus lunatus jimela)
Reaching speeds of 70kmph (43 mph), the topi is -- along with the Thomson's gazelle -- the second-fastest mammal on land (some say the Thomson's gazelle can even outrun the larger topi). It is one of Africa's prettiest antelopes, wearing a striking reddish-brown coat with a slight purple hue and distinct dark patches on the face, upper forelegs, and hips and thighs; mustard-yellow-tan legs look like well-chosen socks. The topi is gregarious and can gather in huge herds, but distribution is today scattered and populations isolated, probably because of habitat loss and hunting. It has the most variable social organization of any antelope, occupying large permanent territories or small temporary territories with a flexible social structure. Sedentary populations display the usual antelope residence pattern -- small herds led by a dominant male. During migratory periods, large numbers of animals congregate together indiscriminately, and they like to spend time with other antelope such as wildebeest and hartebeest, as well as zebra. Gestation is 8 months. Lifespan is usually 15 years.
Thomson's Gazelle and Grant's Gazelle -- Thomson's and Grant's Gazelle, or Swala Tomi and Swala Granti (Gazella rufifrons thomsoni and Gazella granti robertsi)
The pale, sandy-color gazelle -- all occurring with ribbed, S-shaped horns -- is the most widespread of all antelope and is characterized by its ability to survive in arid areas by allowing its own body temperature to rise by as much as 10°F. Curiously, they regulate their temperature by panting rapidly: As blood passes through the vessels of the moist nasal mucous, it is cooled by evaporation. The Thomson's gazelle is, along with the topi, also the second-fastest land mammal on Earth, reaching 70 to 80kmph (around 45 mph). Producing two lambs per year, the dainty Thomson's (55-65cm/15-30kg [25 in./33-66 lb.]) is also the most abundant gazelle, numbering 360,000 in the migration alone. Easily identified from the Grant's by the black stripe that separates the fawn from the white on its flank (not to mention size and horns), the "Tommies" tend to follow behind the big herds, grazing on the short-cropped shoots in heavily grazed grassland, thereby avoiding competition for limited resources. Almost twice the size of the Thomson's, the Grant's gazelle (80-95cm/35-80kg [31-37 in./77-176 lb.]) has elegantly shaped divergent horns, with tips pointed to the side and backward. The Grant's selects different food plants from the Tommies and is believed to be completely water independent (able to derive all its moisture from plant materials grazed).
White-Bearded Wildebeest -- White-Bearded Wildebeest, or Nyumbu (Connochaetes taurinus)
Also known as the white-bearded gnu, the wildebeest is Africa's most abundant antelope, appearing in super-herds numbering up to 1.5 million in the Serengeti and Masai Mara. The wildebeest is relatively hardy but prefers sweet young grasses, which it will graze day and night until depleted, and will commute many miles to find water and fresh pasture, hence the annual Migration that takes place in East Africa. Calving is synchronized to happen when they are in freshly laundered open-plain savannahs, where they are safest from approaching predators -- an estimated 80% of the females calve within the same 2- to 3-week period, and calves can run within minutes of being born. Gestation is 8 to 8.5 months; lifespan is up to 20 years.
African Elephant -- African Elephant, or Tembo (Loxondonta Africana)
The elephant is the largest land mammal, weighing up to 6 tons. Aside from their sheer size, the characteristic that sets most elephants apart is what one might call their emotional intelligence; elephants grow up in close-knit family groups (with adolescent males moving to bull herds) and show visible and prolonged signs of distress when one of the herd is injured or killed. Breeding herds are led and dominated by a matriarch, and when males reach a certain age (around 12-15 years), they are encouraged to join bull herds. Mature bulls (usually over age 25, when they weigh 5-6 tons) join female breeding herds during mating only; if conception is successful, gestation is 22 months, and babies are dependent on the mother and weaned only at 4 years or more. Elephants eat up 250kg (550 lb.) of food and drink up to 150 liters (40 gallons) of water every day; given that they live 50 to 60 years, they have a huge impact on the environment. Elephants flap their ears continuously; this is to keep the animal cool as warm blood is pumped from the body into the rich network of blood vessels in the ears -- which account for 20% of the surface area -- at a rate of 12 liters (3 gallons) per minute per ear. Elephants communicate using infrasound, meaning it is below our range of hearing; new studies suggest there may be also be sub-terrain communication, with messages received through their feet. Elephants are estimated to cover more than 20km (12 miles) per day. Their trunk, probably nature's most versatile tool, has more than 150,000 muscle fascicles in it. Unusual for a family, Elephantidae comprises only two species (the other being the Indian elephant).
Black Rhinoceros -- Black Rhinoceros, or Kifaru (Diceros bicornis)
Africa's most primitive-looking mammal dates from the Miocene era and survived pretty much unchanged for millions of years. Then in the 1970s, the explosion in poaching reduced the world rhino population by an estimated 90%. Having been poached almost to extinction in East Africa, there are only isolated populations of the critically endangered black rhino (which is actually gray and is also known as the "hook-lipped rhino"), predominantly in the Masai Mara in Kenya, Moru Koppies in Serengeti, and nearby Ngorongoro Crater. The black rhino is a solitary animal and is usually spotted at waterholes or in savannah with thickets; its ominous hulk (weighing upward of 1 ton) is fed by the leaves of a huge variety of plants (more than 200 different species), which are nimbly devoured with the use of its muscular upper lip and molar and premolar teeth. An odd-toed ungulate (three toes on each foot), the rhino is easily irritated, despite the fact that it has a remarkably thick skin (15-50mm/ 1/2-2 in. thick; human skin is 1.5mm/.05 in.). Despite its bulk (700-1,400kg/1,500-3,000 lb.), it is surprisingly nimble and can reach speeds of up to 48kmph (30 miles). The rhino can inflict a lot of damage with its horn. It has a relatively small brain, given its overall size, and very poor eyesight (the latter made up for by good senses of smell and hearing). In an ideal world, the black rhino will live to about 50, but its horns -- actually thickly matted hair that grows from the skin -- are literally worth their weight in gold in Asian markets; authorities suspect heavily armed gangs of Somali bandits of being responsible for most of the continued poaching. After a 15-month gestation, calves will stay with the mother for 2 to 4 years. You will often see the bird known as an oxpecker (or askari wa kifaru, literally "the rhino's security guard") sitting on the rhino, feeding on ticks and alerting the rhino to danger -- with no known predators, this is invariably the presence of man.
Hippopotamus -- Hippopotamus, or Kiboko (Hippopotomus amphibious)
One of the three largest mammals on land (males weigh an average 1.5 tons, females 1.3 tons), the gregarious hippo is found in herds of 10 or more, submerged up to its nostrils in the waters of tropical rivers, as it has sensitive skin and is highly susceptible to sunburn. The hippo has no sweat glands; when unable to fully submerge, or when basking on the sand bank, sub-dermal glands release a secretion that keeps the skin moist and protects the hippo from U.V. damage. Due to the reddish color of this secretion, it was originally thought that hippos sweated blood. It has been suggested that these secretions have extremely effective antibiotic properties, given that the wounds inflicted during fights seldom become infected despite the conditions of the water it will immerse itself in. Hippos are able to hold their breath for 5 to 6 minutes but usually spend much less time under water. Mating takes place in the water. Calving takes place either in shallow water or on land; gestation is 8 months, and hippos can live up to 40 years. Despite being herbivores, they are said to be responsible for more human deaths than any other African mammal -- this is largely due to the fact that they are fiercely territorial and not confined to nature reserves. They are nocturnal grazers: At sunset they leave the water to follow well-worn pathways to pasture, returning to their water sanctuaries at dawn; humans using the same tracks to access rivers do so at their peril.
Plains Zebra -- Plains Zebra, or Punda Milia (Equus burchellii)
Each zebra's stripe pattern is as unique as a fingerprint -- zebras are thought to recognize these stripes, using them to identify each other in big herds (young foals, in particular, are said to "imprint" their mother's pattern). Zebras will mate freely (and successfully) with donkeys to form a hybrid (although the offspring are infertile; these animals are known as zebdonks and were unsuccessfully bred as beasts of burden in the early to mid-1900s). Gestation is 12 months. Young zebra foals need to consume their mother's feces to ingest the micro-organisms (gastric fauna) necessary for digestion in their stomachs. Zebras have never successfully been domesticated or used by man -- they are said to lack the stamina of a horse, have a weak spine, and are incredibly cantankerous and stubborn. They live up to 20 years.
Warthog -- Warthog, or Ngiri (Phacochoerus aethiopicus)
The name for this wild pig is derived from the huge wart-like protrusions found on the head (males have two pairs, females one), but the warthog is identifiable by the two pairs of curving tusks protruding from the mouth, which are used for digging and as weapons to protect the face during fighting (swept sideways). The smaller lower tusks do most of the damage and are kept knife-sharp by constant rubbing (during chewing) against the larger top tusks. The warthog is omnivorous but more of a vegetarian, mainly grazing grass in the wet season, while the dry season sees them "rooting" on their knees, using their nose disc or snout to dig out roots, bulbs, tubers, and rhizomes. They will, if the opportunity or need arises, settle for carrion and, occasionally, fallen fruits. They also regularly eat soil, which supplements their diet with minerals and trace elements. When they run, they keep their tails upright like antennae -- in long grass, this is thought to help alert other members of the family, particularly young, to their location. Gestation is 5 to 6 months; litter comprises one to eight piglets. Warthogs can live up to 18 years.
African Dormouse -- African Dormouse (Graphiurus spp)
These are some of the cutest rodents around, with soft bushy tails, big ears, and endearing faces. There are about 14 species of African dormouse, and all are very good climbers. At only 85g (3 oz.), these small omnivores are very agile and are exceptionally quick when hunting. They pounce very quickly onto sleeping birds, as well as lizards, eggs, and carrion, and can easily overpower prey the same size as them. Fat deposits and nest-building abilities allow these mice to tolerate seasonal food shortages. They are also very vocal, especially during mating, when both sexes click, growl, and whistle.
North African Crested Porcupine -- North African Crested Porcupine, or Nungunungo (Hystrix cristana)
Meaning "quill pig" in Latin and appearing somewhat like a hedgehog, the porcupine is, in fact, a rodent (the third-largest rodent after the capybara and the beaver), with a coat of "hair" modified into sharp spines that it uses rather successfully to defend itself from predators. The African porcupine can grow to well over 15 to 27kg (33-60 lb.), and the quills that run along the head, nape, and back can be raised into a crest to make itself appear even larger. If threatened, the porcupine will charge -- in reverse -- to stab the enemy with its quills (it cannot shoot its quills, as is commonly believed). The crested porcupine is, for the most part, herbivorous -- eating roots, bulbs, crops -- but will also occasionally consume carrion (it gnaws on bones for calcium). Nocturnal and monogamous, the crested porcupine lives in small family groups consisting of an adult pair and young of various ages. Gestation is 94 days; litter comprises one to three; lifespan is 15 years.
Savanna Cane Rat -- Savanna Cane Rat, or Ndezi (Thryonomys gregorianus)
This robust rodent, weighing in at 7.5kg (17 lbs.), is seldom seen, due to its preferred habitat of long rank grasslands and nocturnal habits. These rats are surprisingly vocal, and their repertoire includes grunts, whistles, and hoots. When alarmed, they thump their back legs on the ground, in an attempt to deter their potential predator. They need to be on the lookout for man, who prizes their meat as a delicacy, as well as most carnivores and eagles. They have specially adapted large cutting teeth and manipulative hands that allow to them feed on mature grasses and reeds. They also feed on fruits, bark, and roots. They usually produce two litters a year, of an average size of four youngsters. The young are born very well developed and are sexually mature, producing their own offspring at 6 months of age.
Spring Hare -- Spring Hare, or Kamendegere (Pedetes capensis surdaster)
Bouncing across the plains on its well-developed hind legs, reaching heights of almost 2m (6 1/2 ft.), the spring hare looks like a tiny kangaroo, but it is neither rabbit nor marsupial, but rodent. Spring hares are very common but seldom seen during the day, as they tend to rest in their warrens, emerging primarily at night to feed. Spring hares live and graze in groups of up to nine and build burrows that can extend up to 50m (164 ft.). Burrows may have a series of escape holes that do not open above the ground; instead, entrances are plugged with soil from the inside of the tunnel. Spring hares are primarily grazers favoring overgrazed grasslands but will also eat roots and fruit. Gestation is 77 days; females will produce around three young in 1 year. Lifespan is around 7 years.