Africa

Africa has several different types of habitats from jungles and forests to grasslands and deserts. The second-largest continent after Asia, it is home to many beautiful and dangerous animals of various sizes, both diurnal and nocturnal.

These include mammals, reptiles, birds, and insects, with many being unique to Africa. Because of its biodiversity, it is a popular location for animal researchers as well as safari enthusiasts. It contains over 1,100 different mammal species, plus over 60 carnivore species, 100,000 insect species, 3,000 freshwater fish species, and over 2,600 bird species. Its populations of insects comprise 15-20% of all insects in the world.

The Official National Animals of Africa

Since Africa is made up of several countries containing their own culture and languages, as well as different types of habitats, there aren’t official African animals that represent the entire continent. Hence, each country has its own official national animal, with some countries having more than one national animal or sharing the same national animal as that of other countries.

The Oryx is the National Animal of Namibia

National animals are often categorized according to type, especially if a country has more than one. For example, the Leopard is the official national animal (land mammal) of both Rwanda and Somalia, while the American Fish Eagle is the national bird of Namibia and Zambia, and the Oryx is the national animal of Namibia. South Africa’s official national animal is the Springbok, its national bird is the Blue Crane, and its national fish the Galjoen.

The Top African Wildlife

The top wild animals in Africa are those that people most often seek out in safaris, with many being animals native to Africa. These safari animals are housed in national parks, game reserves, and other sanctuaries for both human safety as well as to avoid their becoming part of the extinct animals in Africa. Among the best-known African animals are the “Big Five” which are the Lion, Leopard, Elephant, Rhinoceros, and Buffalo. All of them can be seen in South Africa and are native animals:

Animal Groups – Crash of Rhinoceroses
Rhinos are one of the “Big Five” African Land Animals

Henk Bogaard/Shutterstock.com

Finding Top Wild African Animals:

Animal Groups – Zeal of Zebras
Zebras are found in the Serengeti or Masai Mara region

The Most Dangerous African Animals Today

Land animals in Africa are popular attractions for safari enthusiasts, although they are not always treated with caution and respect. Many dangerous African animals are among the most dangerous in the world after human beings, whether hostile or poisonous. Fortunately, most dangerous African animals can be safely seen in national parks and game reserves. The top 10 most dangerous animals native to Africa and their estimated number of human deaths per year are:

Strongest animal bite – hippopotamus
Hippos are highly aggressive and unpredictable, and often charge other animals or even humans.
  • Mosquito: Causes diseases including Malaria, Yellow Fever, Zeka Virus, West Nile Virus, and Dengue Fever; 1,000,000 deaths.
  • Hippopotamus: Territorial and weighs up to 1,500kg, making it the third-largest animal after the elephant and rhino; 3,000 deaths.
  • African Elephant: Largest land animal; weighs up to 7,000kg and is unpredictable; tramples victims; 500 deaths.
  • Nile Crocodile: Aggressive, fatal attacks; 300 deaths.
  • Lion: Apex predator; kills locals during their daily lives or on the fringes of game reserves; 200 deaths.
  • Cape Buffalo: Nicknamed “widowmaker” and “black death”; fearless, aggressive, and unpredictable; will stalk and kill humans if alone; tramples and gores victims to death; weighs up to 1,000kg; 200 deaths.
  • Great White Shark: Most aggressive shark towards humans; charges at prey up to 40km an hour before taking a large bite; humans die from blood loss in 20 percent of cases; 2 deaths.
  • Rhinoceros: Weighs up to 2,800kg and second largest animal after the elephant; irritable, and charges with long, sharp horns up to 64km an hour when threatened; unknown.
  • Puff Adder: Not the most venomous snake but causes the most fatalities due to its wide habitat range, camoflauge colors and aggressiveness; 20 percent fatality rate from untreated bites; unknown.
  • Black Mamba: Largest venomous snake in Africa, growing up to 2.5m; one of the world’s fastest snakes, moving at 20km an hour; highly aggressive; one of the most venomous snakes in the world with a 100% fatality for untreated bites; unknown.

Endangered Animals In Africa

An African Wild Dog at Savuti, Chobe National Park, Botswana.

Derek Keats / Flickr

Several species are endangered or vulnerable due to hunting and poaching, particularly large and dangerous animals which are prized as trophies. Endangered animals in Africa include the Black Rhino, White Rhino, Rothschild’s Giraffe, Grévy’s Zebra, (African) Wild Dog, Grey Crowned Crane and Okapi. Additionally, the Lion, Leopard, Cheetah and African Forest Elephant are vulnerable species.

Birds in Africa

There are many different types of birds in Africa. In fact, there are 2,341 species of native African birds, 25 of those species are endemic, meaning you can’t find them anywhere else. You can find birds all over the continent. A few iconic species include:

  • Shoebill: These massive birds are found in swamps and wetlands of Central and East Africa. Shoebills don’t migrate and spend their days hunting in papyrus swamps. You can find them in the Bangweulu Wetlands in north-eastern Zambia.
  • Guinea fowl: There are 6 species of guinea fowl in Africa. They are found across the continent in a variety of habitats.
  • Secretary bird: Found in sub-Saharan Africa, these birds of prey prefer to hunt on the ground. It is common to see them in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.
  • Common Ostrich: Perhaps Africa’s most well-known bird species. Breeding season is the best time to see large flocks of Ostriches, from March to September. They are found in the savannas, woodlands, and deserts of Southern Africa and across Western Africa to the horn of Africa. They can be seen in many African parks and games reserves, including Kruger National Park and Chobe National Park.
  • African Penguins: You can see African penguins along the southestern coast of Africa and surrounding islands. The best time to see them is from November to August. They are most active at dusk and dawn. A popular viewing destination for African pengiuns is Boulders Beach in Simons Town, South Africa.
  • Hornbills: There are 24 species of hornbill found in Africa. You can see arboreal and terrestrial species in African savannas, rainforests, and woodlands. Find Southern Ground Hornbills in Mapungubwe or Kruger National Park.

Types of African Fish

Africa is home to an abundance of freshwater and marine fish. There are hundreds of freshwater lakes and rivers in Africa. Some of the most notable are the African Great Lakes, a system of 7 lakes in East, South, and Central Africa. These lakes are known for their cichlid populations. One of the great lakes, Lake Malawi is an especially popular fishing destination, with over 1,000 species of fish. Fishing in Lake Malawi is best between September and April, but underwater viewing is best between May and October.

With Western Africa bordering the Atlantic Ocean, and Eastern Africa the Indian Ocean, you will easily find thousands of marine fish species. Kenya, Tanzania, and Zanzibar are popular fishing destinations where you can catch several species of tuna, sharks, mackerel, marlin, barracuda, and more. The best time for deep-sea fishing off these coasts is between October and April. If you’re interested in viewing marine wildlife, Mozambique has a marine conservation area where you can enjoy manta rays, sharks, eels, and a variety of reef fish. October to March is the best time for snorkeling in Mozambique.

Snakes in Africa

A wide variety of snakes call Africa home. There are snakes in every type of habitat, from tropical, to desert, and aquatic. You’ll find both venomous and non-venomous snakes in Africa. Venomous snakes in Africa have three different types of venom- Cytotoxic, neurotoxic, and haemotoxic. Cytotoxins kill cells. They destroy the cells in soft tissue and internal organs. Neurotoxins affect neural pathways and can cause paralysis. Haemotixins destroy red blood cells and prevent blood from clotting.

Some of the deadliest snakes in Africa include:

  • Black Mamba: Africa’s longest snake, and one of the fastest snakes in the world. Black mambas are found in Southern and Eastern Africa. They live in savannahs and rocky hills.
  • Boomslang: One of the most venomous snakes in the world. Native to the savannahs of sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Bush Viper: Arboreal snakes found in the tropical rainforests of Western and Central Africa.
  • Cape Cobra: Only found in Southern Africa. They live in a varitey of habitats, like grasslands, savannahs, and deserts.
  • West African Carpet Viper: Endemic to the dry savannahs of West Africa. It is the most dangerous snake in Africa.
  • Eastern Green Mamba: Arboreal snakes native to the coastal regions of Southern and East Africa. They can be found in the dense vegetation of tropical rainforests.
  • Puff Adder: Found throughout sub-Saharan Africa, typically in open forests, grasslands, and rocky savannahs.

A few nonvenomous snakes native to Africa:

  • Ball Python: Live north of the equator in Western and Central Africa. They are found near water in grasslands and forests.
  • Brown House Snake: Distributed throughout Southern Africa. These snakes are popular as pets.
  • Spotted Bush Snake: Found in a variety of habitats close to water sources. They have a large range, from Southern Africa northward into Central Africa, from east to west coasts.
  • African Rock Python: The largest snake in Africa. Native to sub-Saharan Africa, in a range of habitats near permanent bodies of water.

Rivers in Africa

There are numerous massive rivers in Africa that are home to a variety of wildlife. African rivers range from the Nile River, which stretches more than 4,000 miles in length and is a haven of wildlife in the harshness of the Sahara Desert to the Okavango River, which has an inland delta that covers 600,000 acres in swamps and floods during dry seasons to create a gathering ground for thousands of animals. Some notable African rivers include:

  • Orange River: Flows 1,300 miles across South Africa and forms the boundary with Namibia. The Orange River is home to a number of endemic fish including the Numaquab barb, Maluti redfin, and Orange River mudfish.
  • Zambezi River: A massive 2,200 miles river that is home to Victoria Falls, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. The Zambezi is home to a wide variety of wildlife including bull sharks and many bird species.

African Countries Animals Lists

Click any of the countries below to see a detailed list of animals located in that country!

African Animals

Aardvark

Can move 2ft of soil in just 15 seconds!

Aardwolf

The aardwolf has five toes on its front paws

Abyssinian

The oldest breed of cat in the world!

Addax

The hooves of the addax are splayed and have flat, springy soles, one of the adaptations that help it walk over sand.

African Bullfrog

The African bullfrog is one of only three species of frog that have “teeth.”

African Bush Elephant

Can drink up to 50 gallons a day

African Civet

Secretes up to 4g of musk every week!

African Clawed Frog

A particularly ferocious amphibian!

African Forest Elephant

Have large rounded ears to help keep them cool!

African Grey Parrot

When a grey parrot named Yosuke got lost, it was reunited with its owner after giving the owner's name and address.

African Palm Civet

Solitary but gathers in groups!

African Penguin

The only penguin species in Africa!

African Tree Toad

Found in tropical moist lowland forests!

African Wild Dog

Also known as the painted dog!

Agama Lizard

The agama forms small social groups that contain both dominant and subordinate males.

Aidi

This dog has a thick coat of fur despite its origins in Morocco, a country known for its hot temperatures.

Albatross

The largest wingspan of any bird in the world!

American Cockroach

Despite its name, actually originated from Africa and the Middle East

Angora Goat

Each adult Angora goat produces about 12 inches of mohair annually while kids have about 8 inches.

Ant

First evolved 100 million years ago!

Antelope

Renew their horns every year!

Ape

Love to learn, especially through observation

Armadillo Lizard

They communicate through a series of tongue flicking, head bobbing and tail wagging, among other methods.

Armyworm

They are so named because they "march" in armies of worms from one crop to another in search of food

Australian Cockroach

The most common type outdoor roach in Florida

Aye Aye

Thought to be extinct until 1957!

Baboon

Can travel more than four miles a day!

Banana Spider

People spin clothing and fishing nets out of these spiders’ silk.

Barb

There are over 1768 known species!

Barn Owl

Found everywhere around the world!

Barn Swallow

Older offspring help care for new hatchlings.

Basenji Dog

Alert, affectionate and energetic!

Bat

Detects prey using echolocation!

Bearded Vulture

These birds eat a diet of bones

Bed Bugs

Bed bugs feed for 4-12 minutes.

Bee

Rock paintings of bees date back 15,000 years

Beetle

There are more than 350,000 different species

Bichir

The bichir species is more than 400 million years old

Bird

Not all birds are able to fly!

Biscuit Beetle

The biscuit beetle form a symbiotic relationship with yeast

Black Mamba

Black mambas are the longest venomous snake in Africa, and second longest in the world.

Black Rhinoceros

Horns can grow to 1.5m!

Black Widow Spider

They typically prey on insects!

Blind Snake

The blind snake is often mistaken for a worm.

Blue Tit

The blue tit can hang upside down from branches

Bongo

Long and heavy spiralled horns!

Bonobo

Shares 97% of the same DNA as humans!

Brookesia Micra

Brookesia micra can curl up and pretend to be a dead leaf if it’s threatened.

Brown-banded Cockroach

Females glue egg cases to furniture

Brown Dog Tick

Can live its entire life indoors

Brown Hyena

They don’t laugh

Buffalo

Has no real natural predators!

Bumblebee

The most common species of bee!

Bush Baby

In a series of leaps, this creature can cover almost 30 feet of distance in just a few seconds.

Bush Viper

Bush vipers are predators, sinking their fangs into prey while dangling from a tree limb

Butterfly

There are thought to be up 17,500 species!

Caecilian

Some species' babies use their hooked or scraper-like teeth to peel off and eat their mother's skin

Camel

Can survive without water for 10 months!

Cape Lion

Despite its large, muscular body, the Cape lion actually rests more than 20 hours a day

Caracal

Has 20 different muscles in it's ears!

Carpenter Ant

Carpenter ants can lift up to seven times their own weight with their teeth!

Carpet Viper

The Carpet Viper probably bites and kills more people than any other species of snake.

Cat

First domesticated by the Ancient Egyptians!

Cat Snake

Some cat snakes have a prehensile tail that helps them climb into trees.

Caterpillar

The larvae of a moth or butterfly!

Catfish

There are nearly 3,000 different species!

Centipede

There are about 3,000 documented species!

Chameleon

There are more than 160 different species!

Cheetah

The fastest land mammal in the world!

Chicken

First domesticated more than 10,000 years ago!

Chimpanzee

Has 32 teeth including fang-like canines!

Cicada

Cicadas have one of the longest insect lifespans

Cichlid

There are more than 2 000 known species!

Cockroach

Dated to be around 300 million years old!

Codling Moth

Pupae are able to undergo diapause to survive poor fruit yield years and winter.

Common Buzzard

The most common raptor in the UK!

Common Furniture Beetle

The common furniture beetle feeds exclusively on wood

Common House Spider

House spiders have the ability to eat most insects in a home.

Common Raven

A group of ravens is called an unkindness or a conspiracy.

Coton de Tulear

The soft coat of the Coton de Tulear is the result of a singular genetic mutation early in the breed's development.

Cow

There are nearly 1.5 million worldwide!

Crab

There are 93 different crab groups

Crab Spider

Crab Spiders can mimic ants or bird droppings

Crane

Many are critically endangered species!

Cricket

Male crickets can produce sounds by rubbing their wings together

Crocodile

Have changed little in 200 million years!

Cross River Gorilla

Less than 300 remaining!

Crow

A group of these birds is called a Murder.

Deathwatch Beetle

The adult deathwatch beetle taps on the wood to find a mate.

Desert Locust

Solitary locusts are grey while gregarious locusts are yellow with stripes.

Desert Rain Frog

The desert rain frog doesn't hop

Devils Coach Horse Beetle

The Devil’s coach horse beetle can emit a noxious substance to deter predators

Dik-Dik

A dik-dik is named after a sound it makes when it is frightened

Dog

First domesticated in South-East Asia!

Dog Tick

Dog ticks feed on dogs and other mammals

Donkey

First domesticated 5,000 years ago!

Dormouse

Found in Europe, Africa and Asia!

Dragonfly

It's larvae are carnivorous!

Duck

Rows of tiny plates line their teeth!

Dumeril’s Boa

Some tribes believe that the snake's skin holds the souls of their ancestors.

Dung Beetle

The dung beetle can push objects many times its own weight

Dwarf Crocodile

Digs burrows in river banks to rest!

Eagle

Has exceptional eyesight!

Earthworm

They are hermaphrodites, which means they have male and female organs

Earwig

There are nearly 2,000 different species!

Eastern Gorilla

The largest primate in the world!

Eastern Green Mamba

It is completely arboreal, and its green color is one of the adaptations that make life in the trees possible.

Eastern Lowland Gorilla

Less than 5,000 in the wild!

Eel

Eels can be a mere few inches long to 13 feet!

Egyptian Cobra

The Egyptian cobra is one of the largest cobras in Africa.

Egyptian Goose

A duck species that resembles a goose when flying

Egyptian Mau

An ancient breed of domestic cat!

Eland

Both females and males have horns.

Electric Catfish

The electric catfish can discharge an electric shock up to 450 volts

Elephant

Spends around 22 hours a day eating!

Elephant Shrew

Found exclusively on the African continent!

Eurasian Jay

The Eurasian jay has the ability to mimic other sounds

European Bee-Eater

They can eat up to 250 bees per day!

European Polecat

Its fur changes color in the winter!

European Robin

Male robins are so aggressive and territorial that they will attack their own reflections.

Falcon

The fastest creatures on the planet!

Fallow deer

The fallow deer has more variation in its coat colors than most other deer.

False Cobra

When it feels threatened, it mimics a cobra in an attempt to dissuade a potential attacker.

False Widow Spider

False spiders actually prey on black widow spiders and other hazardous spiders

Fennec Fox

Found in the African Sahara Desert!

Fiddler Crab

The fiddler crab gets its name from the motion the males make with their over-sized claw during the mating ritual.

Firefly

The firefly produces some of the most efficient light in the world

Flamingo

Sleeps on just one leg!

Flea

Adult fleas can jump up to 7 inches in the air

Fly

There are more than 240,000 different species!

Forest Cobra

There are three different color morphs, which entirely depend on the region that they live in.

Fossa

Most closely related to the Mongoose!

Fox

There are 12 different species in the world!

Freshwater Eel

Freshwater eels are actually catadromous, meaning they migrate to saltwater to spawn

Freshwater Jellyfish

The freshwater jellyfish is native to China but is now found all over the world

Frog

There are around 7,000 different species!

Fruit Bat

Among the largest bats in the world

Fruit Fly

Fruit flies are among the most common research animals in the world

Gaboon Viper

Gaboon vipers are the largest vipers in Africa.

Galapagos Shark

Galapagos sharks are cannibalistic and sometimes eat their young, so the pups stay away from the adults in shallow water.

Gazelle

Named for the Arabic word for love poems

Gecko

There are thought to be over 2,000 species!

Genet

The Genet has retractable claws like a cat

Gerbil

Originally known as the Desert Rat!

German Cockroach

The most common type of urban roach

Giant African Land Snail

The biggest snail species on land!

Giraffe

Long, black tongue can grow to 18 inches long!

Glass Lizard

Can grow up to 4ft long!

Glow Worm

Found inhabiting dense woodland and caves!

Gnat

Males form large mating swarms at dusk

Goat

Most closely related to the Sheep!

Golden Oriole

Migrates between Europe and Asia!

Goliath Frog

Does not have a vocal sac.

Goliath Tigerfish

Featured in River Monsters TV series

Gorilla

The biggest of the world's primates!

Goshawk

The goshawk is a popular choice among European falconers

Grasshopper

There are 11,000 known species!

Great Egret

The male egret performs an elaborate courtship display to attract a mate

Green Bee-Eater

Mainly eats honeybees!

Green Mamba

Green mambas are fast, and can travel up to 7 miles per hour.

Grey Heron

Male grey herons are picky about their mates. They'll reject a female that they don't fancy.

Grey Mouse Lemur

The largest species of mouse lemur!

Griffon Vulture

Can spot a dead animal from thousands of feet away

Grouper

Many grouper can change their sex, and it is always from female to male.

Guinea Fowl

Found in a vairety of African habitats!

Hamster

Able to run as quickly backwards as forwards!

Hare

Can reach speeds of over 40 mph!

Hawk Moth Caterpillar

Many hawk moth caterpillars eat toxins from plants, but don’t sequester them the way milkweed butterflies do. Most toxins are excreted.

Hedgehog

Thought to be one of the oldest mammals on Earth!

Heron

Inhabits wetlands around the world!

Hippopotamus

Has pink anti-bacterial sweat!

Hognose snake

Prima Donnas of the Snake World

Honey Badger

One of earth's bravest creatures!

Honey Bee

There are only 8 recognized species!

Hoopoe

Stunning bird with a stinky way to deter predators!

Hornbill

The bird has a massive horn on its bill!

Horned Adder

Males tend to be more brightly colored than females, and females are significantly bigger than males.

Horse

Has evolved over 50 million years!

Horsefly

Horseflies have been seen performing Immelmann turns, much like fighter jets.

House Sparrow

The house sparrow has been introduced all over the world

Housefly

The fly has no teeth

Human

Thought to have orignated 200,000 years ago!

Huntsman Spider

Some huntsman spiders have an interesting way of moving around. Some cartwheel while others do handsprings or backflips.

Hyena

There are four different species!

Ibex

Can jump over 6 feet straight up from a standstill

Ibis

Found in swamps, marshes and wetlands!

Impala

Able to jump over 10 feet high

Indri

The largest species of Lemur!

Insect

Insects go back over 350 million years, making the creatures older than man, flowering plants and dinosaurs.

Insects

There are an estimated 30 million species!

Jacana

The jacana has the ability to swim underwater

Jackal

Can maintain speeds of 16 km/h!

Jackson’s Chameleon

Have jousting battles with their horns.

Jerboa

Tiny rodent with a kangaroo-like jump!

Jumping Spider

Some can jump 50 times the length of their bodies

Kenyan Sand Boa

A popular pet snake that comes in dozens of morphs!

Kestrel

Can hang suspended on wind currents

Kingfisher

Inhabits wetlands and woodlands worldwide!

Klipspringer

Klipspringers can jump as high as 10-12ft!

Kori Bustard

It's easily identified by its crest, large size, and wingspan

Kudu

Lives in herds of up to 24 individuals!

Ladybug

There are more than 5,000 species worldwide!

Lappet-faced Vulture

Lappet-faced vultures are tidy and wash their heads in a body of water after they’ve eaten

Lawnmower Blenny

Must be in temperatures of 78 degrees Fahrenheit to breed

Leaf-Tailed Gecko

Only found on Madagascar!

Leatherback Sea Turtle

They are the largest living turtle and the only sea turtle without a hard shell!

Leech

Has 10 pairs of eyes!

Lemur

Natively found on the island of Madagascar!

Leopard

Spends much of the time high in the trees!

Leopard Tortoise

The most widely distributed tortoise in Africa!

Liger

The offspring of a lion and tiger parents!

Lion

Lives in small groups called prides!

Lizard

There are around 5,000 different species!

Locust

Each locust can eat its weight in plants each day.

Lungfish

The lungfish first evolved almost 400 million years ago.

Macaque

Macaque females will pass on their social rankings to their daughters

Madagascar Hissing Cockroach

One of the largest types of cockroach

Maggot

Will only live in wet areas

Magpie

They are found across Europe, Asia and Africa!

Mallard

With an appropriate tail wind, the mallard can travel hundreds of miles a day

Mandrill

Distinctively coloured noses and rumps!

Mantella Frog

Some of the smallest and most brightly colored frogs in the world

Marabou Stork

The marabou stork does not have a voice box.

Mayfly

There are 2,500 known species worldwide!

Mealybug

They have a symbiotic relationship with ants.

Meerkat

One will stand on guard to watch for predators!

Millipede

Some species have a poisonous bite!

Mole

Primarily hunts and feeds on Earthworms!

Mole Cricket

Adult Mole crickets may fly as far as 5 miles during mating season and are active most of the year.

Mole Snake

“The mole snake can reach a length of 6.8 feet”

Monarch Butterfly

During migration, Monarch Butterflies may travel 250 or more miles each day.

Mongoose

Range in size from just 1 to 3 foot!

Mongrel

Has characteristics of two or more breeds!

Monitor Lizard

Some species are thought to carry a weak venom!

Monkey

There are around 260 known species!

Moorhen

Feeds on aquatic insects and water-spiders!

Mosquito

Only the female mosquito actually sucks blood

Moth

There are 250,000 different species!

Mountain Gorilla

Isolated populations found in the mountains!

Mouse

Found on every continent on Earth!

Mozambique Spitting Cobra

Mozambique Spitting Cobra is one of Africa's most dangerous snakes.

Mule

The offspring of a horse and donkey parents!

Myna Bird

For a nice price, the mynah bird makes a good pet.

Naked Mole Rat

Naked mole rats don’t get cancer

Needlefish

no stomach to digest food

Nigerian Goat

Produces a lot of milk for its small size

Night Adder

Night adders are small, slender snakes that, despite the name, are actually most active during the day.

Night Heron

When they feel threatened juvenile night herons vomit their stomach contents.

Nightingale

Named more than 1,000 years ago!

Nile Crocodile

When a female Nile crocodile’s hatchlings are in danger, she may hide them in a special pouch inside her throat.

No See Ums

There are more than 5,000 species.

Nyala

They have a high-pitched alarm call that sounds like a barking dog.

Okapi

Eats more than 100 different types of plant!

Olive Baboon

Olive baboons will sometimes form strong friendships with each other

Orb Weaver

Females are about four times the size of males

Ortolan Bunting

The tradition of hiding your face with a napkin or towel while eating this bird was begun by a priest who was a friend of the great French gastronome Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin.

Ostrich

The largest bird in the world!

Otter

There are 13 different species worldwide

Owl

The owl can rotate its head some 270 degrees

Pangolin

Bad eyesight, but great sense of smell

Parakeet

Monk parakeets are the only parakeets that actually build nests. They’re also the only parakeets to nest in great colonies.

Parrot

Can live for up to 100 years!

Patas Monkey

The fastest species of primate in the world!

Peacock

Most commonly found on the Indian mainland!

Peregrine Falcon

Fastest animal on Earth

Peringuey’s Adder

Peringuey's adders' eyes are nearly on the tops of their heads!

Pheasant

Females lay between 8 and 12 eggs per clutch!

Pigeon

They can find their way back to their nests from up to 1300 miles away.

Polecat

They can run at a speed of 15mph

Praying Mantis

The mantis can turn its head 180 degrees.

Pterodactyl

Pterodactyl is not technically a dinosaur. Although they lived during the same time as dinosaurs, they are classified as winged reptiles.

Puff Adder

This large snake is so-named because it will puff up its body to appear bigger than it is when directly threatened by a predator or person.

Puss Moth

Caterpillars squirt formic acid!

Pygmy Hippopotamus

Spends more time on land than in water!

Python

Female pythons lay eggs and defend them until they hatch.

Quagga

The quagga is a subspecies of plains zebra.

Quail

Inhabits woodland and forest areas worldwide!

Rabbit

There are more than 50 different species!

Radiated Tortoise

The most protected tortoise in the world!

Rat

Omnivores that eat anything!

Red-Billed Quelea Bird

Is the most populous bird in the world

Red-Eared Slider

Sliders spend lots of time basking in the sun. As cold-blooded animals, they need the sun to heat up.

Red Fox

The red fox actually has many different variations of fur, including silver and brown.

Red Kite

This bird moves its tail to steer its body like a rudder on a boat.

Red Spitting Cobra

Scientists believe that the red spitting cobra evolved from injecting venom to spitting it in response to the constant threat of early humans

Rhino Viper

The river jack snake has a gigantic horn-like scale on the tip of its nose.

Rhinoceros

It's horns are made from keratin!

Rhombic Egg-Eater Snake

When birds aren't nesting, these snakes fast

Ribbon Eel

Can fit its body into a tiny crevice of a reef

Rinkhals Snake

This snake is known for playing dead as a defense against predators.

River Turtle

Inhabits freshwater habitats around the world!

Robin

There are more than 45 species in Australia alone!

Rock Hyrax

Actually related to Elephants and Manatees!

Rodents

The capybara, the world’s largest rodent, likes to be in and around bodies of water. Because of this, the Catholic Church in South America decided that it was a fish, and people were allowed to eat it during Lent and First Fridays.

Rooster

Will mate with the entire flock!

Ruddy Turnstone

They flip over stones to find prey

Sable Ferret

Ferrets were used during the Revolutionary War to keep down the rat population.

Sand Crab

The sand crab burrows beneath the sand with its tail

Satanic leaf-tailed gecko

They are called “phants” or “satanics” in the pet trade.

Sauropoda

Newly hatched sauropods weighted less than 11 pounds and put on 2 tons of weight a year!

Savanna Goat

Savanna goats have only existed since 1957.

Scimitar-horned Oryx

Believed to be the inspiration for unicorn myths!

Scorpion

There are around 2,000 known species!

Sea Eagle

The sea eagle tends to mate for life with a single partner

Seagull

Some gulls are capable of using tools

Seahorse

Males give birth to up to 1,000 offspring!

Senegal Parrot

As a pet, the Senegal parrot is capable of "talking" to its owner

Serval

Can leap more than 1 meter into the air!

Sheep

Around 35 million in the English countryside!

Shoebill Stork

Adults greet each other by clattering their bills together.

Shrew

The spinal column of the shrew Scutisorex somereni is so strong and reinforced that it can support the weight of an adult human.

Shrimp

There are 2,000 different species worldwide!

Skink Lizard

Some skinks lay eggs in some habitats while giving birth to skinklets in other habitats.

Slug

They glide around on one foot, which is aided by the slime they produce

Smokybrown Cockroach

Has up to 45 eggs per egg case

Snail

There are nearly 1,000 different species!

Snake

There are around 3,000 known species worldwide

Snouted Cobra

The snouted cobra, also known as the banded snouted cobra, is one of the most venomous snakes in all of Africa.

Song Thrush

A male song thrush can have over 100 phrases in his repertoire of songs and can imitate pet birds, telephones and other man-made objects.

Sparrow

There are 140 different species!

Sparrowhawk

The sparrowhawk is named after the fact that it hunts down and consumes sparrows

Spider Ball Python

The spider ball python is known for having a head wobble.

Spider Wasp

They prey on spiders to feed their larvae or they parasitize other spider wasps.

Spinosaurus

The Spinosaurus is the biggest carnivorous dinosaur ever discovered!

Spitting Cobra

Spitting cobras are types of cobras that can spit venom at predators and prey.

Springbok

The springbok has a large tuft of hair that emerges from a pouch on the back

Squirrel

Small rodents found in woodlands worldwide!

Stick Insect

There are more than 3,000 different species!

Stiletto Snake

Because of their unique venom delivery system, stiletto snakes are almost impossible to hold safely in the usual way (with fingers behind the head) without being bitten.

Stork

They can’t sing like other birds.

Striped Hyena

The striped hyenas usually mark their territories with the help of the scent gland secretions from their anal pouch.

Suchomimus

It walked on two legs and leaned forward

Sulcata Tortoise

Some cultures in Africa believe the sulcata tortoise is an intermediary between the people and their ancestors and gods.

Swan

Populations have been affected by pollution!

Tarantula Hawk

Tarantula hawks are excellent pollinators, especially for milkweed.

Termite

Their mounds can be up to 9 meters tall!

Thrush

The American robin is called the robin because its red breast reminded European settlers of the robin back in the old country.

Tick

They inject hosts with a chemical that stops them from feeling the pain of the bite

Tiger Beetle

The adult tiger beetle is one of the fastest land insects in the world

Tortoise

Can live until they are more than 150 years old!

Tree Frog

Found in warmer jungles and forests!

Tsetse Fly

Tsetse flies are large biting flies that live in the tropical regions of Africa.

Turtles

Some species of aquatic turtles can get up to 70 percent of their oxygen through their butt.

Twig Snake

Twig snakes are among the few rear-fanged colubrids whose bite is highly venomous and potentially fatal.

Vervet Monkey

Rarely found more than 450m from trees!

Vine Snake

A slender body and elongated snout give the vine snake a regal look.

Vinegaroon

Vinegaroons can spray 19 times before the glands are depleted

Vulture

There are 30 different species worldwide!

Warthog

Has two sets of tusks on it's face!

Wasp

There are around 75,000 recognised species!

Water Buffalo

Has been domesticated for thousands of years!

Weaver Bird

The weaver constructs an elaborate nest for the breeding season

Western Gorilla

There are two sub-species!

Western Lowland Gorilla

One of the great apes!

Whimbrel

The fastidious whimbrel sometimes washes off its prey before it eats it.


Whinchat

The whinchat can imitate the songs of at least a dozen other tpes of birds!

White Butterfly

This butterfly determines the smell and taste of a flower with its feet.

White Ferret / Albino Ferrets

There are two different types of white ferrets!

White Rhinoceros

The second largest animal on the land!

Wildebeest

Can trek more than 1,000 miles every year!

Willow Warbler

This bird molts twice a year.

Wolf

Thought to date back more than 300,000 years!

Wolf Spider

Carnivorous arachnid that hunts its prey.

Woodlouse

This animal can roll up into a ball

Woodlouse Spider

Unlike most spiders, woodlouse spiders don’t build a web.

Woodpecker

There are 200 different species!

Worm

Doesn’t have eyes.

Xerus

Squirrel that lives in burrows in Africa.

Yellow-Bellied Sea Snake

Sea snakes spend approximately 90% of their lives under water.

Yellow Cobra

The Yellow Cobra belong to one of the most dangerous families in the world.

Zebra

Stripe patterns are unique to each individual!

Zebra Snake

The zebra snake is a black-hooded species of spitting cobra native to several of the southern countries of Africa.

Zebra Spitting Cobra

This snake can spit a distance of nine feet or further!

Zebu

There are around 75 different species!

Zonkey

The offspring of Zebra and Donkey parents!

Zorse

The offspring of a Zebra and Horse parents!

African Animals List

Africa FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What are other animals native to Africa?

Greater Kudu
Common Ostrich
African Civet
Dik-Dik
Wildebeest
Great Wild Crane
Mantled Guereza
Hartebeest
Warthog
Spotted Hyena
Okapi

What is an unusual animal one wouldn't expect to find in Africa?

There is a penguin colony in South Africa. The west coast near the Cape has cold Antarctic currents.

What are some of Africa's world records with regards to animals?

  • Four out of five of the world’s fastest land animals: The fastest is the cheetah, with speeds of 70mph. The wildebeest, lion and Thomson’s gazelle all run at about 50mph.
  • The world’s biggest frog: The Goliath frog is in Cameroon. It can grow to one foot long.
  • The world’s smallest butterfly: The Dwarf Blue Butterfly has a wingspan of only 0.5″ and is in South Africa.
  • The world’s largest and smallest chameleons: Both in Madagascar, which contains about half of all chameleon species in the world.
    The only place you can find shoals of fresh water sardines: They are in Lake Tanganyika.
  • The world’s largest and heaviest beetle: The Goliath beetle can grow to 5 inches in length and weigh up to 0.25lbs. It lives in tropical Africa.
  • The largest primate, the Gorilla: Males weigh up to 200kg.
  • The largest cat, the Lion: It is also the largest of all African carnivores and an apex predator in any African ecosystem.
  • The second largest reptile, after the saltwater crocodile: The Nile crocodile grows to 5m or 20ft in length on average.
  • The largest seal colony in the southern hemisphere: Cape Cross in Namibia.

What are some extinct animals in Africa?

Animals in Africa that went extinct recently are the Northern White Rhino (2018) and the Western Black Rhino (2006). The next most recent extinct animal was the Bubal Hartebeest (1923).