Animals in Botswana

Animals in Botswana rank among the most fascinating.

A landlocked nation in southern Africa, Botswana’s topography is a mix of woodlands, grasslands, and the Kalahari Desert. Seven game resorts and three national parks make up about 17 percent of the landmass.

Botswana Wildlife

A desert covers most of the country, but it doesn’t impede the Botswana wildlife. Hundreds of plants and animals thrive in the sweltering nation. In fact, it’s widely considered the best country for African safaris, and participants are likely to see the “Big Five” — lion, leopard, elephant, black rhino, and buffalo.

Botswana Animals

Botswana is home to several iconic African animals, including lions, leopards, elephants, cheetahs, zebras, African buffalo, and giraffes. Antelopes are also plentiful, with 22 species represented, including the gnu, springbok, and duiker.

Animals native to Botswana include the Cape Vulture, African skimmer, familiar chat, and the bee-eater.

According to the latest count, about 170 known mammal species live in Botswana. Common species include aardwolves, caracals, cape foxes, banded mongooses, impalas, bat-eared foxes, Cape bushbucks, African civets, elands, gemsboks, kudus, Kirk’s dik-dik, klipspringer, spotted hyenas, warthogs, and meerkats.

Endangered Botswana Animals

Of the 170 mammals in Botswana, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature lists about 20 on its Red List. Over 590 birds have been observed in the country. And even though Botswana is a landlocked nation, it does have lakes and rivers, which hold about 85 species of freshwater fish.

Table of IUCN Threatened Mammalian Animals in Botswana

Animal Scientific Name IUCN Classification
Cape wild dog Lycaon pictus pictus Endangered
African golden cat Caracal aurata Vulnerable
African bush elephant Loxodonta africana Vulnerable
Black-footed cat Felis nigripes Vulnerable
African buffalo Syncerus caffer Near Threatened
Bongo Tragelaphus eurycerus Near Threatened
Brown hyena Hyaena brunnea Near Threatened
Royal sable antelope Hippotragus niger variani Critically Endangered
Angolan giraffe Giraffa camelopardalis angolensis Vulnerable
Ground pangolin Smutsia temminckii Vulnerable
Hippopotamus Hippopotamus amphibius Vulnerable
Lechwe Kobus leche Near Threatened
Mountain zebra Equus zebra Vulnerable
South-central black rhinoceros Diceros bicornis minor Critically Endangered
Topi Damaliscus lunatus jimela Vulnerable
Yellow-backed duiker Cephalophus silvicultor Near Threatened
Commerson’s roundleaf bat Macronycteris commersoni Near Threatened
Cheetah Acinonyx jubatus Vulnerable
Lion Panthera leo Vulnerable
Leopard Panthera pardus Vulnerable
Spotted-necked otter Hydrictis maculicollis Near Threatened
Hook-lipped rhinoceros Diceros bicornis Critically Endangered
Southern white rhinoceros Ceratotherium simum simum Near Threatened

Most Dangerous Animals in Botswana

Botswana is home to dangerous wild animals. The six chart-toppers include:

Additionally, several species of venomous snakes inhabit that nation of which campers and hikers should be especially careful.

National Animal of Botswana

The national animal of Botswana is Burchell’s zebra. With its naturally artistic stripes, which include “shadow stripes” of a lighter color, the Burchell is arguably the most beautiful zebra subspecies. It’s also the only zebra that humans can legally raise for consumption.

The eastern cattle egret, a gorgeous avian with white and orange feathers and a rainbow-colored beak, is the country’s national bird.

Explore our list of Botswana animals below. Discover which species make the region home and the animals native to Botswana. We currently track 151 animals in Botswana and are adding more every day!

Botswanan Animals

Aardvark

Can move 2ft of soil in just 15 seconds!

African Bullfrog

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

African Clawed Frog

A particularly ferocious amphibian!

African Wild Dog

Also known as the painted dog!

Ant

First evolved 100 million years ago!

Antelope

Renew their horns every year!

Barb

There are over 2,000 known species!

Barn Owl

Found everywhere around the world!

Bat

Detects prey using echolocation!

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!

Black Rhinoceros

Horns can grow to 1.5m!

Black Widow Spider

They typically prey on insects!

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.

Butterfly

There are thought to be up 20,000 species!

Caracal

Has 20 different muscles in it's ears!

Cat

First domesticated by the Ancient Egyptians!

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!

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!

Common Buzzard

The most common raptor in the UK!

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!

Crocodile

Have changed little in 200 million years!

Dog

First domesticated in South-East Asia!

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!

Earwig

There are nearly 2,000 different species!

Eel

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

Elephant

Spends around 22 hours a day eating!

Elephant Shrew

Found exclusively on the African continent!

Falcon

The fastest creatures on the planet!

Flamingo

Sleeps on just one leg!

Fly

There are more than 240,000 different species!

Fox

There are 12 different species in the world!

Frog

There are around 7,000 different species!

Fruit Bat

Among the largest bats in the world

Gecko

There are thought to be over 2,000 species!

Gerbil

Originally known as the Desert Rat!

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!

Goat

Most closely related to the Sheep!

Golden Oriole

Migrates between Europe and Asia!

Grasshopper

There are 11,000 known species!

Green Bee-Eater

Mainly eats honeybees!

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!

Hedgehog

Thought to be one of the oldest mammals on Earth!

Heron

Inhabits wetlands around the world!

Hippopotamus

Has pink anti-bacterial sweat!

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!

Horse

Has evolved over 50 million years!

Horsefly

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

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!

Ibis

Found in swamps, marshes and wetlands!

Impala

Able to jump over 10 feet high

Insects

There are an estimated 30 million species!

Jackal

Can maintain speeds of 16 km/h!

Kingfisher

Inhabits wetlands and woodlands worldwide!

Kudu

Lives in herds of up to 24 individuals!

Ladybug

There are more than 5,000 species worldwide!

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.

Magpie

They are found across Europe, Asia and Africa!

Marabou Stork

The marabou stork does not have a voice box.

Mayfly

There are 2,500 known species worldwide!

Meerkat

One will stand on guard to watch for predators!

Millipede

Some species have a poisonous bite!

Mole

Primarily hunts and feeds on Earthworms!

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!

Moth

There are 250,000 different species!

Mouse

Found on every continent on Earth!

Mule

The offspring of a horse and donkey parents!

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.

Ostrich

The largest bird in the world!

Otter

There are 13 different species worldwide

Pangolin

Bad eyesight, but great sense of smell

Parrot

Can live for up to 100 years!

Peregrine Falcon

Fastest animal on Earth

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.

Quail

Inhabits woodland and forest areas worldwide!

Rabbit

There are more than 50 different species!

Rat

Omnivores that eat anything!

Rhinoceros

It's horns are made from keratin!

River Turtle

Inhabits freshwater habitats around the world!

Robin

There are more than 45 species in Australia alone!

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.

Scorpion

There are around 2,000 known species!

Seahorse

Males give birth to up to 1,000 offspring!

Serval

Can leap more than 1 meter into the air!

Sheep

Around 35 million in the English countryside!

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.

Snail

There are nearly 1,000 different species!

Snake

There are around 3,000 known species worldwide

Sparrow

There are 140 different species!

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!

Swan

Populations have been affected by pollution!

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.

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.

Vervet Monkey

Rarely found more than 450m from trees!

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!

White Rhinoceros

The second largest animal on the land!

Wildebeest

Can trek more than 1,000 miles every year!

Wolf Spider

Carnivorous arachnid that hunts its prey.

Woodlouse

Actually a crustacean, not an insect!

Woodpecker

There are 200 different species!

Xerus

Squirrel that lives in burrows in Africa.

Zebra

Stripe patterns are unique to each individual!

Zebu

There are around 75 different species!

Zonkey

The offspring of Zebra and Donkey parents!

Zorse

The offspring of a Zebra and Horse parents!

Botswanan Animals List