Animals in Democratic Republic of Congo

Updated: March 7, 2023
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Below you can find a complete list of Congolese animals. We currently track 278 animals in the Democratic Republic of Congo and are adding more every day!

The Democratic Republic of Congo (not to be confused with the neighboring Republic of Congo) is the largest country by land area in all of sub-Saharan Africa. Situated at the center of the continent, this equatorial country is almost completely landlocked except for a sliver of coast along the Atlantic.

Geographically, the interior of the country is dominated by the central Congo basin. This flat plain is surrounded by high plateaus on almost every side, while the eastern border is separated from other countries by the massive Lake Tanganyika, Kivu, and Mweru. The Congo River, which flows directly into the Atlantic, is the most important river in the country and the second longest in all of Africa.

Another unique ecological feature of the DRC is the lush Congolian rainforest. As the second largest contiguous rainforest in the world, it contains some of the most unique wildlife found nowhere else, including gorillas and chimpanzees.

The Official National (State) Animal of the Democratic Republic of Congo

Javan Leopard

The Javan leopard is the most endangered species.


The okapi, a short-necked member of the giraffe family, is an important cultural and national symbol, while the leopard has traditionally adorned the coat of arms for the Congo.

Additionally, due to its endangered state, the Dominican Republic designated the Bayahibe rose as the nation’s official flower and assured its protection.

Rarest Animals in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Family of gorillas

Gorillas are the biggest primates on earth and are found in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

©Marian Galovic/

The Congo Basin, a mixture of rivers, forests, savannas, marshes, and flooded forests, it is bursting with life. The area is home to buffalo, elephants, and gorillas.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of the Congo, Central African Republic, Gabon, and Equatorial Guinea are the six nations that make up the Congo Basin.

Here is a short list of some of the rarest animals found in the region:

Largest Animals in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Two male lions

Lions are one of the largest wild cats found in the Democratic Republic of the Congo,

©Maryke Scheun/

Compared to the Amazon and Southeast Asia, the Congo Basin countries score less well for biodiversity, but they contain a higher range of large-bodied mammals, including forest elephants as the leading species. In the jungles of Central Africa, bushmeat hunting is common.

Here are some large animals you can find in the Congo:

Additionally, the leopard is one of the largest wild cat predator in the jungle of the Congo Basin.

The Flag of the Democratic Republic of Congo

Flag of the Democratic Republic of Congo

The second-largest nation in Africa is the Democratic Republic of the Congo.


In February 2006, the national flag of the Democratic Republic of the Congo was adopted. The flag is a sky blue flag with a yellow star in the upper left canton. The flag also has a red stripe with two thinner yellow stripes running diagonally across it.

Where to Find the Top Wild Animals in the Democratic Republic of Congo

sandhill crane

In the southeast of the Congo, a vast network of lakes, rivers, and wetlands make up Upemba National Park. It is a great place to find freshwater fish and unusual birds like the wattled crane and the shoebill.

©Brian Lasenby/

The DRC has set aside large parts of the sparsely occupied interior for the purpose of protecting its wildlife. This is where you can find some of the most unique animals in the country.

  • Virunga National Park is located along the eastern border near the city of Goma. Designated as an official UNESCO World Heritage Site, the park encompasses some 190 miles of savannas, river basins, rainforests, and mountains. Visitors can expect to find gorillas, chimpanzees, African bush elephants, aardvarks, warthogs, antelopes, and many species of unique birds.
  • Garamba National Park is another UNESCO World Heritage Site. Located in the northeastern savanna and basin zone, the park is a rich source of elephants, buffalo, antelopes, hyenas, hippos, lions, and warthogs.
  • Kahuzi-Biega National Park (yet another UNESCO World Heritage Site) is situated along the west bank of Lake Kivu. It comprises some 2,300 square miles of both mountain and lowland terrain. Visitors can expect to find some gorillas, chimpanzees, hippos, elephants, baboons, leopards, peafowls, and other unique types of monkeys and birds.
  • Upemba National Park is comprised of a major network of lakes, rivers, and wetlands in the southeastern part of the Congo. It is an excellent source of freshwater fish and unique birds like the shoebill and wattled crane.

The Most Dangerous Animals in the Democratic Republic of Congo Today

Nile Crocodile Eating

The Nile crocodile is a huge, dangerous predator that can be found in practically every major river system in Africa. It has been known to occasionally attack people who inadvertently enter its domain. Fishing vessels have occasionally been seen to be grabbed by these reptiles.

©Mari Swanepoel/

The interior of the DRC contains several dangerous animals that people should try to avoid at all costs.

  • Hippopotamus – Despite being an herbivore, the hippo can easily kill a person. It is big, aggressive, and quick, both in and out of the water. It is believed that they are responsible for hundreds of deaths every year.
  • Nile Crocodile – Lurking within almost every major river system of Africa, the Nile crocodile is a large and fearsome predator with the occasional penchant to attack humans who accidentally stumble into its territory. These reptiles are sometimes known to grab fishers in their boats.
  • Puff Adder – These dangerous snakes live around the north and eastern fringes of the Congo. Due to their camouflaged colors, wide distribution, and toxic venom, it’s estimated that the puff adder is responsible for more bites than any other snake in Africa. There is always the danger of someone accidentally stepping on them as they lie in the dirt.
  • Black Mamba – Named for its inky black mouth, the black mamba is one of the largest and deadliest snakes in all of Africa. The potent mixture of neurotoxins will directly attack the nervous system. The death rate is quite high in untreated cases.

Endangered Animals in the Democratic Republic of Congo

white rhino

The threatened white rhino subspecies are in danger of going extinct. There are no known individuals left in the Congo, leaving only two known members of this subspecies, both of whom live in Kenya.


Despite being officially protected, much of Congo’s unique wildlife is now in danger of becoming extinct from illegal poaching, habitat loss, and internal warfare.

  • Northern White Rhinoceros – This subspecies of the threatened white rhino is on the brink of becoming extinct. With only two known members of this subspecies remaining, both of which reside in Kenya, there are no known individuals remaining in the Congo.
  • Eastern Gorilla – Among the largest of all primates, the majestic eastern gorilla is native to the mountains and forests of the eastern Congo. It is estimated that less than 5,000 individuals remain in the wild.
  • Chimpanzee – These intelligent and inquisitive primates are native to northeast Congo. Because of habitat loss, poaching, and disease, the number of chimpanzees has fallen from a high of a million in the early 20th century to only about 150,000 to 250,000 now.
  • Bonobo – The bonobo is a close relative of the chimpanzee. It is estimated that no more than 50,000 individuals remain in the wild.
  • Dryas Monkey – This poorly understood primate resides in a very small section of the Congo River. Since they’re rarely spotted, it’s believed that the species is critically endangered.
  • African Elephant – Both the African bush elephant and African forest elephant have become endangered from habitat loss, poaching, and diseases. It is now at risk of becoming extinct.

Congolese Animals


Can move 2ft of soil in just 15 seconds!

African Bush Elephant

Can drink up to 50 gallons a day

African Civet

Secretes up to 4g of musk every week!

African Clawed Frog

African clawed frogs were used as pregnancy testers from the 1930s to the early 1960s.

African Elephant

Both male and female African elephants have tusks. In Asian elephants, only the males have tusks.

African Fish Eagle

African fish eagles belong to the genus of sea eagles

African Forest Elephant

Have large rounded ears to help keep them cool!

African Golden Cat

The first image of an African golden cat was captured in the wild in Gabon in 2002.

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 Tree Toad

Found in tropical moist lowland forests!

Agama Lizard

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

American Cockroach

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


First evolved 100 million years ago!


Renew their horns every year!


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


Can travel more than four miles a day!

Banana Cinnamon Ball Python

Banana cinnamon ball pythons came from combining the banana and cinnamon genes.

Banana Spider

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


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!


Detects prey using echolocation!

Bed Bugs

Bed bugs feed for 4-12 minutes.


Rock paintings of bees date back 15,000 years


There are more than 350,000 different species

Beewolf wasp

They hunt bees


The bichir species is more than 400 million years old


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 Widow Spider

They typically prey on insects!

Blind Snake

The blind snake is often mistaken for a worm.


Long and heavy spiralled horns!


Shares 97% of the same DNA as humans!

Brazilian Treehopper

“Mild-Mannered Minimonsters”

Brown-banded Cockroach

Females glue egg cases to furniture

Brown Dog Tick

Can live its entire life indoors


"They look like you owe them money."


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


There are thought to be up 17,500 species!


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

Carpenter Ant

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


May have been domesticated up to 10,000 years ago.


The larvae of a moth or butterfly!


There are nearly 3,000 different species!


There are about 3,000 documented species!


There are more than 160 different species!


The fastest land mammal in the world!


First domesticated more than 10,000 years ago!


Has 32 teeth including fang-like canines!


There are more than 2 000 known species!


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.


They can fly 35 mph and dive 150 feet below water.

Cosmic Caterpillar

Cosmic caterpillars have spots on their back that look like eyes to scare off predators.


There are nearly 1.5 billion worldwide!


There are 93 different crab groups

Crab Spider

Crab Spiders can mimic ants or bird droppings


Many are critically endangered species!


Male crickets can produce sounds by rubbing their wings together


Have changed little in 200 million years!


Crocodylomorphs include extinct ancient species as well as 26 living species today.


A group of these birds is called a Murder.

Desert Ghost Ball Python

Desert ghost ball pythons are even more beautiful when they're bred with another type like enchi ball pythons.

Desert Locust

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


First domesticated in South-East Asia!

Dog Tick

Dog ticks feed on dogs and other mammals


First domesticated 5,000 years ago!


Found in Europe, Africa and Asia!


It's larvae are carnivorous!


Rows of tiny plates line their teeth!

Dung Beetle

The dung beetle can push objects many times its own weight

Dwarf Crocodile

Digs burrows in river banks to rest!


Has exceptional eyesight!


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


There are nearly 2,000 different species!

Eastern Gorilla

The largest primate in the world!

Eastern Lowland Gorilla

Less than 5,000 in the wild!


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

Eel catfish

Eel catfish breathe air and reach up on land to catch beetles. Scientists think they may be a missing link between fish and lizards.

Egyptian Goose

A duck species that resembles a goose when flying


Both females and males have horns.

Electric Catfish

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


Spends around 22 hours a day eating!

Elephant Shrew

Found exclusively on the African continent!


The fastest creatures on the planet!

False Widow Spider

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

Fiddler Crab

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

Fire Ball Python

The fire ball python morph is known for its rich golden and reddish-brown coloration.


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


Adult fleas can jump up to 7 inches in the air


There are more than 240,000 different species!


Only 12 species are considered "true foxes"

Freeway Ball Python

Freeway ball pythons come from breeding yellow belly and asphalt ball pythons.


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

Fulvous Whistling Duck

They build a ramp from their nest, which leads to a nearby water source

Gaboon Viper

Gaboon vipers are the largest vipers in Africa.


Named for the Arabic word for love poems


There are thought to be over 2,000 species!


Originally known as the Desert Rat!

German Cockroach

The most common type of urban roach

Glass Lizard

Can grow up to 4ft long!


Found inhabiting dense woodland and caves!


Males form large mating swarms at dusk


Most closely related to the Sheep!

Golden Oriole

Migrates between Europe and Asia!

Goliath Beetle

Goliath beetles are the largest beetles in the world, and they can carry objects several times their weight. 

Goliath Tigerfish

Featured in "River Monsters" TV series!


The biggest of the world's primates!


There are 11,000 known species!

Green Bee-Eater

Mainly eats honeybees!

Guinea Fowl

Found in a vairety of African habitats!

Gypsy Moth

One of the most invasive species in the world


Able to run as quickly backwards as forwards!


Can reach speeds of over 50 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.


Thought to be one of the oldest mammals on Earth!


Inhabits wetlands around the world!


Has pink anti-bacterial sweat!

Honey Badger

One of earth's bravest creatures!

Honey Bee

There are only 8 recognized species!


Stunning bird with a stinky way to deter predators!


Has evolved over 50 million years!


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


The fly has no teeth


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.


There are four different species!


Found in swamps, marshes and wetlands!


There are an estimated 30 million species!


The jacana has the ability to swim underwater

Jack Crevalle

One of the biggest species in the Caranx genus


Can maintain speeds of 16 km/h!

Jumping Spider

Some can jump 50 times the length of their bodies

Killer Clown Ball Python

Killer clown ball pythons can cost several thousand dollars.


Inhabits wetlands and woodlands worldwide!


Klipspringers can jump as high as 10-12ft!


Lives in herds of up to 24 individuals!


There are more than 5,000 species worldwide!

Lavender Albino Ball Python

The first two lavender albino ball pythons were wild-hatched and imported from Africa.


Has 10 pairs of eyes!


Spends much of the time high in the trees!

Leopard Tortoise

The most widely distributed tortoise in Africa!

Lesser Jacana

The lesser jacana is nomadic, often moving in search of temporary wetland habitats.


The offspring of a lion and tiger parents!


Lives in small groups called prides!


There are around 5,000 different species!


Each locust can eat its weight in plants each day.


Will only live in wet areas


They are found across Europe, Asia and Africa!

Marabou Stork

The marabou stork does not have a voice box.


There are 2,500 known species worldwide!


They have a symbiotic relationship with ants.


Some species have a poisonous bite!

Mojave Ball Python

Instead of the typically banded or ‘alien head’ patterning of most ball python morphs, the Mojave morph’s patterning is characterized by lots of large, circular splotches with small, dark brown dots in their centers.


Primarily hunts and feeds on Earthworms!


Range in size from just 1 to 3 foot!


Has characteristics of two or more breeds!

Monitor Lizard

Some species are thought to carry a weak venom!


There are around 260 known species!


Feeds on aquatic insects and water-spiders!


Only the female mosquito actually sucks blood


There are 250,000 different species!

Mountain Gorilla

Isolated populations found in the mountains!


Found on every continent on Earth!


The offspring of a horse and donkey parents!


Nematodes range in size from 1/10 of an inch to 28 feet long


Named more than 1,000 years ago!

Nile Crocodile

Unlike other reptiles, the male Nile crocodile will stay with a female to guard their nest of eggs.

Nile Monitor

The Nile monitor is the world's fourth-largest lizard!

Nile Perch

Nile perch will sometimes eat those within its own species

No See Ums

There are more than 5,000 species.


Eats more than 100 different types of plants!

Olive Baboon

Olive baboons will sometimes form strong friendships with each other

Orange Baboon Tarantula

Their nickname is "Orange Bitey Thing"!

Orange Dream Ball Python

The "Orange Dream" name came from the idea that the morph would make its first breeder a million dollars.

Orb Weaver

Females are about four times the size of males


Males oribis spend most of their time patrolling the borders of their territories; they can do this about 16 times an hour! However, 27% of their day is spent grazing.

Ornate Bichir

The ornate bichir can survive outside water for short periods of time


They reuse nesting sites for 70 years!


There are 13 different species worldwide


The owl can rotate its head some 270 degrees

Panda Pied Ball Python

The panda pied ball python morph is a combination of the piebald and black pastel traits.


Bad eyesight, but great sense of smell


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


Can live for up to 100 years!


Most commonly found on the Indian mainland!

Peregrine Falcon

Fastest animal on Earth


Females lay between 8 and 12 eggs per clutch!


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

Pompano Fish

They are bottom-feeders

Praying Mantis

The mantis can turn its head 180 degrees.

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.


Inhabits woodland and forest areas worldwide!


There are more than 300 different species!


Omnivores that eat anything!

Red-Billed Quelea Bird

Is the most populous bird in the world


They build their nests off the ground in tree holes, cavities, stone walls, and roofs

Rhino Viper

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


It's horns are made from keratin!

River Turtle

Inhabits freshwater habitats around the world!


There are more than 45 species in Australia alone!

Rock Hyrax

Actually related to Elephants and Manatees!

Rock Python

Rock pythons may have crossbred with the escaped Burmese pythons in Florida.


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.


Will mate with the entire flock!

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

Saturniidae Moth

Some of the largest moths in the world

Savannah Monitor

Savannah monitors are one of the most popular lizards in captivity.

Scaleless Ball Python

Aside from the ocular scales covering each of its eyes, the scaleless ball python's body is completely smooth.


There are around 2,000 known species!

Sea Eagle

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


Males give birth to up to 1,000 offspring!


Can leap more than 1 meter into the air!


Around 35 million in the English countryside!

Shoebill Stork

Adults greet each other by clattering their bills together.


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


There are 2,000 different species worldwide!

Skink Lizard

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


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

Smokybrown Cockroach

Has up to 45 eggs per egg case


There are nearly 1,000 different species!


There are around 4,000 known species worldwide


There are 140 different species!

Spider Wasp

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

Spiny bush viper

These shaggy snakes are only 2 feet long and mostly arboreal.

Spitting Cobra

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


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.


They can’t sing like other birds.


Populations have been affected by pollution!

Tarantula Hawk

Tarantula hawks are excellent pollinators, especially for milkweed.


Their mounds can be up to 9 meters tall!

Thornback Ray

The skate with the biggest spines!


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


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


Can live until they are more than 150 years old!

Tree Cricket

They make music with their wings

Tree Frog

Found in warmer jungles and forests!

Tsetse Fly

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


Their name means “banana-eater,” but they rarely ever eat bananas.


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


Vinegaroons can spray 19 times before the glands are depleted


Vipers are one of the most widespread groups of snakes and inhabit most


There are 30 different species worldwide!


Has two sets of tusks on it's face!


There are around 75,000 recognised species!

Water Buffalo

Has been domesticated for thousands of years!

Western Lowland Gorilla

One of the great apes!

White Ferret / Albino Ferrets

There are two different types of white ferrets!

White Rhinoceros

The second largest animal on the land!

Wolf Spider

Carnivorous arachnid that hunts its prey.


This animal can roll up into a ball


There are 200 different species!


Doesn’t have eyes.


They feign death by making their bodies limp and closing their eyes.

Yellow Belly Ball Python

The yellow belly gene is co-dominant and doesn't completely override other genes.


Stripe patterns are unique to each individual!


There are around 75 different species!


The offspring of Zebra and Donkey parents!


The offspring of a Zebra and Horse parents!

Congolese Animals List

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About the Author

Rebecca is an experienced Professional Freelancer with nearly a decade of expertise in writing SEO Content, Digital Illustrations, and Graphic Design. When not engrossed in her creative endeavors, Rebecca dedicates her time to cycling and filming her nature adventures. When not focused on her passion for creating and crafting optimized materials, she harbors a deep fascination and love for cats, jumping spiders, and pet rats.

Animals in Democratic Republic of Congo FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What animals live in the Democratic Republic of Congo?

The Congo is an incredibly rich source of rodents, bats, shrews, carnivores, and ungulates (hoofed mammals), and it has a higher concentration of primates than almost any other place in the world. The country is also an excellent source of flycatchers, warblers, waxbills, bulbuls, swallows, water/wading birds, and birds of prey. Plenty of reptiles, amphibians, and insects lurk in the lush interior rainforests.

Are there tigers in the DRC?

No, tigers are only endemic to Asia. Africa has no native species of tigers. But the Congo does have several species of big cats, including the lion and the leopard.