Animals in Democratic Republic of Congo

Updated: December 3, 2022
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Below you can find a complete list of Congolese animals. We currently track 260 animals in 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 the gorillas and chimpanzees.

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

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.

The Flag of the Democratic Republic of 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

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

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 east 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

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

Aardvark

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

A particularly ferocious amphibian!

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

Ant

First evolved 100 million years ago!

Antelope

Renew their horns every year!

Armyworm

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

Baboon

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.

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!

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 Widow Spider

They typically prey on insects!

Blind Snake

The blind snake is often mistaken for a worm.

Bongo

Long and heavy spiralled horns!

Bonobo

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

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

Carpenter Ant

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

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!

Chimpanzee

Has 32 teeth including fang-like canines!

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.

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!

Crow

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.

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!

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 Lowland Gorilla

Less than 5,000 in the wild!

Eel

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

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!

Falcon

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.

Firefly

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

Flea

Adult fleas can jump up to 7 inches in the air

Fly

There are more than 240,000 different species!

Fox

There are 12 different species in the world!

Freeway Ball Python

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

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

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.

Gazelle

Named for the Arabic word for love poems

Gecko

There are thought to be over 2,000 species!

Gerbil

Originally known as the Desert Rat!

German Cockroach

The most common type of urban roach

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 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

Gorilla

The biggest of the world's primates!

Grasshopper

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

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!

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.

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!

Ibis

Found in swamps, marshes and wetlands!

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!

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.

Kingfisher

Inhabits wetlands and woodlands worldwide!

Klipspringer

Klipspringers can jump as high as 10-12ft!

Kudu

Lives in herds of up to 24 individuals!

Ladybug

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.

Leech

Has 10 pairs of eyes!

Leopard

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.

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.

Maggot

Will only live in wet areas

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!

Mealybug

They have a symbiotic relationship with ants.

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!

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!

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.

Okapi

Eats more than 100 different types of plant!

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

Oribi

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.

Osprey

They reuse nesting sites for 70 years!

Otter

There are 13 different species worldwide

Owl

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.

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!

Peacock

Most commonly found on the Indian mainland!

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.

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.

Quail

Inhabits woodland and forest areas worldwide!

Rabbit

There are more than 50 different species!

Rat

Omnivores that eat anything!

Red-Billed Quelea Bird

Is the most populous bird in the world

Redstart

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.

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!

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!

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

Scorpion

There are around 2,000 known species!

Sea Eagle

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

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!

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

Sparrow

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.

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.

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.

Turaco

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

Turtles

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

Vinegaroon

Vinegaroons can spray 19 times before the glands are depleted

Viper

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

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!

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.

Woodlouse

This animal can roll up into a ball

Woodpecker

There are 200 different species!

Worm

Doesn’t have eyes.

Wryneck

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.

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!

Congolese Animals List

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About the Author

AZ Animals is a growing team of animals experts, researchers, farmers, conservationists, writers, editors, and -- of course -- pet owners who have come together to help you better understand the animal kingdom and how we interact.

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.