Below you can find a complete list of Gambian animals. We currently track 123 animals in Gambia and are adding more every day!
Gambia, or The Gambia, is a long and narrow country that would be completely enclosed within the country of Senegal if not for its west coast on the Atlantic Ocean. Like many countries in West Africa, it is abundant in wildlife that includes birds, mammals, reptiles, insects, fish, and amphibians. A flat country, it has savannas in the south and woodlands in the north along with its coast, rivers, and mangrove swamps. These habitats support an abundance of unique wildlife. About 3.7 percent of Gambia is dedicated to wildlife reserves, and the goal is to increase this to 5 percent.
The Official National Animal of Gambia
The official national animal of Gambia is the spotted hyena, also called the laughing or giggling hyena. Its scientific name is Crocuta crocuta, and it is the only species in its genus.
Though the spotted hyena is not the sexiest beast on the savanna, it is one of the most fascinating and unique. Hyena clans or cackles are matriarchies. Females are bigger than males and dominate them. Its jaw muscles, canine teeth, and outsized carnassial teeth allow the hyena to have a powerful bite. Indeed, they are descended from prehistoric beasts called the bone-crushing hyenas. Their spotted coats are made of thin, coarse fur, and they have heads and ears that are large in proportion to their bodies. Since the hind legs are shorter than the front legs, the animal’s back slopes downward.
Spotted hyenas are mostly scavengers, but they are formidable when they hunt. The hyena is known for its stamina, and a cackle of hyenas will separate an individual out from a herd of wildebeests or some other ungulates and chase it until it gets tired. Then, they’ll tear the animal to pieces, often while it is still alive. Hyenas also have no problem chasing lions away from their kills. They will prey on humans, especially at night, but these incidents are uncommon.
Where To Find The Top Wild Animals in Gambia
The best places to find the Gambia’s top wild animals are its wildlife reserves and national parks. They are Abuko Nature Reserve, Bao Bolong Wetland Reserve, Tanbi Wetland Complex, Tanji Karinti River Bird Reserve, Niumi National Park, Kiang West National Park, and River Gambia National Park. These sanctuaries encompass about 38,000 hectares or 93,900 acres. Wildlife reserves aren’t the only places to see Gambia’s wildlife. They can be found on farms and in villages and towns. This is especially true of the country’s unique birdlife.
The Most Dangerous Animals In Gambia Today
- Hippopotamus — Though it may be hard for some people to realize how dangerous this animal can be, the hippo is one of the most dangerous animals in Africa. It’s responsible for about 500 deaths a year.
- West African Crocodile — This crocodile is not as aggressive as its cousin the Nile crocodile, but it has been known to attack people, sometimes fatally.
- Venomous snakes — Gambia has a good number of venomous snakes, including cobras, mambas, and puff adders. Around 20,000 people die of snakebite in Africa every year. The puff adder is especially dangerous thanks to the potency of its venom and its habit of basking quietly on a footpath until someone steps on it. There are four types of mamba and all are feared. Three of them largely live in trees, but the black mamba is terrestrial. The bite of a black mamba is always fatal if it is left untreated.
- African Buffalo — Like the hippopotamus, the African buffalo is underestimated and dangerous. It kills about 200 people every year in Africa through goring or trampling.
- Mosquitoes — No other animal kills as prodigiously as the tiny mosquito, which transmits a variety of diseases. One of the most devastating of these diseases is malaria. At least 200 million Africans come down with the disease every year, and a child under five dies of it every two minutes.
Endangered Animals In Gambia
As is true everywhere on earth, the Gambia has a proportion of animals that are endangered even as the country strives to protect them. They include:
- Mediterranean monk seal. This seal found in the ocean off the Gambian coast is endangered and even possibly extinct in its native habitat, or extirpated.
- African forest elephant. This elephant is critically endangered, and like the Mediterranean monk seal, possibly extinct in what was its original range.
- Lappet-face vulture. This vulture is considered vulnerable.
- Slender-snouted crocodile. This crocodile is classified as critically endangered due to habitat disturbance, hunting, and overfishing of its prey.
- Leopard. Though this cat is sometimes seen in the east of the country, it is classified as vulnerable and may be extinct in its native habitat.
Gambian Animals List
- African Civet
- African Palm Civet
- Barn Owl
- Black Widow Spider
- Bush Baby
- Common Buzzard
- Desert Locust
- Elephant Shrew
- Glass Lizard
- Glow Worm
- Golden Oriole
- Green Bee-Eater
- Guinea Fowl
- Honey Badger
- Honey Bee
- Monitor Lizard
- Patas Monkey
- River Turtle
- Rock Hyrax
- Skink Lizard
- Stick Insect
- Tree Frog
- Water Buffalo
- Wolf Spider
Animals in Gambia FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
What animals live in the Gambia?
An amazing number of animals live n the Gambia. They include the Gambian mongoose, civet cat, honey badger and bats, including free-tailed and horseshoe bats. There are also pangolins, antelopes, monkeys, baboons and shrews. Marine mammals include humpback whales, sperm whales, beaked and killer whales and blue whales. A list of birds would include the palm nut vulture, storks, pelicans, the sacred ibis and sunbirds and birds of prey such as the African fish eagle. There is also a wealth of toads and frogs, snakes and lizards. There are also many kinds of butterflies.
Are there lions in the Gambia?
There does not appear to be a population of lions in the Gambia, though there are wild cats and, occasionally, leopards.
Are there hippos in Gambia?
There are hippos to be found in the rivers of Gambia. There is a healthy population in the River Gambia National Park.
What kind of snakes are in the Gambia?
There are 40 species of snake in the Gambia including the ones mentioned above. Others are pythons and the nonvenomous spotted bush snake, thread snakes, spotted blind snakes, sand boas, herald snakes, sand snakes, and African beauty snakes.