Animals in Gambia

Updated: December 2, 2022
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Below you can find a complete list of Gambian animals. We currently track 202 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.

The Flag of Gambia

Adopted in 1965 and designed by Louis Thomasi, the flag of Gambia has three horizontal stripes of red, blue, and green that are divided by two slender white lines. The flag of The Gambia is one of the few national flags in Africa that is not derived from the flag of an existing political party or movement.

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


Can move 2ft of soil in just 15 seconds!

African Civet

Secretes up to 4g of musk every week!

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 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 Jacana

The males raise the young

African Palm Civet

Solitary but gathers in groups!

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

Axanthic Ball Python

Axanthic ball pythons lack yellow pigment in their skin!

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!


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


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 Widow Spider

They typically prey on insects!

Brown-banded Cockroach

Females glue egg cases to furniture

Brown Dog Tick

Can live its entire life indoors


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.


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


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 more than 160 different species!


The fastest land mammal in the world!


First domesticated more than 10,000 years ago!


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.


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.

Desert Locust

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


First domesticated in South-East Asia!


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


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


There are nearly 2,000 different species!


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

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!

Fiddler Crab

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


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


Sleeps on just one leg!


There are more than 240,000 different species!


Only 12 species are considered "true foxes"


There are around 7,000 different species!

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


Named for the Arabic word for love poems


There are thought to be over 2,000 species!


Originally known as the Desert Rat!

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!


There are 11,000 known species!

Green Bee-Eater

Mainly eats honeybees!

Green Mamba

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

Guinea Fowl

Found in a vairety of African habitats!


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!


Tiny rodent with a kangaroo-like jump!

Jumping Spider

Some can jump 50 times the length of their bodies


Inhabits wetlands and woodlands worldwide!


There are more than 5,000 species worldwide!


Has 10 pairs of eyes!


Spends much of the time high in the trees!


The offspring of a lion and tiger parents!


There are around 5,000 different species!


Will only live in wet areas


They are found across Europe, Asia and Africa!


There are 2,500 known species worldwide!


They have a symbiotic relationship with ants.


Some species have a poisonous bite!


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!


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!

Olive Baboon

Olive baboons will sometimes form strong friendships with each other

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.


They reuse nesting sites for 70 years!


There are 13 different species worldwide


The owl can rotate its head some 270 degrees


Can live for up to 100 years!

Patas Monkey

The fastest species of primate in the world!


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


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.

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!


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.

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.

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!


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!


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 Frog

Found in warmer jungles and forests!


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!

White Ferret / Albino Ferrets

There are two different types of white ferrets!


Thought to date back more than 300,000 years!

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.


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!

Gambian 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 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.