Below you can find a complete list of Malawian animals. We currently track 137 animals in Malawi and are adding more every day!
Malawi, a landlocked country in Africa, is blessed with an abundance of wildlife. Much of the country is actually made up of Lake Malawi, which is home to some of the country’s 500 fish species. Many of these species are found nowhere else on the continent. Another important geographical feature of the country, which shares borders with Zambia, Mozambique, and Tanzania, is the Great Rift Valley. Besides its hundreds of fish species, Malawi has 187 types of mammals and 648 types of birds. Other animals include reptiles and insects, including hundreds of species of butterflies and moths.
The Official National Animal of Malawi
The official national animal of Malawi is the beautiful Thompson’s gazelle, or “Tommie.” This is a common gazelle, which is a type of antelope. It is found not only in Malawi but Kenya and Tanzania and other countries with grassland and savannas. This small gazelle stands about 24 to 28 inches high at the shoulder, which is about the same height as a bloodhound. The male gazelle is a bit larger than the female and weighs between 44 and 77 pounds, while the female weighs between 33 and 55 pounds. The male also has bigger, longer, and more robust horns than the female. The horns are beautifully ringed and curved on both sexes.
These animals can be told from other gazelles by their distinctive coat. The colors of the coat range from light tan to reddish-brown and a band of black runs diagonally up from the upper part of the front leg to the upper part of the hind leg, and there are black markings on the rump. The belly and the throat are white. There are two subspecies of Thompson’s gazelle. One is the Eastern and the other is the Serengeti, with the Eastern Thompson’s gazelle being larger.
The Thompson’s gazelle is also known for its great speed. It can reach speeds of between 50 and 60 miles per hour. While escaping predators, it often runs in a zigzag which is hard for the predator to follow. They also practice an action called pronking, where they bounce into the air with all four legs held stiffly. This behavior is supposed to let the predator know that the gazelle will be hard to catch. Still, the gazelle is prey for a variety of animals including cheetahs, hyenas, lions, leopards, crocodiles, baboons, wild dogs, pythons, and even birds of prey.
Where To Find The Top Wild Animals in Malawi
The top animals in Malawi can be found in its national parks and its reserves. The four reserves are the Vwaza Marsh Wildlife Reserve, the Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve, the Majete Wildlife Reserve, and the Mwabvi Wildlife Reserve. The Majete Reserve is notable because it contains what is called the Big Five. These mammals are elephants, buffaloes, leopards, lions, rhinoceros.
The Most Dangerous Animals In Malawi Today
Malawi, it must be said, has a wealth of dangerous animals. Among them are:
- Lions — about 250 people a year are killed by lions in Africa
- Hippopotamus — though they are semi-aquatic herbivores, hippos are notoriously dangerous animals. They are believed to kill 500 people every year in Africa.
- Buffalo — like hippos, African buffalos are herbivores, and like hippos, they are short-tempered. They’re believed to gore or trample about 200 people to death every year on the continent.
- Nile Crocodiles — unlike other animals, which attack people to defend themselves or to defend their territory or simply out of annoyance, Nile Crocodiles are believed to have human beings on the menu and hunt them. They kill between 175 and 469 people every year.
- Mosquitoes — Mosquitoes are vectors for several serious and even deadly diseases, including malaria. There are at last 200 million cases of malaria in Africa alone, which is 92 percent of the worldwide total.
Endangered Animals In Malawi
Unfortunately, there are a number of endangered animals in Malawi. Indeed, wildlife is fairly scarce outside of the country’s parks and reserves. Endangered species include:
- Black rhinoceros — black rhinos are considered critically endangered
- Lions — Lions are considered vulnerable
- Leopards — these big cats are also considered vulnerable
- African Bush elephant — this species of elephant is considered endangered
- Ground pangolin — this species is considered vulnerable
Animals are endangered due to poaching, over-hunting, and destruction of their habitat. Humans also kill wildlife that interferes with livestock or agriculture, such as lions and elephants.
Malawian Animals List
- African Bullfrog
- African Bush Elephant
- African Civet
- African Clawed Frog
- African Palm Civet
- African Wild Dog
- Barn Owl
- Black Rhinoceros
- Black Widow Spider
- Common Buzzard
- Elephant Shrew
- Fruit Bat
- Glass Lizard
- Glow Worm
- Golden Oriole
- Green Bee-Eater
- Guinea Fowl
- Honey Badger
- Honey Bee
- Leopard Tortoise
- Monitor Lizard
- Peregrine Falcon
- River Turtle
- Stick Insect
- Tree Frog
- Vervet Monkey
- Water Buffalo
- White Rhinoceros
- Wolf Spider
Animals in Malawi FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
What kind of animals live in Malawi?
A great many types of animals, from birds, mammals, fish, and insects live in Malawi. They are mostly found in wildlife reserves and national parks.
Are there lions in Malawi?
There are lions in Malawi, but they are considered vulnerable.
What is the national bird of Malawi?
The national bird of Malawi is the African fish eagle. This beautiful bird of prey resembles a bald eagle but the white of its head extends to its breast. As its name suggests, it is most often found near bodies of water. It not only eats fish but has been known to eat waterfowl and carrion. Between 25 and 30 inches in length, the bird is smaller than the bald eagle. The African fish eagle mates for life, and females are larger than males. The “vocifer” part of its scientific name, Haliaeetus vocifer, comes from its distinctive, screaming call.