Below you can find a complete list of Malawian animals. We currently track 223 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.
Malawi’s national parks include Nyika National Park, Lake Malawi National Park, Kasungu National Park, and Liwonde National Park.
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:
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.
Can move 2ft of soil in just 15 seconds!
The aardwolf has five toes on its front paws
The African bullfrog is one of only three species of frog that have “teeth.”
Can drink up to 50 gallons a day
Secretes up to 4g of musk every week!
Solitary but gathers in groups!
Also known as the painted dog!
The agama forms small social groups that contain both dominant and subordinate males.
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
People spin clothing and fishing nets out of these spiders’ silk.
There are over 1768 known species!
Found everywhere around the world!
Older offspring help care for new hatchlings.
Detects prey using echolocation!
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!
The biscuit beetle form a symbiotic relationship with yeast
They typically prey on insects!
The blind snake is often mistaken for a worm.
Females glue egg cases to furniture
Can live its entire life indoors
Has no real natural predators!
The most common species of bee!
In a series of leaps, this creature can cover almost 30 feet of distance in just a few seconds.
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
Has 20 different muscles in it's ears!
Carpenter ants can lift up to seven times their own weight with their teeth!
First domesticated by the Ancient Egyptians!
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!
Cicadas have one of the longest insect lifespans
There are more than 2 000 known species!
Dated to be around 300 million years old!
Pupae are able to undergo diapause to survive poor fruit yield years and winter.
The most common raptor in the UK!
The common furniture beetle feeds exclusively on wood
House spiders have the ability to eat most insects in a home.
There are nearly 1.5 million worldwide!
There are 93 different crab groups
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!
A group of these birds is called a Murder.
A dik-dik is named after a sound it makes when it is frightened
First domesticated in South-East Asia!
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!
The dung beetle can push objects many times its own weight
Has exceptional eyesight!
They are hermaphrodites, which means they have male and female organs
There are nearly 2,000 different species!
It is completely arboreal, and its green color is one of the adaptations that make life in the trees possible.
Eels can be a mere few inches long to 13 feet!
A duck species that resembles a goose when flying
Both females and males have horns.
The electric catfish can discharge an electric shock up to 450 volts
Spends around 22 hours a day eating!
Found exclusively on the African continent!
The fastest creatures on the planet!
False spiders actually prey on black widow spiders and other hazardous spiders
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!
There are 12 different species in the world!
There are around 7,000 different species!
Among the largest bats in the world
Fruit flies are among the most common research animals in the world
Named for the Arabic word for love poems
There are thought to be over 2,000 species!
Originally known as the Desert Rat!
The most common type of urban roach
Found inhabiting dense woodland and caves!
Males form large mating swarms at dusk
Most closely related to the Sheep!
Migrates between Europe and Asia!
There are 11,000 known species!
Green mambas are fast, and can travel up to 7 miles per hour.
Found in a vairety of African habitats!
Able to run as quickly backwards as forwards!
Can reach speeds of over 40 mph!
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!
One of earth's bravest creatures!
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.
Thought to have orignated 200,000 years ago!
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!
Able to jump over 10 feet high
There are an estimated 30 million species!
The jacana has the ability to swim underwater
Can maintain speeds of 16 km/h!
Some can jump 50 times the length of their bodies
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!
Lappet-faced vultures are tidy and wash their heads in a body of water after they’ve eaten
Spends much of the time high in the trees!
The most widely distributed tortoise in Africa!
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!
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!
Primarily hunts and feeds on Earthworms!
Range in size from just 1 to 3 foot!
Has characteristics of two or more breeds!
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!
Mozambique Spitting Cobra is one of Africa's most dangerous snakes.
The offspring of a horse and donkey parents!
Named more than 1,000 years ago!
When a female Nile crocodile’s hatchlings are in danger, she may hide them in a special pouch inside her throat.
There are more than 5,000 species.
They have a high-pitched alarm call that sounds like a barking dog.
Olive baboons will sometimes form strong friendships with each other
Females are about four times the size of males
There are 13 different species worldwide
The owl can rotate its head some 270 degrees
Bad eyesight, but great sense of smell
Can live for up to 100 years!
Females lay between 8 and 12 eggs per clutch!
They can find their way back to their nests from up to 1300 miles away.
The mantis can turn its head 180 degrees.
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 50 different species!
Omnivores that eat anything!
Is the most populous bird in the world
It's horns are made from keratin!
Inhabits freshwater habitats around the world!
There are more than 45 species in Australia alone!
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!
Ferrets were used during the Revolutionary War to keep down the rat population.
There are around 2,000 known species!
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!
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
Has up to 45 eggs per egg case
There are nearly 1,000 different species!
There are around 3,000 known species worldwide
The snouted cobra, also known as the banded snouted cobra, is one of the most venomous snakes in all of Africa.
There are 140 different species!
They prey on spiders to feed their larvae or they parasitize other spider wasps.
Spitting cobras are types of cobras that can spit venom at predators and prey.
Small rodents found in woodlands worldwide!
There are more than 3,000 different species!
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 hawks are excellent pollinators, especially for milkweed.
Their mounds can be up to 9 meters tall!
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
The adult tiger beetle is one of the fastest land insects in the world
Can live until they are more than 150 years old!
Found in warmer jungles and forests!
Tsetse flies are large biting flies that live in the tropical regions of Africa.
Some species of aquatic turtles can get up to 70 percent of their oxygen through their butt.
Rarely found more than 450m from trees!
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!
Has been domesticated for thousands of years!
There are two different types of white ferrets!
The second largest animal on the land!
Can trek more than 1,000 miles every year!
Carnivorous arachnid that hunts its prey.
This animal can roll up into a ball
There are 200 different species!
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!
Malawian Animals List
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.