Animals in Mali

Below you can find a complete list of Malian animals. We currently track 210 animals in Mali and are adding more every day!

The natural wildlife in Mali is comprised of over 100 mammals, though at least 18 species are currently struggling to survive in the area. Most of the wildlife is spread across 33% of the country, due to the severity of the Saharan desert area. Some of the common predators include the lion and the cheetah, though both are only in limited numbers.
The national animal of Mali is influenced by folklore, though it was not featured on the coat of arms of this country until after 1960.

The Official National Animal of Mali

Mali’s national animal is the vulture, which is featured on the nation’s first seal after the Mali Federation was dissolved over 60 years ago. The vulture is depicted as flying over the Djenne mosque, which is above a rising sun. It is detailed in gold (as is the mosque and the sun), meant to be symbolic of the purity and mineral wealth of Mali. The use of the vulture is said to be due to the folklore associated with the vulture in Malian culture, though there is some suggestion that the animal is actually a dove.

The most common vulture in Mali is the lappet-faced vulture, which is sometimes called the Nubian vulture. It dates back to earlier species of vultures, and it doesn’t have nearly as impressive of a sense of smell.

Where to Find the Top Wild Animals in Mali

The government has ruled to protect many of the vegetation areas in Mali, accounting for 2 national parks, multiple faunal reserves, and even several sanctuaries. In total, 4.7% of the country is protected to keep the 1,700 plant species and the 1,000 animal species from losing their homes. Some of the most common animals can be found in the Saharan zone, the Sahelian zone, and the Niger River valley.

  • Desert horned viper – This venomous snake can be found throughout northern Africa and in the Middle East. The pattern of their body tends to coordinate with the substrate that they are found in, ranging from yellow to pale gray or even pink.
  • African spurred tortoise – This tortoise is rather pleasant, rarely resorting to aggression or becoming territorial. They tend to live along the southern edge of the Saharan zone.
  • Hippopotamus – The hippopotamus is often found along the Niger River, where it also resides with many types of crocodiles and lizards.
  • Dama gazelle – Often found in the Sahelian zone, this gazelle is one of the largest gazelles in the antelope family. They tend to reside in grasslands and woodlands where they can feed.

The Most Dangerous Animals in Mali Today

Mali is home to many natural predators and carnivores, though the forest lands have been preserved to protect their habitat. This protection is also helpful to locals who need to protect themselves from these predators as well.

If ever in the region, you may want to avoid a few major animals in the region, like the:

  • Hippopotamus – This unique animal kills nearly 3,000 humans annually (even though it is not carnivorous). While they do not actively seek out humans, they are very territorial and will do what they need to for the sake of protecting their natural habitat.
  • Death Stalker (scorpion) – There are three major species of scorpion in Mali that are incredibly dangerous, including the Death Stalker. These animals are credited with many deaths, though they may also cause pulmonary edema that leads to death. While stings are rare, they can be fatal.
  • Boomslang snake – The Boomslang snake’s venom can destroy a human’s red blood cells, ultimately leading to dangerous damage of vital tissues and hormones. While it can cause severe symptoms (like brain hemorrhage), it can also lead to nausea and headaches in less serious cases.

Endangered Animals in Mali

Despite the unique wildlife and environment, Mali still has several endangered species. Out of over 140 mammals, many are either considered vulnerable or endangered in some way. Some of the endangered animals in the area include:

Right now, the African elephant, the barbary sheep, and the cheetah are all vulnerable to meet the same fates unless action is taken to prevent them from becoming extinct. At one time, the Ansongo-Menaka Partial Faunal Reserve hosted a fairly small population of the West African giraffe. However, the species is now extinct within Mali.

Malian Animals

Aardvark

Can move 2ft of soil in just 15 seconds!

Addax

The hooves of the addax are splayed and have flat, springy soles, one of the adaptations that help it walk over sand.

African Civet

Secretes up to 4g of musk every week!

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.

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 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!

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 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

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.

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

Camel

Can survive without water for 10 months!

Caracal

Has 20 different muscles in it's ears!

Carpenter Ant

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

Carpet Viper

The Carpet Viper probably bites and kills more people than any other species of snake.

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!

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 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

Eagle

Has exceptional eyesight!

Earthworm

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

Earwig

There are nearly 2,000 different species!

Eel

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

Egyptian Cobra

The Egyptian cobra is one of the largest cobras in Africa.

Egyptian Goose

A duck species that resembles a goose when flying

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 Cobra

When it feels threatened, it mimics a cobra in an attempt to dissuade a potential attacker.

False Widow Spider

False spiders actually prey on black widow spiders and other hazardous spiders

Fennec Fox

Found in the African Sahara Desert!

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!

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

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!

Grasshopper

There are 11,000 known species!

Green Bee-Eater

Mainly eats honeybees!

Guinea Fowl

Found in a vairety of African habitats!

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

Jerboa

Tiny rodent with a kangaroo-like jump!

Jumping Spider

Some can jump 50 times the length of their bodies

Kingfisher

Inhabits wetlands and woodlands worldwide!

Ladybug

There are more than 5,000 species worldwide!

Lappet-faced Vulture

Lappet-faced vultures are tidy and wash their heads in a body of water after they’ve eaten

Leech

Has 10 pairs of eyes!

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!

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!

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.

Olive Baboon

Olive baboons will sometimes form strong friendships with each other

Orb Weaver

Females are about four times the size of males

Ortolan Bunting

The tradition of hiding your face with a napkin or towel while eating this bird was begun by a priest who was a friend of the great French gastronome Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin.

Ostrich

The largest bird in the world!

Otter

There are 13 different species worldwide

Owl

The owl can rotate its head some 270 degrees

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!

Patas Monkey

The fastest species of primate in the world!

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

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.

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!

Senegal Parrot

As a pet, the Senegal parrot is capable of "talking" to its owner

Serval

Can leap more than 1 meter into the air!

Sheep

Around 35 million in the English countryside!

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.

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!

Stork

They can’t sing like other birds.

Striped Hyena

The striped hyenas usually mark their territories with the help of the scent gland secretions from their anal pouch.

Sulcata Tortoise

Some cultures in Africa believe the sulcata tortoise is an intermediary between the people and their ancestors and gods.

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.

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

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!

White Ferret / Albino Ferrets

There are two different types of white ferrets!

Wolf Spider

Carnivorous arachnid that hunts its prey.

Woodlouse

This animal can roll up into a ball

Woodlouse Spider

Unlike most spiders, woodlouse spiders don’t build a web.

Woodpecker

There are 200 different species!

Worm

Doesn’t have eyes.

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!

Malian Animals List

Animals in Mali FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What animals live in Mali?

Mali is filled with a diverse collection of unique animals, which include both herbivorous and carnivorous mammals. Some of the most common wild animals that exist in the area include antelopes, gazelles, lions, panthers, hyenas, crocodiles, and monkeys. Mali is even home to the ostrich and many species of snakes.

Are there lions in Mali?

Yes. The lions of Mali are primarily found near the Faleme River, though there have also been sightings of the Guinea baboon and the Mzab gundi around this river.

Does Mali have giraffes?

Though Mali formerly was the home to the West African giraffe, the numbers that formerly were protected by the Ansongo-‐Menaka Partial Faunal Reserve are now extinct. However, this giraffe still exists in other countries.

How many lions are there in Mali?

The population of lions in Mali varies from one area to another. The largest numbers are found in Cameroon and the Senegal-Mali-Guinea border, accounting for about 200 lions per group. There are also several other small populations of lions around the country that only have about 50 each.