Animals in Mali

Below you can find a complete list of Malian animals. We currently track 141 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:

  • Addax
  • Chimpanzee
  • Dama gazelle
  • Slender-horned gazelle

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


Can move 2ft of soil in just 15 seconds!

African Civet

Secretes up to 4g of musk every week!


First evolved 100 million years ago!


Renew their horns every year!


Can travel more than four miles a day!


There are over 2,000 known species!

Barn Owl

Found everywhere around the world!


Detects prey using echolocation!


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!

Black Widow Spider

They typically prey on insects!


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 20,000 species!


Can survive without water for 10 months!


Has 20 different muscles in it's ears!


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!


There are more than 2 000 known species!


Dated to be around 300 million years old!

Common Buzzard

The most common raptor in the UK!


There are nearly 1.5 million worldwide!


There are 93 different crab groups

Crab Spider

Crab Spiders can mimic ants or bird droppings


Many are critically endangered species!


Have changed little in 200 million years!

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!


Has exceptional eyesight!


There are nearly 2,000 different species!


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


Spends around 22 hours a day eating!

Elephant Shrew

Found exclusively on the African continent!


The fastest creatures on the planet!

Fennec Fox

Found in the African Sahara Desert!


There are more than 240,000 different species!


There are 12 different species in the world!


There are around 7,000 different species!

Fruit Bat

Among the largest bats in the world


There are thought to be over 2,000 species!


Originally known as the Desert Rat!

Glass Lizard

Can grow up to 4ft long!

Glow Worm

Found inhabiting dense woodland and caves!


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!

Guinea Fowl

Found in a vairety of African habitats!


Able to run as quickly backwards as forwards!


Can reach speeds of over 40 mph!


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.


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!


Tiny rodent with a kangaroo-like jump!


Inhabits wetlands and woodlands worldwide!


There are more than 5,000 species worldwide!


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.


They are found across Europe, Asia and Africa!


There are 2,500 known species worldwide!


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!


There are 250,000 different species!


Found on every continent on Earth!


The offspring of a horse and donkey parents!


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.


The largest bird in the world!


There are 13 different species worldwide


Can live for up to 100 years!

Patas Monkey

The fastest species of primate in the world!

Peregrine Falcon

Fastest animal on Earth


Females lay between 8 and 12 eggs per clutch!


They can find their way back to their nests from up to 1300 miles away.


Inhabits woodland and forest areas worldwide!


There are more than 50 different species!


Omnivores that eat anything!


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!


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.


There are around 2,000 known species!


Males give birth to up to 1,000 offspring!

Senegal Parrot

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


Can leap more than 1 meter into the air!


Around 35 million in the English countryside!


There are 2,000 different species worldwide!

Skink Lizard

Some skinks lay eggs in some habitats while giving birth to skinklets in other habitats.


There are nearly 1,000 different species!


There are around 3,000 known species worldwide


There are 140 different species!


Small rodents found in woodlands worldwide!

Stick Insect

There are more than 3,000 different species!

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.


Populations have been affected by pollution!


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.


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.


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!

Wolf Spider

Carnivorous arachnid that hunts its prey.


Actually a crustacean, not an insect!


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!

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.