Below you can find a complete list of Nigerian animals. We currently track 266 animals in Nigeria and are adding more every day!
Nigeria is a land of diverse ecosystems, including deserts, plains, swamps, mountains, and jungles. The third-largest river delta in the world is within its boundaries. Therefore, you can find many different types of animals in Nigeria. There are over 22,000 vertebrate and invertebrate species in Nigeria.
Several native species remain in Nigeria, such as the elusive pangolin, hyraxes, cuckoos, puff adders, and hoopoes. Unfortunately, many of these animals are facing threats of endangerment or extinction.
At least 21 bird species may become extinct as a result of deforestation for agricultural benefits.
The Official National Animal of Nigeria
The black-crowned crane is the official animal of Nigeria, endemic to the country and thought to be a sign of prosperity.
Two different species of black-crowned cranes live in Nigeria. The subspecies on the western end of the country are significantly threatened by loss of habitat.
The official national animal of Nigeria is not the eagle, but rather the black-crowned crane. This magnificent bird is found in grasslands and wetlands across Africa and is known for its striking appearance, with a black crown, white cheeks, and a bright red throat pouch.
The black-crowned crane is highly revered in Nigeria, where it is a symbol of beauty, grace, and strength. It is often depicted in art, textiles, and sculptures, and its image is used in many official government logos and emblems.
The bird also plays an important role in traditional African folklore and is seen as a messenger of the gods. Despite being a national symbol, the black-crowned crane is considered endangered due to habitat loss and hunting.
Efforts are being made to protect this beautiful bird and preserve its habitat, both in Nigeria and throughout Africa.
Rarest Animals Found in Nigeria
Nigeria is home to a variety of unique and rare animal species, many of which are found nowhere else in the world. Unfortunately, many of these species are threatened with extinction due to habitat loss, poaching, and other human activities.
Here are some of the rarest animals found in Nigeria:
- Cross River gorilla: This critically endangered gorilla subspecies is found only in the border region between Nigeria and Cameroon. It is one of the rarest primates in the world, with only around 300 individuals remaining in the wild.
- Nigerian-Cameroon chimpanzee: Another critically endangered primate found in the same region as the Cross River gorilla, the Nigerian-Cameroon chimpanzee is estimated to have a wild population of fewer than 6,000 individuals.
- African manatee: This large aquatic mammal is found in rivers and coastal waters throughout West and Central Africa, including Nigeria. It is listed as vulnerable due to hunting and habitat destruction.
- African forest elephant: This elephant subspecies is found in the forests of Central and West Africa, including Nigeria. It is considered vulnerable due to habitat loss and poaching for its ivory.
- Pangolin: Both the African white-bellied pangolin and the giant pangolin can be found in Nigeria. These unique mammals are covered in scales and are highly valued for their meat and scales in traditional medicine, making them vulnerable to hunting and illegal trade.
Efforts are being made to protect these and other rare species in Nigeria through conservation initiatives and education campaigns.
Largest Animals found in Nigeria
Nigeria is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including some of the largest animals in Africa.
Here are some of the largest animals found in Nigeria:
- African elephant: The African elephant is the largest land animal in the world and can be found in various parts of Nigeria. These majestic creatures can weigh up to 6 tonnes and stand up to 4 meters tall at the shoulder.
- Hippopotamus: The hippopotamus is one of the largest mammals found in Africa and can be found in Nigeria’s rivers and lakes. These semi-aquatic creatures can weigh up to 3,200 kg and are known for their aggressive behavior.
- Nile crocodile: The Nile crocodile is the largest crocodile species in Africa and can be found in Nigeria’s waterways. These powerful predators can grow up to 6 meters in length and weigh over 1,000 kg.
- African buffalo: The African buffalo is a large and powerful bovine that can be found in Nigeria’s savannahs and forests. These animals can weigh up to 900 kg and are known for their aggressive behavior.
- Giraffe: The giraffe is the tallest land animal in the world and can be found in Nigeria’s savannahs. These magnificent creatures can reach heights of up to 5.5 meters.
Where to Find the Top Wild Animals
There are many types of animals in Nigeria. Therefore, you may want to spend some time exploring the different ecosystems to see the many unique animals and birds that exist in very few other places in the world. Some sightseeing areas include:
- Cross River gorillas– Head to Afi Mountain Wildlife Sanctuary, the Mbe Mountains, or the Okwangwo Division of Cross River National Park to see Cross River gorillas in their natural habitat.
- Forest elephants – These elephants live at five different sites in Southern Nigeria, including the Omo Forests in Ogun State, the Okomu National Park, the Cross River National Park, Idanre Forests and Osse River Park, and on Andoni Island.
- Savannah Elephants – See savannah elephants at Yankari National Park and the Yankari Game Reserve, but there are less than 500 remaining in the wild, so you might want to hurry.
- Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzees – These are the most threatened and least distributed of all chimpanzees, and you can see these unique animals at Gashaka-Gumti National Park and Ngel Nyaki Forest Reserve.
- African lions – Hear the roar of African lions at Yankari and Kainji-lake national parks before they go extinct.
- Niger Delta red colobus monkeys – Only about 200 of these monkeys are left in the world. A conservatory opened in October 2020 at Apoi Creek Forest to protect the largest troop of Niger Delta red colobus monkeys from going extinct.
- Preuss’s red colobus monkeys – See these monkeys in Cross River National Park.
- Leopards – It can be challenging to see a leopard in Nigeria because they are rare and under threat, but cameras have spotted them in Kainji Lake National Park, Gashaka-Gumti National Park, and Yankari Game Reserve.
The Most Dangerous Animals in Nigeria Today
Most wild animals in Nigeria are perfectly safe. Those that are the most dangerous are often in remote areas where you may never encounter them as their numbers are often extremely threatened.
Therefore, the most dangerous animals in Nigeria today include:
- Puff adder – This unique snake is the deadliest across Africa, with approximately 32,000 people dying across the continent yearly from its bite.
- Mosquitoes – Across Africa, approximately 1 million people die annually from a mosquito bite, and another 70 million get sick with malaria or yellow fever.
- Dogs – Rabies is a huge problem in Nigeria.
- Hippopotamuses – These mighty animals are very territorial. Across Africa, about 3,000 people are killed by hippos annually.
Around 1,000 bird species make their home in Nigeria. Four of these species are endemic to the country and 31 are under threat of population decline. Endemic species include Ibadan malimbe, Anambra waxbill, Rock firefinch, and Jos Plateau indigo bird. A great diversity of birds roam, ranging from ostriches to waterfowl to flamingos.
Supporting multitudes of beautiful and unique species across diverse environments, Nigeria is around 34th in the world for birdwatching, drawing in avian fanatics from all over the world. Listed are a few popular observation sites and what birds may be spotted:
- Amurum Forest – Migratory birds; Joe Plateau Indigos, Rock Fire Finches, White-billed Buffalo-weavers, Pied Kingfisher, Senegal Parrot, etc.
- IITA Forest Reserve & Lake – Most popular species to see is Ibadan Malimbe; Helmeted guineafowl, African Pied Hornbill, Collared Sunbird, Black-crowned Night-heron, etc.
- Yankari Game Reserve – African Yellow White-eye, Grey Hornbill, Striped Kingfisher, Speckled-front Weaver, etc.
- Afi Mountain Wildlife Sanctuary – African Green Pidgeon, Black Kite, Village Weaver, etc.
In addition to the aforementioned areas, countless wildlife reserves and natural areas can be found in Nigeria, all bearing refuge to various avian visitors and residents.
Nigerian people are dependent upon fish as their main source of protein, contributing to an extensive fishing industry. Along the coastline lie many fishing villages along with inland fishing in freshwater sources. Because of the necessity of fishing for the survival of local people, fishing is under the regulation of state and federal governments.
However, the country continues to lose an estimated $70 million each year to illegal fishing. Nigeria is the largest producer of catfish in the world, a fish popular in both commercial and local markets. Crayfish, sardines, tilapia, and salmon are also common species to find in fish farms in Nigeria.
Sport fishing is also popular in the country with charter trips available off the coast. Some popular species found in these waters are:
- Blue Marlin
- Yellowfin Tuna
- Mahi Mahi
When visiting any country it is important to follow its rules and regulations regarding hunting and fishing. Nigeria, in particular, depends upon profitable fishing which is crucial to their economy and survival.
While a major hotspot for beautiful and intriguing wildlife, some dangers do lurk around the country of Nigeria, occasionally in the form of venomous snakes. However, several species of snakes in the country are non-venomous and keep their distance from humans.
Some venomous snake species found in Nigeria include:
- Puff Adder
- Gaboon Viper
- Black-necked Spitting Cobra
A few venomous species native to the country actually has a low chance of envenomation, such as stiletto snakes, mole vipers, and burrowing asps.
Non-venomous snakes include members of the python family, such as the African Rock Python. File snakes and thread snakes are non-venomous species endemic to Nigeria.
There are many endangered animals in Nigeria. Some are threatened everywhere in the world while others are more locally threatened. Across the country, important work is being done to protect animals. Some important endangered animals in Nigeria include:
- Northwestern African cheetah
- West African lion
- Dama gazelle
- Western gorilla
- Preuss’s monkey
- Pygmy hippopotamus
- Common chimpanzee
- West African wild dog
Zoos in Nigeria
Along with many natural reserves and wildlife management areas, a handful of zoos exist in several Nigerian states. Following is a list of popular zoos and their attractions.
- Audu Bako Zoo, founded in 1971, is one of the oldest conservation sites in Nigeria. Species found here include lions, giraffes, hippopotamuses, zebras, and ostriches.
- The National Children’s Park and Zoo is a great zoo to take children to as its attractions include playgrounds, snack shops, and enclosures with easily identifiable animals. Animals found at this zoo range from camels to donkeys to cheetahs.
- Jos Wildlife Park is home to hippopotamus, a variety of monkeys, buffaloes, crocodiles, and hyenas. It was established in 1956 and spans 8 km (5 miles) and is now one of the oldest and most popular parks in the country.
Many of these zoos and parks are highly involved in wildlife conservation and protection, working towards combatting threats to natural species and their habitats.
Spectacular Fish Found in Nigeria
Nigeria has a diverse range of fish species, with over 250 freshwater and marine fish found in its rivers, lakes, and coastal waters.
Some of the common fish species found in Nigeria include:
- Tilapia: A popular freshwater fish that is farmed commercially in Nigeria and consumed widely for its mild, sweet flesh.
- Catfish: Another commonly farmed fish in Nigeria, known for its meaty texture and versatility in cooking.
- Mackerel: A common saltwater fish that is caught off the coast of Nigeria and consumed widely for its oily, flavorful flesh.
- Barracuda: A predatory saltwater fish that is highly prized for its tender white flesh and is often grilled or fried.
- Snapper: A group of saltwater fish species that are popular in Nigeria, including the red snapper, which is known for its firm texture and mild flavor.
Other fish species found in Nigeria include bream, croaker, carp, eel, grouper, and tuna. The fishing industry is an important source of livelihood for many Nigerians, both as a means of subsistence and as a commercial enterprise.
However, overfishing and pollution are significant threats to Nigeria’s fish populations, and efforts are being made to promote sustainable fishing practices and protect the country’s aquatic ecosystems.
Nigeria has a rich marine life with countless extraordinary fish species roaming its lakes, rivers, and coastal waters. In Nigeria’s waters, you’ll find the Atlantic sailfish (Istiophorus albicans), the Atlantic blue marlin (Makaira nigricans), the mahi-mahi (Coryphaena hippurus), and tons of other amazing fish,
Nigerian Animals List
- African Bush Elephant
- African Civet
- African Clawed Frog
- African Fish Eagle
- African Golden Cat
- African Grey Parrot
- African Jacana
- African Palm Civet
- African Tree Toad
- African Wild Dog
- American Cockroach
- Axanthic Ball Python
- Banana Cinnamon Ball Python
- Banana Spider
- Barn Owl
- Barn Swallow
- Bed Bugs
- Biscuit Beetle
- Black Mamba
- Black Pastel Ball Python
- Black Widow Spider
- Brazilian Treehopper
- Brown-banded Cockroach
- Brown Dog Tick
- Bush Baby
- Bush Viper
- Carpenter Ant
- Carpet Viper
- Cinnamon Ball Python
- Codling Moth
- Common Buzzard
- Common Furniture Beetle
- Common House Spider
- Crab Spider
- Cross River Gorilla
- Desert Ghost Ball Python
- Desert Locust
- Dog Tick
- Dung Beetle
- Dwarf Crocodile
- Egyptian Goose
- Egyptian Vulture
- Electric Catfish
- Elephant Shrew
- Enchi Ball Python
- False Widow Spider
- Fiddler Crab
- Fire Ball Python
- Firefly Ball Python
- Forest Cobra
- Freeway Ball Python
- Fruit Bat
- Fruit Fly
- Fulvous Whistling Duck
- Gaboon Viper
- German Cockroach
- Giant African Land Snail
- Glass Lizard
- Golden Oriole
- Goliath Beetle
- Green Bee-Eater
- Guinea Fowl
- Gypsy Moth
- Hawk Moth Caterpillar
- Honey Badger
- Honey Bee
- Huntsman Spider
- Jumping Spider
- Killer Clown Ball Python
- Lappet-faced Vulture
- Lavender Albino Ball Python
- Marabou Stork
- Mojave Ball Python
- Monitor Lizard
- Nigerian Goat
- Nile Crocodile
- Nile Perch
- No See Ums
- Olive Baboon
- Orange Dream Ball Python
- Orb Weaver
- Ortolan Bunting
- Panda Pied Ball Python
- Patas Monkey
- Peregrine Falcon
- Pompano Fish
- Praying Mantis
- Puff Adder
- Rainbow Kribs (Kribensis)
- Red-Billed Quelea Bird
- River Turtle
- Rock Hyrax
- Rock Python
- Sable Ferret
- Sand Crab
- Saturniidae Moth
- Savannah Monitor
- Scaleless Ball Python
- Sea Eagle
- Senegal Parrot
- Skink Lizard
- Smokybrown Cockroach
- Spider Wasp
- Spitting Cobra
- Stick Insect
- Stiletto Snake
- Striped Hyena
- Sulcata Tortoise
- Sunset Ball Python
- Swallowtail Butterfly
- Tarantula Hawk
- Thornback Ray
- Tiger Beetle
- Tree Frog
- Tsetse Fly
- Water Buffalo
- White Ferret / Albino Ferrets
- Wolf Spider
- Yellow Belly Ball Python
Nigeria FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
Are There Tigers in Nigeria?
No, there are no tigers in Nigeria. There have never been any tigers in Nigeria.
What is the most common animal in Nigeria?
The most common animal in Nigeria is domestic dogs. Domestic dogs who are native to Nigeria are called local dogs. Those that people have imported into the country are called foreign dogs. Some of the most common breeds in Nigeria include Rottweilers, German shepherds, Boerboels, and Caucasian shepherds. Often, those who are looking for a smaller domestic dog get a Lhasa apso.
What animals live in Nigeria?
Over 44,000 different types of animals live in Nigeria. Of those, about 50% are insects. Mammals, including great apes, hippopotamuses, and West African wild dogs are all found there. There are plenty of mammals to see, but many live in remote areas.
Are there lions in Nigeria?
While you could find lions across Northern Nigeria in the past, they have lost over 90% of their territory. Today, they live in Kainji Lake National Park and the Yankari Game Reserve. The decline in the number of natural prey by poaching is the primary cause. Agricultural expansion has also led more farmers to shoot or poison lions. There may be less than 100 lions between the two populations. Important work is going on there to try to protect these prides.