Animals in Somalia

Below you can find a complete list of Somali animals. We currently track 166 animals in Somalia and are adding more every day!

Somalia straddles both the temperate and tropical zones of the Horn of Africa and has nearly 2,000 miles of coastline fronting the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden. This highly varied climate and topography have made the country home to an abundant and diverse population of wildlife that includes lions, reticulated giraffes, cheetahs, baboons, elephants, and gazelles. Somalia’s most famous reptile is probably the Nile crocodile but other reptiles unique to Somalia include the Somali sand boa and the saw-scaled viper.

All told, Somalia boasts 177 species of mammals, 235 reptile species, and 727 bird species. Seven mammals, including the Somali elephant shrew and the silver dik-dik are endemic. War and poaching have taken a tremendous toll on Somali wildlife populations. Since the start of the Somali civil war in the 1990s, many animals have fled to safety across the border into Kenya.

The Official National Animal of Somalia

Somalia’s official national animal is the leopard ( Panthera pardus), a big cat species with a distinctive spotted coat. Leopards are not unique to Somalia; they’re found throughout many parts of the world from sub-Saharan Africa to India and China. Though they’re large animals that can weigh up to 200 pounds, leopards are actually the smallest of the big cats.

Somalian leopards are markedly smaller than leopards found in other locales. It’s not known how many leopards still survive in Somalia; they are poached for their bones and their internal organs as well as for their beautiful fur.

Where To Find The Top Wild Animals in Somalia

Somali wildlife was once distributed throughout every region of the country but poaching and wholesale destruction of animal habitats in the north has decimated the populations of giraffes, zebras, oryx, hippopotamuses, rhinoceroses, and elephants that used to live there. A few national parks were established in the 1980s but since the collapse of a unified national government in 1991, these preserves have been neglected. They still exist, however, and animals that have become extinct in other parts of Somalia may still be sighted there.

  • Daallo Mountain: Daallo Mountain National Park lies in the mountainous region overlooking the Gulf of Aden. Since the beginning of the 21st century, the area has been affected by a serious drought. Among the animals to be found in this park are kudu, warthogs, antelopes, and Somali sheep. You’ll also find lions and leopards in this park although these big cat populations are threatened by poachers.
  • Lag Badana National Park: Lag Badana National Park lies along Somalia’s Indian Ocean coastline. Animals such as monkeys, foxes, and hyenas, and birds such as the dik-dik speke and the endemic obbia lark can be found in this park.
  • Kismayo National Park: Unfortunately, Kismayo National Park on Somalia’s southern coast, lies close to the center of some of the worst fighting in Somalia, which makes wildlife management problematic. The Somali Blackhead, a sheep with a unique appearance that’s native to Somalia, roams wild throughout the park. Lions, zebras, and wild boars can also be found there.

The Most Dangerous Animals In Somalia Today

The list of dangerous animals living in Somalia is long. Though lions don’t typically attack human beings, they do go after humans upon occasion, particularly as a means of protecting and defending their territory. Nile crocodiles have vice-like jaws, which they use to attack fisherman or humans collecting food by the shores of the river.

Male elephants can be very aggressive, and since they can weigh more than 1,500 pounds, an elephant kick can be fatal. Hippopotamuses are also very aggressive though they spend up to 16 hours a day, resting peacefully underwater.

The most dangerous animals living in Somalia today, though, are undoubtedly human beings. Whether they’re militia members battling for ascendency in the southern regions of Kismayo and the Juba Valley, or poachers stalking elephants and endangered hippos for ivory, human beings present the greatest threat to the wellbeing of Somali animals as well as to other human beings.

Endangered Animals In Somalia

Many Somalian mammals are at risk for becoming extinct. The list of Somalia’s endangered animals can be divided into three categories. Critically endangered species (CR) are at high risk of becoming extinct while endangered animals (EN) may face extinction in the near future. Vulnerable animals (VU) are animals whose populations have seen a reduction of at least 20 percent within the last 10 years.

Somali Animals


Can move 2ft of soil in just 15 seconds!

African Bullfrog

The African bullfrog is one of only three species of frog that have “teeth.”

African Civet

Secretes up to 4g of musk every week!

African Clawed Frog

A particularly ferocious amphibian!

African Wild Dog

Also known as the painted dog!

American Cockroach

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


Can travel more than four miles a day!

Banana Spider

People spin clothing and fishing nets out of these spiders’ silk.


There are over 2,000 known species!

Barn Owl

Found everywhere around the world!

Barn Swallow

Older offspring help care for new hatchlings.


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!


Has no real natural predators!


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!


Has 20 different muscles in it's ears!

Carpenter Ant

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!


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!

Common House Spider

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 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.


A dik-dik is named after a sound it makes when it is frightened


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!

Dung Beetle

The dung beetle can push objects many times its own weight


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!

False Widow Spider

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

Fiddler Crab

The fiddler crab gets its name from the motion the males make with their over-sized claw during the mating ritual.


Sleeps on just one leg!


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!


Can maintain speeds of 16 km/h!


Inhabits wetlands and woodlands worldwide!


Lives in herds of up to 24 individuals!


There are more than 5,000 species worldwide!


Spends much of the time high in the trees!

Leopard Tortoise

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.


They are found across Europe, Asia and Africa!

Marabou Stork

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!

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!

Naked Mole Rat

Naked mole rats don’t get cancer


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.

Orb Weaver

Females are about four times the size of males


The largest bird in the world!


There are 13 different species worldwide


Monk parakeets are the only parakeets that actually build nests. They’re also the only parakeets to nest in great colonies.


Can live for up to 100 years!

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!


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.


They glide around on one foot, which is aided by the slime they produce


There are nearly 1,000 different species!


There are around 3,000 known species worldwide


There are 140 different species!

Spider Wasp

They prey on spiders to feed their larvae or they parasitize other spider wasps.


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!

Tarantula Hawk

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.

Tiger Beetle

The adult tiger beetle is one of the fastest land insects in the world


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.


Some species of aquatic turtles can get up to 70 percent of their oxygen through their butt.


Vinegaroons can spray 19 times before the glands are depleted


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!


Thought to date back more than 300,000 years!

Wolf Spider

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!

Somali Animals List

Animals in Somalia FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What animals are native to Somalia?

Animals that are native to Somalia include lions, giraffes, cheetahs, baboons, and several different species of gazelles. Though many of the mammals and birds that live in Somalia can also be found elsewhere in sub-Saharan Africa, a few species are endemic to Somalia. This list includes the Somali hedgehog, two species of antelopes called dik-diks, and several species of gerbil.

Are there hyenas in Somalia?

Hyenas can be found in the southern regions of Somalia.

Are there hippos in Somalia?

Hippos can still be found in Somalia though their numbers have declined rapidly due to habitat loss and ivory poaching.

Do cheetahs live in Somalia?

The Northeast African cheetah could be found in Somalia as recently as 2007, but it’s not known how many of these animals survive there today.