Below you can find a complete list of Zambian animals. We currently track 155 animals in Zambia and are adding more every day!
Like many countries in southern Africa, Zambia has a wealth of wildlife found both in and outside the parks and reserves set up to protect them. Bordered by Angola to the west, Namibia, Zimbabwe and a tiny bit of Botswana to the south, Mozambique to the southeast, Malawi to the east, and Tanzania to the northeast, it shares with them animals such as those called the Big Five: lions, elephants, buffalos, leopards, and rhinoceros, though the rhinoceros is in danger of going extinct in many areas. Zambia also has many species of birds, reptiles, and primates. As of 2021 29.2 percent of the country has been dedicated to protecting its unique wildlife.
The Official National Animal of Zambia
The official national animal of Zambia is the African fish eagle. This eagle looks very much like North America’s bald eagle, but its white feathers extend down to its chest. Though it mainly eats fish it will also take other prey including smaller birds, small reptiles, amphibians, and mammals. It also eats carrion. The African fish eagle has a joyous scream that many believe represents the spirit of Africa itself.
Where To Find The Top Wild Animals in Zambia
Some of the top wild creatures, especially birds, can be found throughout the country. The African fish eagle, for example, can be found around Zambia’s many bodies of water, whether they are in nature preserves or not. Others can be found in the country’s game management areas and national parks.
National parks in Zambia include Blue Lagoon National Park which is small but famous for its birds; Kafue National Park; the privately operated Kasanka National Park; the Lower Zambezi National Park; Sioma Ngwezi National Park, which is home to herds of beasts such as elephants and wildebeests who migrate to and from parks in Namibia and Botswana; and the world-famous South Luangwa National Park, which offers walking safaris.
The Most Dangerous Animals In Zambia Today
The Big Five were called that because big game hunters considered them the five most dangerous creatures to hunt. The lion, the leopard, the rhino, the elephant, and the buffalo are still best treated with respect, but there are others that are at least as dangerous. They include:
- The Nile crocodile — This formidable reptile can grow between 11.5 and 20 feet in length and weigh over a ton. It is a surprisingly fast runner and an ambush predator. The Nile crocodile is a generalist that eats any animal it can tackle, and that includes human beings. As many as 469 people are killed by the crocodile every year.
- Hippopotamus — Some statistics have this animal slaying as many as 3000 people a year. The animal looks ungainly, but it is aggressive, bad-tempered, and territorial. It tramples and crushes people, bites people to death, overturns boats in the water, and attacks whoever falls out.
- Black mamba — This snake is often found where people live. It is fast, can grow over 9 feet long, and is one of the most venomous snakes in the world. The bite is fatal if antivenin isn’t given fairly quickly. There are reports, maybe apocryphal, of people dying from just seeing a black mamba in their homes.
- Puff Adder — Though the black mamba’s venom may be more powerful, more people are bitten by puff adders. The puff adder isn’t particularly aggressive, but its brown and buff coloration camouflages it as it basks on pathways. Because of this, people step on the snake unawares and are bitten. Even wearing shoes might not help, for the snake’s fangs are so long they can pierce soft leather. Of all people who are envenomated by the puff adder, about 52 percent die.
- Tsetse Fly — This fly not only transmits the deadly sleeping sickness but is at least partially responsible for keeping much of sub-Saharan Africa, including Zambia, in poverty. This is because of its devastating effect on agriculture.
Endangered Animals In Zambia
Zambia is not a wealthy country, and at least five of its national parks no longer harbor its unique wildlife because they couldn’t be maintained. This makes the situation of the country’s endangered creatures even more precarious. They include:
- The African bush elephant – Though this elephant can be found in Zambia’s parks, its overall status is endangered.
- Southern central black rhinoceros – This rhino is critically endangered, though in Zambia it can be seen in North Luangwa National Park. Its relative, the western black rhino, is extinct.
- Cape wild dog – This wild dog is endangered, and not many are left in Zambia.
- Lion – The lion is considered vulnerable and can be seen in a few places in Zambia. In other places, it is extinct in the wild.
Zambian Animals List
- African Bullfrog
- African Bush Elephant
- African Civet
- African Clawed Frog
- African Wild Dog
- Barn Owl
- Barn Swallow
- Black Rhinoceros
- Black Widow Spider
- Bush Baby
- Carpenter Ant
- Common Buzzard
- Crab Spider
- Dung Beetle
- Elephant Shrew
- Fruit Bat
- Glass Lizard
- Glow Worm
- Golden Oriole
- Green Bee-Eater
- Guinea Fowl
- Honey Badger
- Honey Bee
- Huntsman Spider
- Leopard Tortoise
- Marabou Stork
- Monitor Lizard
- Nile Crocodile
- No See Ums
- Peregrine Falcon
- River Turtle
- Shoebill Stork
- Skink Lizard
- Spider Wasp
- Stick Insect
- Tree Frog
- Tsetse Fly
- Vervet Monkey
- Water Buffalo
- White Rhinoceros
- Wolf Spider
Animals in Zambia FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
What animals live in Zambia?
Zambia is abundant in all kinds of unique wildlife. They include primates such as vervet monkeys, bushbabies, and baboons. There are carnivores such as lions, leopards, cheetahs, hyenas, and wildcats such as the caracal, the serval, and the common genet. There are also eight kinds of mongoose, otters, and honey badgers. Zebra are found in great numbers in Zambia, as are African buffalo. There are many types of antelopes, including the roan and sable antelopes, the oribi, the waterbuck, and the lechwe. There are also rock hyrax, small mammals that look like guinea pigs but are closely related to elephants.
Snakes include dangerous venomous snakes such as the boomslang, the spitting cobra, and the gaboon viper, and many species of birds include wading birds such as flamingos, hammerkops and storks, gulls, pelicans, cranes, ducks and geese, and the ostrich, the world’s biggest bird.
What is the biggest animal in Zambia?
The biggest animal in Zambia is the African bush elephant, the biggest of the Big Five. A grown male elephant can stand 13 feet high at the shoulder and weigh 11.5 tons. Females are smaller. Elephant males are considered fully grown when they’re 40 and females when they’re 25.
Are there lions in Zambia?
There are lions in Zambia, though their status is vulnerable. The subspecies of lions found in Zambia is Panthera leo melanochaita.
What are the available prey in Zambia?
A predator in Zambia will have no lack of prey in Zambia. The country is abundant in such prey as antelopes, including wildebeests and zebra. Smaller carnivores such as the common genet can find prey such as birds, frogs, toads, lizards, insects, and small arthropods.