Animals in Africa

Africa has several different types of habitats from jungles and forests to grasslands and deserts. The second-largest continent after Asia, it is home to many beautiful and dangerous animals of various sizes, both diurnal and nocturnal.

These include mammals, reptiles, birds, and insects, with many being unique to Africa. Because of its biodiversity, it is a popular location for animal researchers as well as safari enthusiasts. It contains over 1,100 different mammal species, plus over 60 carnivore species, 100,000 insect species, 3,000 freshwater fish species, and over 2,600 bird species. Its populations of insects comprise 15-20% of all insects in the world.

The Official National Animals of Africa

Since Africa is made up of several countries containing their own culture and languages, as well as different types of habitats, there aren’t official African animals that represent the entire continent. Hence, each country has its own official national animal, with some countries having more than one national animal or sharing the same national animal as that of other countries.

National animals are often categorized according to type, especially if a country has more than one. For example, the Leopard is the official national animal (land mammal) of both Rwanda and Somalia, while the American Fish Eagle is the national bird of Namibia and Zambia, and the Oryx is the national animal of Namibia. South Africa’s official national animal is the Springbok, its national bird is the Blue Crane, and its national fish the Galjoen.

Where To Find The Top Wildlife in Africa

The top wild animals in Africa are those that people most often seek out in safaris, with many being animals native to Africa. These safari animals are housed in national parks, game reserves, and other sanctuaries for both human safety as well as to avoid their becoming part of the extinct animals in Africa. Among the best known African animals are the “Big Five” which are the Lion, Leopard, Elephant, Rhinoceros, and Buffalo. All of them can be seen in South Africa and are native animals:

Other top wild animals in Africa and where to find them are:

The Most Dangerous Animals In Africa Today

Land animals in Africa are popular attractions for safari enthusiasts, although they are not always treated with caution and respect. Many dangerous African animals are among the most dangerous in the world after human beings, whether hostile or poisonous. Fortunately, most dangerous African animals can be safely seen in national parks and game reserves. The top 10 most dangerous animals in Africa and their estimated number of human deaths per year are:

  • Mosquito: Causes diseases including Malaria, Yellow Fever, Zeka Virus, West Nile Virus, and Dengue Fever; 1,000,000 deaths.
  • Hippopotamus: Territorial and weighs up to 1,500kg, making it the third-largest animal after the elephant and rhino; 3,000 deaths.
  • African Elephant: Largest land animal; weighs up to 7,000kg and is unpredictable; tramples victims; 500 deaths.
  • Nile Crocodile: Aggressive, fatal attacks; 300 deaths.
  • Lion: Apex predator; kills locals during their daily lives or on the fringes of game reserves; 200 deaths.
  • Cape Buffalo: Nicknamed “widowmaker” and “black death”; fearless, aggressive, and unpredictable; will stalk and kill humans if alone; tramples and gores victims to death; weighs up to 1,000kg; 200 deaths.
  • Great White Shark: Most aggressive shark towards humans; charges at prey up to 40km an hour before taking a large bite; humans die from blood loss in 20 percent of cases; 2 deaths.
  • Rhinoceros: Weighs up to 2,800kg and second largest animal after the elephant; irritable, and charges with long, sharp horns up to 64km an hour when threatened; unknown.
  • Puff Adder: Not the most venomous snake but causes the most fatalities due to its wide habitat range, camoflauge colors and aggressiveness; 20 percent fatality rate from untreated bites; unknown.
  • Black Mamba: Largest venomous snake in Africa, growing up to 2.5m; one of the world’s fastest snakes, moving at 20km an hour; highly aggressive; one of the most venomous snakes in the world with a 100% fatality for untreated bites; unknown.

Endangered Animals In Africa

Several species are endangered or vulnerable due to hunting and poaching, particularly large and dangerous animals which are prized as trophies. Endangered animals in Africa include the Black Rhino, White Rhino, Rothschild’s Giraffe, Grévy’s Zebra, (African) Wild Dog, Grey Crowned Crane and Okapi. Additionally, the Lion, Leopard, Cheetah and African Forest Elephant are vulnerable species.

African Countries Animals Lists

Click any of the countries below to see a detailed list of animals located in that country!

African Animals


Can move 2ft of soil in just 15 seconds!


The oldest breed of cat in the world!

African Bullfrog

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

African Bush Elephant

Can drink up to 50 gallons a day

African Civet

Secretes up to 4g of musk every week!

African Clawed Frog

A particularly ferocious amphibian!

African Forest Elephant

Have large rounded ears to help keep them cool!

African Palm Civet

Solitary but gathers in groups!

African Penguin

The only penguin species in Africa!

African Tree Toad

Found in tropical moist lowland forests!

African Wild Dog

Also known as the painted dog!


The largest wingspan of any bird in the world!

Angora Goat

Each adult Angora goat produces about 12 inches of mohair annually while kids have about 8 inches.


First evolved 100 million years ago!


Renew their horns every year!

Aye Aye

Thought to be extinct until 1957!


Can travel more than four miles a day!


There are over 2,000 known species!

Barn Owl

Found everywhere around the world!

Basenji Dog

Alert, affectionate and energetic!


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 Rhinoceros

Horns can grow to 1.5m!

Black Widow Spider

They typically prey on insects!


Long and heavy spiralled horns!


Shares 97% of the same DNA as humans!

Brown Hyena

They don’t laugh


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!


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!


Has 32 teeth including fang-like canines!


Cicadas have one of the longest insect lifespans


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 Raven

A group of ravens is called an unkindness or a conspiracy.


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!

Cross River Gorilla

Less than 300 remaining!

Desert Locust

Solitary locusts are grey while gregarious locusts are yellow with stripes.

Desert Rain Frog

The desert rain frog doesn't hop


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!

Dwarf Crocodile

Digs burrows in river banks to rest!


Has exceptional eyesight!


There are nearly 2,000 different species!

Eastern Gorilla

The largest primate in the world!

Eastern Lowland Gorilla

Less than 5,000 in the wild!


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

Egyptian Mau

An ancient breed of domestic cat!


Spends around 22 hours a day eating!

Elephant Shrew

Found exclusively on the African continent!


The fastest creatures on the planet!

Fallow deer

The fallow deer has more variation in its coat colors than most other deer.

Fennec Fox

Found in the African Sahara Desert!


Sleeps on just one leg!


There are more than 240,000 different species!


Most closely related to the Mongoose!


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!

Giant African Land Snail

The biggest snail species on land!


Long, black tongue can grow to 18 inches long!

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!

Goliath Frog

Does not have a vocal sac.


The biggest of the world's primates!


There are 11,000 known species!

Green Bee-Eater

Mainly eats honeybees!

Grey Mouse Lemur

The largest species of mouse lemur!

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!


The bird has a massive horn on its bill!


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!


Can jump over 6 feet straight up from a standstill


Found in swamps, marshes and wetlands!


Able to jump over 10 feet high


The largest species of Lemur!


There are an estimated 30 million species!


Can maintain speeds of 16 km/h!


Tiny rodent with a kangaroo-like jump!


Inhabits wetlands and woodlands worldwide!


Lives in herds of up to 24 individuals!


There are more than 5,000 species worldwide!

Leaf-Tailed Gecko

Only found on Madagascar!


Natively found on the island of Madagascar!


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.


The lungfish first evolved almost 400 million years ago.


They are found across Europe, Asia and Africa!


With an appropriate tail wind, the mallard can travel hundreds of miles a day


Distinctively coloured noses and rumps!

Marabou Stork

The marabou stork does not have a voice box.


There are 2,500 known species worldwide!


One will stand on guard to watch for predators!


Some species have a poisonous bite!


Primarily hunts and feeds on Earthworms!

Monarch Butterfly

During migration, Monarch Butterflies may travel 250 or more miles each day.


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!

Mountain Gorilla

Isolated populations found in the mountains!


Found on every continent on Earth!


The offspring of a horse and donkey parents!

Myna Bird

For a nice price, the mynah bird makes a good pet.

Naked Mole Rat

Naked mole rats don’t get cancer

Nigerian Goat

Produces a lot of milk for its small size


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.


Eats more than 100 different types of plant!


The largest bird in the world!


There are 13 different species worldwide


Bad eyesight, but great sense of smell


Can live for up to 100 years!

Patas Monkey

The fastest species of primate in the world!


Most commonly found on the Indian mainland!

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.

Puss Moth

Caterpillars squirt formic acid!

Pygmy Hippopotamus

Spends more time on land than in water!


The quagga is a subspecies of plains zebra.


Inhabits woodland and forest areas worldwide!


There are more than 50 different species!

Radiated Tortoise

The most protected tortoise in the world!


Omnivores that eat anything!

Red Fox

The red fox actually has many different variations of fur, including silver and brown.


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.

Scimitar-horned Oryx

Believed to be the inspiration for unicorn myths!


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!

Shoebill Stork

Adults greet each other by clattering their bills together.


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!


The springbok has a large tuft of hair that emerges from a pouch on the back


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.

Vervet Monkey

Rarely found more than 450m from trees!


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!

Western Gorilla

There are two sub-species!

Western Lowland Gorilla

One of the great apes!

White Rhinoceros

The second largest animal on the land!


Can trek more than 1,000 miles every year!


Thought to date back more than 300,000 years!

Wolf Spider

Carnivorous arachnid that hunts its prey.


Actually a crustacean, not an insect!


There are 200 different species!


Squirrel that lives in burrows in Africa.


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!

African Animals List

Animals in Africa FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What are other animals native to Africa?

Greater Kudu
Common Ostrich
African Civet
Great Wild Crane
Mantled Guereza
Spotted Hyena

What is an unusual animal one wouldn't expect to find in Africa?

There is a penguin colony in South Africa. The west coast near the Cape has cold Antarctic currents.

What are some of Africa's world records with regards to animals?

  • Four out of five of the world’s fastest land animals: The fastest is the cheetah, with speeds of 70mph. The wildebeest, lion and Thomson’s gazelle all run at about 50mph.
  • The world’s biggest frog: The Goliath frog is in Cameroon. It can grow to one foot long.
  • The world’s smallest butterfly: The Dwarf Blue Butterfly has a wingspan of only 0.5″ and is in South Africa.
  • The world’s largest and smallest chameleons: Both in Madagascar, which contains about half of all chameleon species in the world.
    The only place you can find shoals of fresh water sardines: They are in Lake Tanganyika.
  • The world’s largest and heaviest beetle: The Goliath beetle can grow to 5 inches in length and weigh up to 0.25lbs. It lives in tropical Africa.
  • The largest primate, the Gorilla: Males weigh up to 200kg.
  • The largest cat, the Lion: It is also the largest of all African carnivores and an apex predator in any African ecosystem.
  • The second largest reptile, after the saltwater crocodile: The Nile crocodile grows to 5m or 20ft in length on average.
  • The largest seal colony in the southern hemisphere: Cape Cross in Namibia.

What are some extinct animals in Africa?

Animals in Africa that went extinct recently are the Northern White Rhino (2018) and the Western Black Rhino (2006). The next most recent extinct animal was the Bubal Hartebeest (1923).