African Animals List With Pictures & Facts. Discover Amazing Animals That Live In Africa

List of African Animals: Introduction

The continent of Africa is the second biggest in the world (Asia is first). Africa is home to a wide range of animals, from tropical rainforest to arid desert.

Just a small portion of the continent’s vast biodiversity is represented by the African animals mentioned below. Be sure to check back often as we’ll be adding new species to this page on a regular basis.

African Animals List

Individual species are described as follows: The scientific name and conservation status (if applicable) of each animal have been included. For species groups (i.e., The number of species in the group, as well as the group’s name, are included for antelopes.


  • Scientific Name: Orycteropus afer
  • Conservation Status: Least Concern

The aardvark is a nocturnal ant- and termite-eating animal. It locates food using its great sense of smell, and then captures it with its lengthy, sticky tongue. To protect itself from insect bites and stings, the aardvark has thick skin.

The aardvark is an expert burrower. It will retreat to its burrow if it is threatened. It will quickly dig a new burrow if one isn’t available, reversing itself out backwards as soon as the danger has passed.

The order Tubulidentata’s last surviving species, the aardvark, is the only member of the Orycteropodidae family.


  • Scientific Name: Proteles cristata
  • Conservation Status: Least Concern

In Afrikaans, a language spoken in South Africa, Aardwolf means “earth wolf.” The aardwolf isn’t a wolf, and it isn’t even part of the dog family. It actually belongs to the hyena family Hyaenidae and is one of four surviving hyena species.

In eastern and southern Africa, the aardwolf dwells in scrubland (which is formed by grass and small shrubs). It spends the day in burrows and has a nocturnal lifestyle.

The aardwolf differs from the other three hyenas by not eating large animals. Termites and other tiny insects make up the bulk of the aardwolf’s diet.

The aardwolf captures its prey using its long, sticky tongue. It can consume up to 250,000 termites in one sitting!

African Buffalo

  • Scientific Name: Syncerus caffer
  • Conservation Status: Least Concern

A large, heavily built hoofed animal, the African buffalo is a formidable beast. The members of the Bovinae subfamily, also known as bovids, belong to this group.

African buffalo comes in a variety of subspecies. They are all similar in appearance and are found throughout Africa. The Cape buffalo, which is native to Southern Africa, is the most well-known and largest subspecies.

The upward-curving horns of both sexes of African buffaloes are distinctive, with large males having horns that can be up to 1 m (3.3 ft.) apart. A hard panel known as a “boss” forms in the center of the horns of full-grown adult males.

Predators are defended against by using the horns. In order to gain control in the herd, males utilize their horns.

Most predators fear an adult African buffalo, which is massive, strong, and well-armed; only a very courageous or hungry lion would dare to attack one.

These huge creatures are recognized for their aggressive actions, which occasionally harm humans.

African Bush Elephant

  • Scientific Name: Loxodonta africana
  • Conservation Status: Vulnerable

The world’s biggest land animal is the African bush elephant. It may grow up to 4 meters (13.1 feet) tall and weigh 6,048 kilograms (13,334 pounds). Tusks are found on both male and female African bush elephants, but only on male Asian elephants.

For a long time, the African elephant was thought to be the same species as all elephants in Africa. According to recent research, the African bush elephant and the smaller African forest elephant are two separate species of elephants found in Africa.

The African bush elephant is a herbivorous species that eats a diverse range of plants. The species may be found across sub-Saharan Africa, although its population is rapidly becoming separated.


  • Number of species: 91
  • Family: Bovidae

The Antelopes family (which includes bison, buffaloes, sheep, goats, and cattle) is a group of hooved animals.

Antelopes are almost all found in herds, with the exception of a few species with male-only horns. Antelopes are safer in groups because they’re easier to spot. Predators find it difficult to approach undetected in a setting with all those eyes and ears looking and listening for danger.

Antelopes, the majority of which are indigenous to Africa, number 91 species. Forests and grasslands are two of their habitats. Antelopes are browsers (plant eaters) who dwell in huge groups and subsist on plants.

The massive eland, a species found in Central Africa’s savannas, is the biggest antelope. The royal antelope, which roams Western Africa, is the tiniest of them all. At the shoulder, it’s just 25 cm (9.8 in.).


  • Number of species: 5
  • Genus: Papio

The genus (a taxonomic group of related creatures) Papio includes both Baboons and Monkeys. Their faces have a dog-like appearance due to their long snouts and closely set eyes.

The hamadryas baboon, Guinea baboon, olive baboon, yellow baboon, and chacma baboon are the five types of Baboons. Africa is home to all five species.

Baboons form troops to live in. The smallest unit is five people, and the largest is 250 people. To establish dominance within the troop, male baboons employ noises and visual threats like baring their long, pointed canine teeth.

Four of the five baboon species are classified as “Least Concern” conservation status. The Guinea baboon, the tiniest of the species, is classified as “Near Threatened.”


  • Scientific Name: Pan paniscus
  • Conservation Status: Endangered

The rainforests of Central Africa are home to the bonobo, an endangered primate. The chimp is a close relative of this species. Less than 1 million years ago, the two species are thought to have split.

The lighter build, smaller heads, pink lips, and black faces of bonobos distinguish them from chimps.

The animal kingdom’s closest living relatives are bonobos and chimps. They are more closely related to us than gorillas, and they share over 98% of our genes.


  • Scientific Name: Dispholidus typus
  • Conservation Status: Least Concern

In sub-Saharan Africa, the boomslang is a highly venomous snake. In Afrikaans (a language spoken in South Africa), the name means “tree snake.” This big snake prefers to live in trees.

The boomslang, which is feared by the locals, has a bite that might be lethal if not treated.

The boomslang’s venom-delivering fangs are situated at the rear of its mouth, as are those of other members of the Colubridae family, to which it belongs. Rear-fanging is a term used to describe snakes like these.


  • Number of species: 18
  • Family: Galagidae

The Galagidae family of nocturnal primates includes bushbabies. They have excellent night vision thanks to their huge eyes.

These monkeys are excellent jumpers, weighing just a few pounds. Bushbabies fold their bat-like ears back for protection while leaping through thick vegetation.

Galagos or Nagapies (which means “small night monkeys” in Afrikaans, a language spoken in South Africa) are two names for bushbabies. Their baby-like look or the cries they emit at night are both credited with giving them their English name.


  • Scientific Name: Acinonyx jubatus
  • Conservation Status: Vulnerable

The world’s fastest land animal is the cheetah. Its prey, which includes other swift-moving animals such as antelope and hares, is captured at a rapid pace.

The cheetah’s skin is brownish-yellow, with black spots scattered across it. Camouflage is provided by the spots, which break up the animal’s form against vegetation and other plants.

The Felidae (cat) family includes the cheetah. Although it is not a member of the Pantherinae subfamily or genus Panthera, it is one of the most dominant felines.

The cougar and the jaguarundi are the cheetah’s closest cousins.


  • Number of crocodile species found in Africa: 4
  • Number of crocodile species worldwide: 15
  • Subfamily: Crocodylinae

The Crocodylinae subfamily of crocodiles is semi-aquatic, meat-eaters.

In shallow water, these expert ambush predators wait for their victim to come. The crocodile strikes an powerful assault when the unsuspecting victim approaches, snatching the prey in its immensely powerful jaws.

The slender-snouted crocodile, Nile crocodile, West African crocodile, and dwarf crocodile are the four species of crocodiles found in Africa.

The Nile crocodile is Africa’s biggest crocodile. Only Australia’s saltwater crocodile is bigger, making it the second-largest crocodile species. One of Africa’s most dangerous creatures is the Nile crocodile.

Desert Locust

  • Scientific Name: Schistocerca gregaria
  • Conservation Status: Least Concern

North Africa, the Middle East, and portions of Asia are home to the desert locust. It belongs to the Acrididae grasshopper family, like all locusts.

The desert locust is mostly a solitary insect that flies at night. The insects, however, begin congregating and multiplying quickly when there are specific conditions present – typically an increase in rainfall following a drought.

Desert locust swarms, which may cover up to 100 billion insects, can cover an area of 460 square miles (1,200 km2). These insect clouds, which destroy crops, may travel up to 124 miles (200 kilometers) each day.

A locust plague may allegedly decrease the subsistence of one-tenth of the world’s population.

Driver Ant

  • Number of species: around 60
  • Genus: Dorylus

There are over 20 million insects in each driver ant colony. When food gets scarce, driver ants march in long lines of millions of insects, eating anything (and occasionally bigger animals) in their way.

The stings of drivers ants are powerful, but they normally attack with their jaws. Their bite is very painful. The jaws of ants are also known to be used by locals to close wounds, even though the ant’s head and body are separated.

Fennec Fox

  • Scientific Name: Vulpes zerda
  • Conservation Status: Least Concern

The dog family’s smallest member is the fennec fox. The Sahara Desert and other arid parts of Africa are home to this species.

The fennec fox’s enormous ears are beneficial for living in arid climates. By transferring the fox’s body heat into the air, they help it stay cool.

The fennec fox has superb hearing, able to detect prey moving underground from a distance of up to 2 kilometers.


  • Scientific Name: Giraffa camelopardalis
  • Conservation Status: Vulnerable

One of the most distinctive African animals is the giraffe. The giraffe is the world’s tallest land animal, with a long neck and stilt-like legs.

Giraffes can eat leaves that other animals cannot reach because of their large height.

The number of giraffe species is a point of contention. Only one species is recognized by some authorities, such as the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Some, like the Catalogue of Life, recognize four species; others recognize eight.

Horn-like growths known as ossicones grow on the heads of both male and female giraffes.

The okapi, which you’ll encounter later on in the page, is the giraffe’s closest living relative.


  • Number of species: 2
  • Genus: Gorilla
  • Both the eastern gorilla and the western gorilla are Critically Endangered

The world’s largest primate is the gorilla. (Primates refers to a group of animals that includes apes, monkeys, and lemurs).

Gorillas are primarily herbivorous, despite their fearsome looks.

The great ape family Hominidae includes gorillas. Another member of this family can be seen in the mirror!

Eastern gorillas and western gorillas are the two distinct species of gorilla. They both live in Central Africa’s forests.

The mountain gorilla and eastern lowland gorilla are two subspecies of the eastern gorilla. The western lowland gorilla and the Cross River gorilla are two subspecies of western gorillas.

Gorillas of both types are on the verge of extinction. Poaching has been shown to be the primary driver of both species’ continued decline.


  • Scientific Name: Hippopotamus amphibius
  • Conservation Status: Vulnerable

Hippopotamus is a word that comes from ancient Greek and means “river horse.” This enormous creature, which has a semi-aquatic lifestyle, is appropriately named.

These herbivorous animals, dubbed as “hippos,” spend the majority of their day bathing in water or mud and are only seen at night when the temperature drops.

In Africa’s rainforests, there are two smaller hippo species: the pygmy hippo.

The Cetaceans, which include whales and porpoises, are the closest relatives of the hippos in the animal kingdom.


  • Number of species: 4
  • Family: Hyaenidae

The spotted hyena, brown hyena, striped hyena, and aardwolf are the four currently living species of Hyaenidae.

Hyenas are more closely related to cats than they are to dogs. Carnivora is a two-branching animal group that includes both dogs and cats. Dogs, bears, and seals are found in one; cats, mongooses, and hyenas are found in the other.

The striped hyena and the brown hyena are the only hyenas that find most of their food this way, despite their reputation for being scavengers. Most of its own prey is actively hunted by the spotted hyena (also known as the laughing hyena).

Among the hyenas, the aardwolf is the one who is different. It feeds on insects like ants and termites instead of big animals, placing it near the top of this list of African creatures.


  • Number of species: 3
  • Genus: Canis (although not all members of the genus are jackals)

Three small to medium-sized canids (Canidae family members) with two of which found in Africa are given the name jackal.

Sub-Saharan Africa is home to both the black-backed jackal and the side-stripe jackal, which is closely related.

(In Europe and Asia, the golden jackal is more akin to the grey wolf than any of the other jackals.)

At dawn and dusk, Jackals are most active. They are predators of tiny creatures, feeding on carrion, and they also consume plant materials.

Kori Bustard

  • Scientific Name: Ardeotis kori
  • Conservation Status: Near Threatened

Africa’s biggest flying bird and the world’s heaviest flying animal, the kori bustard, is found there. It has a 275 cm (9 ft.) wingspan and grows to be 1.2 m (3.94 ft.) tall. Male and female kori bustards have a significant size disparity, with males weighing up to three times as much as females.

This enormous African bird is only occasionally spotted in trees and seldom flies. It creates its home on the ground.

In southern Africa, the species is commonly seen in open grasslands.

Lappet-Faced Vulture

  • Scientific Name: Torgos tracheliotos
  • Conservation Status: Endangered

The lappet-faced vulture is one of Africa’s largest vultures, with a wingspan of up to 2.9 meters (9.5 feet), slightly bigger than the Cape vulture and the griffon vulture.

Around carrion, the lappet-faced vulture is at the top of the pecking order. Before it has eaten its fill, it uses its bulk and strength to bully smaller scavengers.

In reality, with its enormous hooked beak, the lappet-faced vulture is assisting other species in tearing open leathery hides that others could not penetrate.

The lappet-faced vulture, for example, primarily feeds on sight in Old World vultures. New World vultures have a superior sense of smell, which they lack.


  • Scientific Name: Panthera pardus
  • Conservation Status: Vulnerable

Both Africa and Asia are home to the leopard, a swift, strong big cat. It has a pattern of little rings called “rosettes” on its coat. These help this adaptable species blend in with the environment in which it lives, whether it be grasslands or forests.

The leopard has the ability to carry its prey up a tree, which is exemplified by its immense power. The leopard may avoid its meal being stolen by lions and other predators by doing this.


  • Scientific Name: Panthera leo
  • Conservation Status: Vulnerable

The lion is one of Africa’s most well-known animals and is now endangered, as are many of the continent’s other big cats.

The total number of adult lions left in the wild is estimated to be between 23,000 That’s over half the number of people who watch a single NFL game, with 39,000 watching.

Persecution by livestock farmers, who see the lion as a danger to their livelihoods, is the primary reason for the lion’s ongoing decline. The species’ decline has also been exacerbated by habitat loss.

The lion is the second biggest of the Felidae family (tigers are the biggest). Savanna, grassland, woodland, and the fringes of deserts are just a few of the habitats where it may be found.

The lion, unlike most cats, lives in groups known as prides and is a social animal. Many females and their offspring, either one or a small number of males, make up a typical pride.

Lions may spend up to 20 hours a day resting, as they are mostly inactive during the day.


  • Number of species: 34 (29 of which have the word ‘mongoose’ in their names).
  • Family: Herpestidae

The Herpestridae family of mongooses includes small carnivorous animals. The term “mongoose” appears in the names of only 29 species of mongoose, out of a total of 34. In addition to Africa, mongooses may be found across Asia and southern Europe.

The meerkat, which lives in arid and other dry environments across Africa, is one of the most well-known mongoose species.

Mongooses are daytime animals (active). Insects, earthworms, crabs, lizards, and other tiny creatures make up the majority of their diet. Mongooses may also devour serpents and are resistant to snake venom.


  • Number of species: There are around 153 species of Old World Monkey. Not all are found in Africa.
  • Family: Cercopithecidae (Old World Monkeys)

Several monkey species may be found in Africa. The black-and-white colobus monkey, mandrill, vervet monkey (shown above), and five species of baboon are all well-known examples of African monkeys.

The Cercopithecidae family of animals, also known as Old World Monkeys, includes all monkeys found in Africa.

Old World monkeys are more akin to apes than are New World monkeys from the Americas.

Old World monkeys don’t have prehensile tails, unlike New World Monkeys, which allows them to climb trees.

In the Central African rainforest, you may see the world’s biggest monkey, the mandrill.


  • Number of species: around 3,500 (not all found in Africa)
  • Family: Culicidae

Mosquitoes are one of the most dangerous African creatures despite their tiny size. Mosquitoes feed on the blood of a wide range of species, including humans. The bug spreads deadly illnesses such as malaria, yellow fever, and dengue fever, despite the fact that only a little amount of blood is taken at a time.

Mosquitoes pierce their victim’s skin with their highly adapted mouthparts and suck up the blood. While the mosquito is feeding, chemicals in their saliva prevent blood from clotting.

Mosquitoes kill more people every year than any other animal.

Nile Monitor

  • Scientific Name: Varanus niloticus
  • Conservation Status: Unassessed

The Nile monitor, which can reach lengths of over 2 meters (6.56 feet), is one of Africa’s largest lizards. It can be found across Sub-Saharan Africa, as well as along the Nile River in North Africa.

Rivers are a common habitat for this African reptile. It swims well and uses its tail like a crocodile to propel itself through the water. It can breathe while in the water because its nostrils are positioned high on its snout.


  • Scientific Name: Okapia johnstoni
  • Conservation Status: Endangered

The forests of Central Africa are home to this shy, seldom-seen African animal. Its closest relative is the giraffe, despite its zebra-like stripes. The okapi’s patterns help it blend in with its surroundings in the woodland habitat.

Male okapi have ossicones, which are horn-like projections on the head. (Both male and female giraffes have ossicones.)

Because of the loss of its native forest habitat, the okapi is an endangered species.

Ostrich (Common)

  • Scientific Name: Struthio camelus
  • Conservation Status: Least Concern

One of two ostrich species, both of which live in Africa, is the common ostrich.

The Somali ostrich is the other type of ostrich.) In 2014, it was decided that it constituted a different species from the ordinary ostrich.)

Although the common ostrich isn’t capable of flight, it nonetheless holds the world record. It is not only the world’s largest bird, but it is also the quickest (on land) and lays the most eggs!

Grasses, flowers, seeds, and other plant materials are all eaten by the common ostrich. It may also eat insects on occasion, as well.

Grasses, flowers, seeds, and other plant materials are all eaten by the common ostrich. It will also eat insects on occasion.

The cheetah is one of the few species that can capture the common ostrich, which is its primary predator.


  • Number of species: 8 (4 are found in Africa)
  • Family: Manidae

Pangolin species number 8, 4 of which are found in Africa. Tree pangolin, long-tailed pangolin, giant pangolin, and ground pangolin are the four African species of pangolins. All four African pangolins are classified as vulnerable species.

Pangolin scales are hard and armored, forming their coats. Keratin is the material used to create the scales, and it’s the same stuff that makes up our fingernails. The scales of a pangolin account for around 20% of its body weight.

A pangolin will roll up into an armored ball when it is threatened. Pangolins are able to release an unpleasant-smelling chemical as an additional defense against predators.

Pangolins are insectivorous (insect-eaters) and prefer to spend their nights sleeping. Ants and termites are the major sources of their food, which they capture with their long, slender tongues.

Puff Adder

  • Scientific Name: Bitis arietans
  • Conservation Status: Currently Unassessed

A venomous African snake known as the puff adder. The species is found across Africa, with the exception of rainforests and desert areas, and is one of the most widely distributed snakes. Savannas and grasslands are the most common habitats.

The puff adder is the most deadly snake in Africa due to its profusion. The species is known to be aggressive and its venom is extremely harmful. It’s a night ambush hunter that waits for its targets to come within striking distance before attacking.


  • Number of species: 5 (2 species found in Africa)
  • Family: Rhinocerotidae

Rhinos are among the planet’s largest land creatures, weighing up to two tons each. Rhinoceros is derived from the Greek term rhinos, which means “nose horn.”

The white rhinoceros and the black rhinoceros are two of the five species of rhino, both of which live in Africa.

Two horns grow on the nose of both African species. The species’ characteristic nose horns and enormous size distinguish them as one of Africa’s most well-known animals.

Males of the white rhinoceros (the bigger of the two sexes) weigh about 2400 kg (5,000 lb.) and are the biggest of all rhinos. With males weighing around 1400 kg (3,090 lb.) and females weighing about 900 kg (2,000 lb), the black rhino is far from a tiny animal.

Both the white and black rhino are grey, despite their names. The white rhino has square lips; the black rhino’s lips are beak-shaped, which is the easiest way to tell them apart.

Herbivores include rhinos. Grass is the primary source of their food.

The white rhinoceros is classified as a Near Threatened species.

With a wild population of around 5,000, the black rhinoceros is severely endangered.

Poaching is the greatest danger to both species. Rhino horns are utilized to make ornaments and may be ground into powder for traditional Chinese medicine. The weight in gold of rhino horns is literally worth it.

Royal Goliath Beetle

  • Scientific Name: Goliathus regius
  • Conservation Status: Currently Unassessed

Goliath beetles are the world’s biggest insects, in both their larval and adult form. The five species of Goliath beetle live in Africa’s tropical forests.

The royal Goliath beetle is one of the largest Goliath beetles, reaching a length of up to 11 cm (4.3 in) and a weight of 60 g (2.1 oz.) in its adult form.

Goliath beetles are herbivorous. As larvae they feed on rotting wood, whereas as adults they feed on tree sap and fruit.

Secretary Bird

  • Scientific Name: Sagittarius serpentarius
  • Conservation Status: Vulnerable

In sub-Saharan Africa, the secretary bird is a huge and distinctive raptor. It is famed for hunting venomous snakes, but it will also eat a range of other creatures.

The long-legged hunter is a ground-based hunter that seldom flies. Instead, when running and hunting snake prey, the secretary bird balances on its long wings; by extending its wings, it perplexes the snake into not striking.


  • Scientific Name: Leptailurus serval
  • Conservation Status: Least Concern

The serval is a large wild cat that can be found across most of sub-Saharan Africa. It has gold fur with dark patterns and grows to be up to 2 feet (62 cm) tall at the shoulder.

In terms of body size, the serval’s legs are the longest of any cat. It has large ears and a sound-based hearing ability; it locates prey.

Rodents are the serval’s major food source, but it will also consume birds and reptiles. During the day and at night, it is active.

Savannas are where the species is most often found.

Warthog (Common)

  • Scientific Name: Phacochoerus africanus
  • Conservation Status: Least Concern

Both the common and desert warthogs are found in Africa and are members of the same species.

The pig family, Suidae, includes warthogs. The fleshy protrusions on the faces of both species are referred to as ‘wart hog.’

Throughout most of sub-Saharan Africa, the common warthog is found. It prefers grassland, savanna, and woodland environments.

Warthog tusks are utilized as a weapon against other warthogs and as a defense mechanism against predators. Tusks are extended teeth that protrude from the mouth of each individual pair. The top tusks are canine teeth that grow before curving upwards from the upper jaw.


  • Number of species: 2
  • Genus: Connochaetes

Wildebeest have shaggy manes and long tails, as well as upwardly-curving horns. Gnus is another term for them.

The blue and black wildebeest are the two types of wildebeests that exist.

South Africa and neighboring countries are home to the black wildebeest. The blue wildebeest may be found across several countries in southern and south-central Africa, and has a larger range.

The black wildebeest is bigger than the blue wildebeest. Its neck and shoulders are striped in grey, which is darker. Dark brown or black wildebeestes are found.

The Great Migration of Serengeti and Masai Mara sees over 1.7 million blue wildebeest take part. Hundreds of thousands of gazelles and zebras undertake this annual circular migration, which is one of the world’s most spectacular natural spectacles.


  • Number of species: 3
  • Genus: Equus (also in this genus are the wild horse, the donkey, and two species of wild ass)

A zebra can be identified by almost everyone in the world, but fewer people are aware that there are three distinct zebra species: plains zebra, mountain zebra, and Grévy’s zebra.

The genus Equus encompasses all three zebra species. The horse and the donkey are both members of this same group (which also includes two lesser-known species: the African wild ass and the kiang, an Asian ass).

The purpose of the zebra’s stripes has been the subject of many theories. Camouflage, heat dispersion, the production of an optical illusion to trick predators, and the creation of a less appealing zebra to biting flies (studies in which horses were painted with stripes) are all possible explanations.

The most commonly seen and distributed zebra is the plains zebra. It may be found throughout southern and central Africa. Due to over-hunting and the fencing off of traditional grazing routes, the species’ conservation status is currently rated as Near Threatened.

The zebra mountain ranges from southwest Africa’s hot, rocky highlands to the hilly or mountainous. No stripes can be seen on this species’ undersides. The mountain zebra is classified as Viable by the IUCN.

Grévy’s zebra is the world’s biggest wild horse as well as the world’s biggest species of zebra. Eastern Central Africa is home to this species. Grévy’s zebra is classified as endangered by the IUCN. While the population is now stable, there are only around 2,000 adult individuals in the wild.

African Animals List: Conclusion & Related Pages

We hope that you have enjoyed this list of African animals

What is your favorite African animal? Have we forgotten anyone? Tell us what you think in the comments below!

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