Africa is home to thousands of unique animal species, many of which are admired around the world. They’re the subjects of most nature documentaries, popular in zoos and shows, and there are lots of safari opportunities in Africa that allow us to see them in their natural habitat.
There are over 1000 mammal species, around 2300 bird species, 1600 reptile species, and countless amphibians! It’s no surprise that when people think of the continent, they imagine majestic animals roaming its plains under the hot sun. There is a world of knowledge surrounding Africa’s amazing creatures, so let’s get into the specifics.
What are African Animals?
African animals are, simply put, animals that are unique to Africa or any of its regions. The African country that boasts the biggest wildlife scene is Tanzania. However, biologists and researchers hop across all parts of the continent in discovery of the unknown.
Some African animals are harmless, however, many are dangerous predators. Researching these animals up close can be a risky job. One of the reasons we should care about African animals is because many species are endangered. Conservation centers and zoos are working to save numerous species from extinction, such as rhinos and gorillas.
Types of African Animals
Some basic types of African animals include lions and other wildcats, elephants, rhinoceroses, giraffes, wild dogs, zebras, primates, a variety of birds, snakes, crocodiles, sea creatures, unique spiders and insects, and more. All of these branch out into varying species. Let’s take a look at some specific African animals that deserve recognition!
List of African Animals
- African Bush Elephants
- Katanga Lions
- Angolan Giraffes
- Mountain Zebras
- Spotted Hyenas
- Black Rhinoceroses
- African Penguins
- Bush Vipers
- Egyptian Cobras
- Nile Crocodiles
- Six-Eyed Sand Spiders
Fun Facts About African Animals
- African elephants live up to 70 years in the wild. Their life expectancy is shorter in captivity.
- Elephants are mammals despite their appearance. While they don’t sport a fur coat, the hair that they have is helpful in keeping them cool in the heat.
- An adult elephant’s heart can weigh up to 46 pounds. In comparison, a human heart weighs a little less than a pound at maximum. Their hearts also beat at 30 beats per minute whereas a human heart beats 2-3 times as fast.
- An elephant’s brain is also much heftier than a human’s brain at 12 pounds! The function of their brains can be compared with other intelligent animals such as chimps or dolphins. They have significant emotional capabilities as well as decision making processes. They are also very social animals. Although controversial, elephants have a history of being taught “tricks” for entertainment purposes.
- While lions are known to be fierce predators, the success rate of hunts is around 30%. Common prey such as antelopes run at speeds up to 60 miles an hour. Lions are a bit behind in running speeds, but they can still reach a solid 50 miles an hour.
- A “pride” refers to a lion’s social circle. Prides can have dozens of members! Female lions often stay in their original prides while male lions may start their own pride. Members of a pride support each other with food, defend their young, and are very serious about keeping outsiders off their turf.
- Lions even prey on giraffes! However, more than one lion must work together if they’re to take down prey of this size.
- Giraffes are the world’s tallest animals – no surprise there! They can grow up to be 20 feet tall and their necks can make up a large fraction of their height.
- Besides having long legs and long necks, giraffes also have long tongues that help them swipe leaves from trees. A typical giraffe’s tongue is 20 inches long and is also very durable against thorns.
- Giraffes tend to live twice as long in captivity than they do in the wild. In captivity, a giraffe can live to be 35-40 years old.
- A subspecies of rhino known as the Northern White Rhino only has 2 members left, which live in a Kenyan conservation center. Although critically endangered, measures are being taken to save the species.
- Although species exist such as the black rhino and white rhino, all rhinos are grey. The white rhino’s name is derived from the Afrikaans term “wyd” which means “wide”. Later, the English name for the animal was simply changed to “white”.
- Their size means nothing when it comes to how fast a rhino can run. They can run up to 40 miles per hour! They are rarely threatened by other animals, but if they feel threatened, they have the ability to get away rather quickly.