Africa is world-renowned for its vast safaris and deserts, with each country being home to its own unique set of animals. Of course, everybody knows about giraffes, lions, and hyenas, yet, there are many more creatures to discover in the animal kingdom, each as exciting and bewildering as the next.
This list uncovers ten of the most interesting animals unique to Africa.
1. African Civet
The African civet can weigh between 9.5 and 20 kg and be as long as 2-2.8 feet, with the tail adding an extra 1-1.5 feet. It inhabits woodlands, open savannah, and forests of the Sub-Sahara. Following an omnivorous diet of reptiles, insects, fruit, and birds, this nocturnal animal is one of the least fussy eaters.
2. Grey-Crowned Crane
The national bird of Uganda can be distinctly identified by its vibrant colours and the yellow ‘crown’ of feathers on the back of its head. The grey-crowned lives in wetland and grassland areas like marshes and rivers. This bird is an omnivore and eats insects, lizards, and seeds. It is about 1 m tall and weighs 3.5 kg.
3. Guereza colobus
The mantled guereza is a very special monkey and is utterly distinct from other species. It is primarily black with flowy white fringes of hair along the sides of its back called a mantle. This monkey has no thumb, which is also how it got its name ‘colobus’ (Greek for mutilated). You can find the guereza in West Central and East Africa mainly in secondary forests near rivers and lakes, munching on leaves, seeds, fruits, and arthropods. Male guerezas typically weigh 9.3-13.5 kg, while females weigh 7.8-9.2 kg.
The klipspringer is a small antelope found in the rocky terrains of Eastern and Southern Africa and weighs about 8-18 kg. This creature is a browser and mainly eats young plants, fruits and flowers.
5. African Wild Dog
The African wild dog is one of Africa’s most endangered animals. Threatened by drastic changes to their preferred habitats, disease, and hunting, an estimated 6.600 adult African wild dogs, are still alive. This diurnal canine preys on antelope and weighs approximately 18 to 36 kg.
The dik-dik is a member of the antelope family, with the males weighing between 3.8 kg to 7.2 kg and the females weighing 1 kg more. These adorable bucks live in the bushlands of Eastern and Southern Africa. They are herbivores and feast mainly on foliage, shoots, fruit, and berries.
The okapi is the last surviving relative of the giraffe and is, unfortunately, one of the most endangered animals on the continent. Found in the rainforests of the Republic of Congo, its most special physical features are the stripes on the front legs and rear end of their bodies, giving them a half-horse, half-zebra appearance.
They are carnivores and can reach up to 8 feet in length.
Also known as ‘camel birds’ for their ability to live in the extremely high temperatures of the savannas and deserts of Central and Southern Africa without water for long periods, ostriches are the largest bird in the world, weighing up to 160kg.
Standing at about 2-2.7m tall, an ostrich’s kick is powerful enough to kill a human. They enjoy a carnivorous diet consisting of leaves, seeds, lizards, and snakes.
This nocturnal creature of East Africa’s bushlands and woodlands is also referred to as a bushbaby because of its 6-8 inch stature and 10 oz weight. The galago is proof that dynamite comes in small packages as it can jump up to 2.25 metres because of its powerful back legs. In addition, their big ears and eyes allow them to see and hear excellently in the nighttime while they feed on tree gums, fruits, and insects.
This peculiar-looking bird gets its name from its shoe-like bill, which can grow as long as 9 inches and helps it feed on its prey, including lizards, turtles, water snakes, and rats. The shoebill can be as tall as 4 metres and weigh up to 6 kg and are only found in the swamps and marshes of Eastern Africa.