Africa is home to the largest land animals including elephants, lions, and giraffes among others. There are, however, many other lesser-known animals that live in Africa, one of them being the wildebeests which attract tourists from across the globe.
Here is the list of 10 amazing animals that roam around the African continent.
People across the globe have come to know and witness the world famed wildebeest migration which is the movement of a large number of the Serengeti’s Wildebeest between Tanzania and Kenya- especially.
Image: Scotch Macaskil
Wildebeest belong to a genus of antelopes and are in the same family as cattle, goats, and sheep. There are two different species, the black wildebeest, and the blue wildebeest- both found in Africa. Fossil records indicate that the two diverged with the blue wildebeest experiencing little changes from the ancestral species. In contrast, the black wildebeest had to change and adapt to its open grassland habitat in the south. The two are distinctly different in their coloring and in the way their horns are oriented. Both male and female wildebeests are adorned with horns.
These animals can grow to reach 8 feet weighing up to 275 kg. They live in large herds.
The African civet is found across sub-Saharan Africa in different species and is the only remaining member of its genetic group.
While the African civet might appear like cats, they are not felines and are actually more closely related to Mongoose and Weasels.
Each African civet comes in different pattern of brown and black spots which provide great camouflage in forest. Their habitat includes highlands, lowlands, forests, open savannah and swamps. To mark its territory, the animal secrets a fluid, civet, used in the manufacturing of perfumes.
The animal, whose habitat includes the savannah and woodland, has a long neck, only beaten by giraffes. Although big in appearance, greater Kudu are known to be swift and excellent jumpers (can cover up to 6.6 feet high).
A descendant of the antelope family, greater kudus are found in Eastern and Southern Africa. They are one of the longest-horned antelopes in the world. The notable twisted horns are only found in male kudus.
Also a species of antelope, Beisa oryx is found in East Africa and comes in two subspecies: the common Beisa Oryx mainly found in the Horn of Africa’s steppes and semi-deserts, and fringe-eared Oryx commonly found in southern Kenya and part of Tanzania. Unlike kudus, both sexes grow horns, but the females’ tend to be longer.
With soft-tan grey as the main color, a black stripe separating it from the white underbelly, Beisa Oryx stands 110 to 120 centimeters at the shoulder. It has striking black stripes on the neck, along the nose from the eyes to the corner of the mouth, and on the forehead.
Also known as ‘camel bird’ for their ability to withstand high temperatures, ostrich is the largest bird in the world. They have a length of up to 2.7 meters weighing about 160 kg. Ostriches are mainly found in savannas and deserts in Southern and Central Africa.
Somalia hosts a unique type which unlike others appears darker, with a blue-grey neck and legs instead of pink. Additionally, the Somali ostrich doesn’t have the white ring at the base of their necks as seen in others.
The birds are known for their speed which can reach 43 miles per hour. Their kicks are strong and fatal. One kick can kill a man!
They lay the largest eggs in the world.
Colobus is a Greek word for ‘mutilated’ pointing to the fact that the colobus have no thumbs.
Despite this, they are among the most attractive African monkeys. Guereza colobus adorn a salient glossy black and white fur and notably long tail. At a closer range, you will notice the baby-like innocent black-brown eyes which standout against the white far on its forehead and cheeks.
They are mostly found in green forests of West-central and East Africa.
These monkeys rarely come down from the trees, preferring to jump from branch to branch. With their long tail and shoulders to provide balance, the monkeys can leap as high as 15 meters. Their stomachs are designed to digest mature or toxic foliage that other monkeys can’t.
One of the strangest birds in the world, shoebill is named after its enormous shoe-like bill. It is one of the most solitary birds, coming together only to breed.
Image: Pavan- on Flickr CC BY 2.0
Its bill can grow up to 9 inches and is used as a tool to attack predators. Shoe-bill launches ambush attack on its predators after remaining motionless until the prey approaches it. They can reach about 4 feet in length and weigh around 6 kg.
Dwarf mongoose seems like a friendly animal. It has a close relationship with rough-scaled plated lizards but also a symbiotic relationship with red- and yellow-billed hornbills.
While rough-scaled plated lizards live with the mongoose as they feed on their dung, the hornbills eat insects that the dwarf mongoose disturbs, and in return the birds alert the mongoose of impending danger when predators are approaching.
Unlike in other species, dwarf mongooses, has a female in charge, and live in a group made up of her relatives and they will stay together until she dies. It is the smallest member of the mongoose family weighing around 275 g and measuring 18-26 cm with a long tail (12-20 cm). They live in savannah, mountain scrub brush and woodlands.
Galagos are also known as bushbabies mainly found in bushlands, and woodlands throughout East Africa.
The small primate has a length between 6-8 inches weighing up to 10 oz (0.3 kg). They come in grey or brown colors with large foldable ears, giving them an excellent sense of hearing. The nocturnal animal also has great night vision.
Image: Dr Giuseppe Mazza
They have strong hind legs which propel them to the remarkable height of 2.25 meters. They also have elastic joints allowing them to move easily from one branch to another.
Did you know that galagos have an additional tongue hidden under their main tongue? Now you know.
Grey crowned crane
Grey crowned cranes lay 2-3 eggs at a time, making it the largest average egg clutch of any crane. It is mainly found in wetlands and grasslands.
Adults measure 100-110 cm from the head to the tail, and weigh 3-4 kg, with a wingspan of 180-200 cm.
Image: Shawn Olesen
The cranes are not picky eaters. They adapt to changes to the landscape easily.
They are one of only two species of crane that perch- thanks to their long hind toe- and sometimes build nests atop trees. Staying in trees helps them to avoid ground predators.