When it comes to the biggest variety of wild species, Africa pretty much has every other continent beat. There’s little wonder it’s the safari capital of the globe! In fact, people come from all over the world every year to witness these creatures in their natural habitats. So, let’s take a closer look – here are some fun facts about African animals you’ll want to remember.
1. Who are the Big Five?
Africa is famous for playing host to the “Big Five” game animals. These include the African lion, Cape buffalo, African elephant, rhinoceros (both black and white species), and African leopard.
2. Now that’s an elephant!
The African elephant is known for being the largest land mammal in the world! Males can weigh up to 12,000 pounds (5,400 kg) and and stand up to 13 feet (4 meters) tall!
3. You can’t outpace this African beast…
Africa’s home to just more than one record-breaking beast. The African cheetah is the fastest land-based creature in the world! It is capable of reaching a blistering 70 miles per hour (equivalent to around 112 kilometers per hour) – meaning you’d be hard-pressed to outrun it even in a car!
4. The records keep on coming!
Of course, the tallest living terrestrial animal is also native to Africa – the giraffe! Males can stand up to 18 feet (5.5 meters) tall – and their long necks help them reach leaves and buds on tall trees, so don’t think it’s all for looks!
5. Never smile at a crocodile!
The Nile crocodile is by far and away one of the largest reptiles in the world. It can grow up to a staggering 20 feet (6 meters) in length and is known for its powerful bite. So, maybe avoid going for a swim in Egypt unless you’ve checked for crocs beforehand!
6. No, you can’t get friendly with a Cape buffalo.
Many consider the Cape buffalo, also known as the African buffalo, to be one of the most dangerous animals in Africa. This is due to its unpredictable nature and willingness to charge when threatened. So, again, it’s best just to stay out of their way!
7. They just can’t wait to be king!
Although we tend to think of African lions as quite solitary beings, they are actually very social animals! That isn’t to say that you should invite one round for tea, but rather that they live in prides.
8. The hunt is on!
Lions are known for being skilled hunters. They can easily take down prey much larger than themselves, such as wildebeests and zebras. And, it is lionesses that tend to be the primary hunters in the prides!
9. Poachers are rife.
Poachers pose huge problems for African animals. The African rhinoceros, in particular, is heavily targeted by poachers for its horns, which are sold on the black market. Both the black rhino and white rhino species are at risk of extinction!
10. Think they got lost?
Although we tend to think of animals that enjoy a warmer climate when we think of Africa, believe it or not, it is also home to penguins! The African penguin, also called the jackass penguin (no joke), is the only species of this bird found on the continent! They are adapted to warm climates and can withstand high temperatures, which explains their presence on the continent.
FAQs about African Animals
What is the most unique animal in Africa?
Many consider the dugong to be the most unique animal in Africa! However, wildebeests, ostriches, okapis, and pangolins are all odd creatures that grab the attention of locals as well as tourists. Look out for jackass penguins, too!
What is the hardest animal to find in Africa?
Pangolins are among the rarest animals in the world. Therefore, even though they live in Africa, it can be difficult to spot one in the wild when you’re on safari. Consider yourself lucky if you do!
What is the most common pet in Africa?
Given the variety of incredible species in Africa, you might assume that Africans would prefer keeping exotic animals as pets! However, dogs are the most common pets in Africa - and we probably wouldn’t recommend you keep anything more aggressive!
Do you know any fun facts about African animals? Share them in the comments below!