Southern African Animals Checklist
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Animal seen

Location seen

Date & time

Conditions

Aardvark. Eats termites with its 40cm sticky tongue. Nocturnal.

 

 

 

Aardwolf. Looks like a small striped hyena. Nocturnal.

 

 

 

Bat-eared fox. Very large ears. Has 48 teeth, more than any other carnivore. Yellowish with black face.

 

 

 

Bongo. Brownish coat, vertical white stripes, spiral horns. Shy - difficult to see.

 

 

 

Buffalo. Weighs up to 800kg. Lives in large herds. Unpredictable and quite dangerous.

 

 

 

Bushbaby or Galago. Can jump 3m. Known for its wide variety of calls. Nocturnal.

 

 

 

Bushbuck. Straight twisted horns - dark brown to black - white spot on cheek and two white patches on neck and throat. Shy, nocturnal, solitary.

 

 

 

Bushpig. Red blackish skin - no tusks - tail down when running. Nocturnal.

 

 

 

Caracal or Lynx. Very long hair at the end of the ears Makes 3m high leaps. Nocturnal.

 

 

 

Cheetah. Black line from eye to mouth - slender body (60kg) - black spotted coat. Solitary hunter. Fastest land animal with speeds up to 95km/hr In Red Dula Book (see below).

 

 

 

Civet. Long body and long furry tail - white muzzle with black band around the eyes like a mask. Secretion used in perfume industry. Nocturnal.

 

 

 

Crocodile. Swallows its meat whole without chewing. Grows up to 6m. Lays eggs.

 

 

 

Dik-Dik. 30cm high and weighs less than 4kg. Very fast runner and leaps in zig-zags, Hair on top of head in upright tufts.      

Duiker. 50cm high. Short spike-like horns - white and black tail - reddish brown - makes a whistle-like sound when frightened. Lives in wooded areas - nocturnal.

 

 

 

Eland. Heavy and largest antelope up to 1000kg - twisted horns - flap of skin from throat. Agile with 3m long leaps. 

 

 

 

Elephant. Up to 4m high and weighs up to 7000kg - eats 350kg of vegetation per day and drinks 200 / 250 litres of water. Longest mammal gestation period, up to 22/24 months - baby weighs 120kg. Lifespan up to 70 years.

 

 

 

Forest Hog. Blackish grey. Mostly nocturnal.

 

 

 

Gazelle Grant. Dark nose spot - white stripe from horn to nose - long curved horns.

 

 

 

Gazelle Thompson. Black horizontal line on body and white belly - long slightly curved ringed horns.

 

 

 

Genet. Catlike carnivore - dark line in the middle of the back - pointed nose - pale yellowish tail. Nocturnal.

 

 

 

Gerenuk or Waller's Gazelle. Very long neck - stands on its hind legs to reach high branches.

 

 

 

Giraffe. Tallest animal, up to 5.5m high - weighs up to 1200kg - in Roman times called spotted camel - runs up to 50 km/hr very long neck has only 7 vertebrae 50cm tongue is the longest of all animals.

 

 

 

Ground Squirrel

 

 

 

Grysbok. Reddish coat with white speckles - large elongated ears - very short horns.

 

 

 

Hartebeest. 5 or 6 white stripes across the back - long corkscrew horns. Stands guard on little mounds (knolls, termite hills).

 

 

 

Hippopotamus. Weighs 3500-5000kg - fast swimmer and walks on the bottom in shallows - can stay up to 5 minutes underwater. Mouth opens 150 degrees. 

 

 

 

Honey Badger. Furry black legs and white back. Nocturnal. 

 

 

 

Hyena (Spotted, Striped). Feeds on leftovers - produces a laughing noise. Black-spotted hairy coat. Fights lions in organized bands - mainly nocturnal.

 

 

 

Hyrax (Tree, Rock). Little furry animal, tree hyrax has sticky substance on feet to climb trees. Shy, nocturnal.

 

 

 

Impala. Fast runner jumps 9m long / 3m high. Black stripes on thighs - long Iyre-shaped horns (males only). Emblem of the East African Wildlife Society.

 

 

 

Jackal. Yellow golden coat - looks like a wolf. Feeds on carcasses and follows vultures. One of the very few mammals to have mates for life. Emits a singing sound in the evening whilst watching the moon - nocturnal. 

 

 

 

Klipspringer. 50cm high - yellowish grey coat. Very agile on rocky grounds, their natural habitat.

 

 

 

Kudu Greater. About 130cm high - white stripes on back and white between eyes - hairy throat fringe - 6 to 8 vertical white stripes - greyish

 

 

 

Kudu Lesser. 100cm high - white marks on throat - no hairy fringe -10 to 15 side stripes - greyish - small horns.

 

 

 

Leopard. Takes kill up the trees. Very short 3-month gestation period. Solitary and difficult to see.

 

 

 

Lion. Weighs up to 250kg - can run up to 60km/hr - hunts mostly at night. Roar can be heard 6km away.

 

 

 

Mongoose (Dwarf, Grey, Black-tipped, White-tailed, Banded). Live in dense bush - attack their prey in bands.

 

 

 

Monitor Lizard. Mostly aquatic - can grow to 2m.

 

 

 

Oribi. 60cm high - dark spot under ears - long hair tufts on each knee - short spike-like horns.

 

 

 

Oryx Beisa. The only non jumping antelope. Fine, sharp 70cm horns can pass through victim's body.

 

 

 

Ostrich.  Largest of all birds...but cannot fly - runs up to 60km/hr.

 

 

 

Otter (Clawless, Spotted). Found in rivers, lake shores. 

 

 

 

Pangolin. Eats ants, termites with its long sticky tongue - has no teeth - large scales used for protection by rolling in a ball.

 

 

 

Porcupine. Nocturnal only - practically impossible to see.

 

 

 

Potto. Small bear-like animal without tail astonished eyes. Lives on top of trees. Lethargic.

 

 

 

Pulcu. Lyre-shaped spiral horns. Rare.

 

 

 

Reedbuck. Shy, elusive antelope - when in danger hides in squatting position and bolts at the last moment.

 

 

 

Rhinoceros. Weighs up to 1500kg. Can live up to 50 years - poor eyesight but acute sense of hearing and smell - solitary and difficult to see - in Red Data Book.

 

 

 

Roan Antelope. Long pointed ears - long hair on throat - reddish coat - sickle-shaped horns.

 

 

 

Sable Antelope. Lots of hair from neck to shoulder black-reddish brown - sickle-shaped ringed horns. Fairly rare.

 

 

 

Servtil. Sleek small cat like mammal - black spots and stripes. Nocturnal - difficult to see.

 

 

 

Shrew. Mouse-like furry little mammal - also called 'elephant shrew' because of its anatomic similarities with...elephants!

 

 

 

Sltatunga. Small aquatic antelope - swims very well - hides underwater showing nostrils only - mostly nocturnal. White bands on body - shaggy red-brownish hair - high long spiral horns (males only).

 

 

 

Squirrel (Scalley-tailed flying). Lives at the top of high trees - glides up to 60 / 70m with its open membrane - difficult to see.

 

 

 

Steinbok. Black patch between horns and on nose white belly and buttocks. Solitary.

 

 

 

Suni. 30 cm high. Comes out at sunrise and sundown - very difficult to see.

 

 

 

Topi. Short black tail - dark blue patches on legs. Drop to their knees to fight and clash their heavy ridged black horns.

 

 

 

Warthog. Fairly large tusks. Kneels down when eating - runs with tail upright and with babies often following in fixed order.

 

 

 

Waterbuck. Long brownish hair - white rings on back - long slightly curved ringed horns.

 

 

 

Wildcat. Looks like a domestic cat. Nocturnal. 

 

 

 

Wild Dog Brown, black and yellow patches - black muzzle and throat. Lives and hunts in a pack.

 

 

 

Wildebeest or Gnu. Move in herds of up to 10-15,000 - easily frightened and always taking short fleeing dashes - best known for migrating in single-file formations of up to a million, especially in Serengeti. 

 

 

 

Zebra (Burchell's). Each individual has different stripes.

 

 

 

Additional Species

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