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Saturday, July 13, 2024

6 Wild Animals that are Unique to African Countries

Africa is home to many unique wild animals such as giraffes, zebra, gorillas, hippopotamus, chimpanzees, wildebeests, etc., some of which are globally popular. 

In some ways, these wild animals are unique to many national and wildlife conservations and people living in different heterogeneous locations across the continent.

Read more to learn about these six wild animals that are unique to the African continent in detail.

1. Giraffe

The giraffe is the tallest mammal mostly seen in East Africa, and it relies on morning dew or water contained in food but can stay weeks without drinking water.


Giraffes first appeared in Africa about 1.5 million years ago, and it currently has a population of 117,000 in many regions of the continent.

The male giraffes are the bulls, the females are cows, and the baby giraffes are calves.

The predator of the giraffe is a lion, while the giraffe is preyed upon by leopards and hyenas.

It feeds on acacia and its gestation period is 15 months with a daily sleep of 4.6 hours and a height of 5-5.9 meters.

African existence

Giraffes reside in Africa’s national parks and game reserves in East Africa, southern Africa, Central Africa, Niger, and other regions.

Where are the most giraffes in Africa?

South Africa and Namibia have the highest population of giraffes in Africa. However, most of them inhabit on dry land outside the protected areas, making it challenging to get the accurate number of giraffes in Africa. 


The coat pattern of a particular giraffe is entirely different from every other giraffe in the world, just like a human fingerprint.

Its tongue is 50cm long and is bluish-purple.

At birth, both the male and female giraffe have horns, and it also has feet with a diameter of 30cm.

A giraffe’s heart weighs 11 kilograms with 40 to 90 beats per minute and a speed of 60km/h.

It has a long neck and long black hair on its tail, mainly used as an insect swatter.

Giraffes also have large brown eyes bordered by long black lashes.


Giraffes, also genus Giraffa, belong to the family of Giraffidae, class of Mammalia, and order of Artiodactyla in the Animalia kingdom.

Life cycle

Giraffe has a life expectancy between 20 to 25 years, and their life span is between 10 to 15 years. It has no mating season, and the younger ones are born at a six feet height.


Giraffes live in open woodlands and grasslands in East Africa, especially in Amboseli and Serengeti.

2. Zebra 

Zebra is a wild animal with different species like plains zebra, mountain zebra, grevy’s zebra usually reside in southern Africa.

About and discovery

Native to Africa, the zebra is a wild animal has featured in African stories with its ancestors arriving in the continent around 2.3 mya

Again, other species, the Grévy’s zebra and plains, split around 1.5 mya, while the mountain zebra diverged around 1.75. 

Zoologist John Edward discovered the first zebra in 1824. A mother zebra is a ‘mare,’ while its baby is known as a ‘foal.’

It feeds on grasses that are green and short while some eat herbs, and naturally, lion and cheetah predate on zebra.

Primarily, zebras are grazers that can survive on lesser quality vegetation.

Zebra has three species, the mountain zebra, plains, and the Grévy’s, which all have different appearances and types of stripes.  

The plains zebra is not dangerous, the mountain zebra is defenseless, and perhaps the grevy species is most dangerous.


Zebra resides more in African continents like southern and eastern Africa, mainly in areas like shrublands, grasslands, woodlands, savannahs, and mountainous parts.

Zebra is absent from rainforests and deserts and commonly lives in treeless grassland and savanna as a wild animal. In countries like Lesotho and Burundi, zebra is close to extinct.

Life cycle

Zebra somewhat lives long, that is, 40 years in captivity and 25 years in the wild. The gestation period is 13 months.

Typically, they mate all year round and produce a foal after 12 to 13 months.


– Zebra runs up to 65km per hour. 

– The stripes on the zebra are unmatchable.

– The foals of a zebra stand after six minutes of birth.

– Grevy, the giant zebra, weighs 990 Ibs and is five feet tall from its shoulder to hoof.

– It possibly travels about 1,800 miles to search for food.


Zebra belong to the class of mammalian, in the family of Equidae and genus of Equus

By its kingdom, zebra belong to Animalia in the species of Chordata and the order of Perissodactyla.

3. Gorilla

A gorilla is a wild animal native to Africa with a broad chest, shoulder, small eyes, human-like hands, and a hairless face.

The most population of gorillas resides in Uganda, Rwanda, and DRC Congo.

About and African discovery

Gorillas are herbivorous, ground-dwelling apes that live in the tropical forests of equatorial Africa.

The discovery of gorillas in east Africa was on the 17th of October 1902 by Captain Robert von Beringia, a German army, at the volcanic Virunga mountains in east-central Africa. 

Mountain gorillas inhabit the green volcanic mountains in Uganda, Rwanda, and DRC Congo. In contrast, the lowland ones reside in the forest of central and western Africa in Gabon, Cameron, Angola, etc.  

The discoverer named the subspecies of mountain gorillas after his name.

African continents of existence

The mountain gorilla resides in mountainous regions of central Africa, and that lowland gorilla lives in flat forests of western and eastern Africa.


The uniqueness of gorilla to Africans is that it is a social animal, travels in a group of five, and has an unparallel nose print.


The classification of a gorilla by class is Mammalia, by the kingdom is Animalia, the phylum is Chordata, and the family is Hominidae.

4. Hippopotamus

Hippopotamus, also called hippo or river horse, is a wild animal with sensitive skin rampant in Zambia, East Africa.


The name hippopotamus emerged from the ancient Greeks who frequently saw the animal along the Nile River in Egypt.

In pre-dynastic times, good numbers of hippos are all seen around the river Nile in Ancient Egypt.

The animal has lasted about 7.5 million years ago since its existence.

The name hippopotamus emerged from “hippo,” meaning horse, and “potamus,” which means water.

African regions where hippopotamus exist

The hippopotamus is spotted mainly in East Africa countries like DR Congo, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Gambia, etc.


The super cool creatures have their eyes, nose, and ear on the top of their head and sweat a red liquid that protects their skin from drying out.


-Male hippos weights up to 1,475kg [3,252 Ib] and the female 3,000 Ib [1,360 kg].

-The height of the hippo is about 150 to 165 cm.

-It also has four toes on each foot.

-Again, it has a short tail, bulky body, and stumpy legs.

5. Chimpanzee

Chimpanzee is a species of animal, otherwise known as knuckle walkers, with longer arms than legs and commonly exists in Tanzania, East Africa.

About and discovery

Chimpanzees have lived in African forests for close to 14 million years.

The discovery of the first chimpanzee was in Kenya’s East African rift valley in thousand years ago.

In 1960, Jane Goodall traveled from England to present-day Tanzania to study the African native wild animal chimpanzees in detail for 45 years at 26.  

African existence

Chimpanzees inhabit more in east African countries, which include Tanzania, Uganda, and Senegal.

Life cycle

The precious species of animals don’t mature until 15 years of age, and the females mature faster than the males.

This wild animal lives an average of 60 years in captivity and 40 years in the wild and has six stages of life [neonate, juvenile, adolescent, and subadults, adult].


The chimpanzee is an intelligent ape that works with tools, good problem solver, and communicates with tough vocalization.


– Has black hair, rather than fur.

– Chimpanzees have flat faces like a human.

– It relies on their sense of sight rather than their sense of smell.

6. Wildebeest

Native to the African continent, the wildebeests, alternatively called gnus, are sizeable African antelope with a sloping back and curved horns mainly found in southeastern Africa.

Its discovery in Africa

The first discovery of wild beast in Africa was by the Dutch settlers on their way to the inside of South Africa about 1700 years ago.

A century later, precisely in the 1800s, the westerners in the northern part of South Africa only knew the wildebeest before moving to other parts of Africa.

It has lived in Africa for some notable years.

African regions of existence

The wildebeest lives in the Serengeti plains of southeastern Africa. In Tanzania and Kenya, wild beast feeds on grassy savannas and open woodlands of the plains.


The unique feature of wild beast is that the female ones birth a calf in the center of the herd and calve within a short period.


Classification of the wild beast by family is Bovidae, subfamily is Alcelaphinae, and its genus is Connochaetes.

Over 1.5 million wildebeests migrate from Maasai Mara National Reserve, Narok County, Kenya, to Serengeti National Park, Tanzania, annually in an enormous loop.

Features of a wildebeest

– A wildebeest has manes and bushy beards.

– Has a box-like head.

– Also, it has a sloppy back and curved horns.

– Slender hindquarters and a heavily-built front-end body.

What wildlife is unique to Africa?

Africa’s unique wildlife is endless as the continent is home to many of the world’s famous fauna in human culture.

Some of the wildlife unique to Africa includes lions, antelope, rhinos, zebras, hippos, leopards, cheetahs, and lots more.

Why is African wildlife unique?

Africa has a dizzying array of unique wildlife because of its rich lowland savannahs and barren expanses of desert that make up the cacophonous mountain jungles.


Wild animals in the African continent have numerous unique features that separate them from one another, and they’re iconic animals for national wildlife in several African countries.

The six wild animals discussed are worth sightseeing at different locations on the continent.

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