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The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

List of South African Mammals

South Africa is home to 299 species of mammals. Below is an index of the ones described on Bluegnu

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

A

B

Cape Buffalo

Baboon, Chacma (Papio ursinus)

Male Baboons are powerful animals and can have canines up to 4 cm in length.

Bat, Wahlberg's Epauletted Fruit (Epomophorus wahlbergi)

These bats spend their days in large trees or thick bush and, sometimes, under roofs of man-made structures.

Blesbok (Damaliscus pygargus phillipsi)

The Blesbok gets its name from the Afrikaans word 'bles' which means blaze.

Bontebok (Damaliscus pygargus pygargus)

This attractive antelope is closely related to the Blesbok.

Buffalo, Cape (Syncerus caffer)

The Buffalo can weigh up to 900 kg and are often found in very large herds.

Bushbuck (Tragelaphus sylvaticus)

Bushbuck stand about 90 cm in height at the shoulder and weigh up to 80 kg.

C

Cheetah

Caracal (Caracal caracal)

The Caracal is a beautiful creature with its distinctive tufted ears.

Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus)

This graceful cat is, unfortunately, rather rare.

D

Wild Dog

Dog, Wild (Lycaon pictus)

Wild Dogs hunt in packs and are formidable predators.

Duiker, Blue (Philantomba monticola)

These tiny antelope only reach a height of 35 cm at the shoulder.

Duiker, Red (Cephalophus natalensis)

This tiny antelope is found in thick bush which provides it with cover from predators.

E

African Elephant

Eland (Taurotragus oryx)

Eland are massive animals that can weigh up to 600 kg.

Elephant, African (Loxodonta africana)

Elephant herds are led by a female who is referred to as the matriarch.

F

Bat-eared Fox

Fox, Bat-eared (Otocyon megalotis)

This fox gets its common name from its rather large ears.

Fox, Cape (Vulpes chama)

The Cape Fox is the only true fox found in southern Africa.

G

Giraffe

Gemsbok (Oryx gazella)

These beautiful antelope prefer the more arid regions of South Africa.

Genet, Large-spotted (Genetta tigrina)

This is a nocturnal species and are likely to be seen singly.

Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis)

Giraffes are well-known for fighting each other by swinging their powerful necks.

Sharpe's Grysbok (Raphicerus sharpei)

These small antelope are active in the early morning and late afternoon into the evening.

H

Hippo

Hare, Scrub (Lepus saxitilis)

This nocturnal animal can be found in a wide variety of habitats.

Hartebeest, Red (Alcelaphus caama)

Male Red Hartebeest can weigh up to 150 kg.

Hippo (Hippopotamus amphibius)

At night these large mammals come out the water to graze.

Hyena, Brown (Hyaena brunnea)

Brown Hyenas live in small family groups which are typically headed by an adult male and female.

Hyena, Spotted (Crocuta crocuta)

People generally regard Spotted Hyenas as scavengers but they are also accomplished hunters.

Hyrax, Rock (Procavia capensis)

Most people call these small mammals "Dassies."

I

Impala

Impala (Aepyceros melampus)

If you visit Kruger National Park you are guaranteed to see Impala. They are the most common antelope in many of South Africa's game parks.

J

Black-backed Jackal

Jackal, Black-backed (Canis mesomelas)

These carnivores will either kill or scavenge for their food.

K

Kudu

Klipspringer (Oreotragus oreotragus)

Klipspringers pair for life and are rarely seen in herds.

Kudu (Tragelaphus strepsiceros)

Male Kudus are larger than females and have magnificent spiral shaped horns.

L

Leopard

Leopard (Panthera pardus)

Leopards are elusive cats that normally hunt at night.

Leopards, interesting facts about (Panthera pardus)

The spots on a Leopard are arranged in small groups known as rosettes.

Lion (Panthera leo)

This is the predator that everyone wants to see when visiting Kruger and other national parks.

Lions, interesting facts about (Panthera leo)

Lions live in groups called prides and are the only big cats to do this.

M

Slender Mongoose

Meerkat (Suricata suricatta)

The name "Meerkat" is actually the Afrikaans name for these cute creatures.

Moles, Golden (Family: Chrysochloridae)

These cute creatures appear to not have eyes or ears.

Mongoose, Banded (Mungos mungo)

This is a very social animal and is normally seen in groups of 20 or more.

Mongoose, Dwarf (Helogale parvula)

The Dwarf Mongoose prefers slightly drier areas and is normally seen in small groups.

Mongoose, Slender (Galerella sanguinea)

The Slender Mongoose can often be seen darting across the road in savanna or light bushveld habitats.

Mongoose, Yellow (Cynictus penicillata)

These are solitary creatures that prefer grassland habitats.

Monkey, Vervet (Chlorocebus pygerythrus)

These animals are familiar to most people but they often don't get on with eachother!

N

Nyala

Nyala (Nyala angasii

The Nyala is one of the most beautiful antelopes.

O

Oribi

Oribi (Ourebia ourebi)

Oribi favour grassland habitats where they feed off short grass.

P

Cape Porcupine

Porcupine, Cape (Hystrix africaeaustralis)

These are nocturnal creatures that mainly feed off bulbs and tubers.

Q

R

White Rhino

Rat, Brants Whistling (Parotomys brantsii)

These rodents prefer drier areas and are very territorial.

Rat, Ice (Otomys sloggetti)

Ice Rats are found at high altitudes in grasslands, rocky swamps and marshlands.

Reedbuck (Redunca arundinum)

Only the male has horns, and they can weigh up to 70 kg.

Reedbuck, Mountain (Redunca fulvorufula)

As their name implies, they are found in hilly areas.

Rhino, Black (Diceros bicornis)

Black Rhinos are temperamental creatures that prefer areas of thick bush.

Rhino, White (Ceratotherium simum)

White Rhinos are more placid than Black Rhinos and can be found in grassland areas.

Roan (Hippotragus equinus)

Roan are attractive antelope that can be seen in small herds.

S

Steenbok

Sable (Hippotragus niger)

The male Sable is a majestic antelope which can weigh up to 250 kg.

Seal, Cape Fur (Arctocephalus pusillus)

These are large animals that can reach a length of over 2 metres.

Serval (Leptailurus serval)

These cats hunt mammals and birds up to the size of a guineafowl.

Springbok (Antidorcas marsupialis)

This beautiful antelope is South Africa's national mammal.

Springhare (Pedetes capensis)

These nocturnal animals look a bit like kangaroos.

Squirrel, Ground (Xerus inauris)

These sociable creatures are normally found in drier, more open areas.

Squirrel, Tree (Paraxerus cepapi)

Visitors to Kruger National Park will be familiar with these cute creatures which are common in camp sites.

Steenbok (Raphicerus campestris)

The Steenbok is a small, but attractive, antelope which is found in semi-open areas.

T

Tsessebe

Tsessebe (Damaliscus lunatus)

This is an uncommon antelope that inhabits savanna and grasslands.

U

V

W

Blue Wildebeest

Warthog (Phacochoerus africanus)

These creatures are so ugly that they are cute.

Waterbuck (Kobus ellipsiprymnus)

The one with a white ring (toilet seat?) on its rump.

Whales and whale-watching

Read about whales and where to watch them in South Africa.

Wildebeest, Black (Connochaetes gnou)

Not as common as their "blue" cousins but they are present in most game reserves at higher altitudes.

Wildebeest, Blue (Connochaetes taurinus)

A common species in many of South Africa's game reserves including Kruger National Park.

X

Y

Z

Burchell's Zebra

Zebra, Burchell's (Equus quagga)

We are all familiar with these lovable creatures!

Zebra, Cape Mountain (Equus zebra zebra)

These are rather rare zebras that faced extinction not too long ago.

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