Mammals of South Africa

Seeing a wildlife film engages your intellect, watching animals interact with each other from a comfortable vehicle activates the photographer in you, but coming across a leopard makes you feel like prey…

Learning about the mammals of South Africa gives you an insight into the animals behaviour.

And learning about the mammals of South Africa is now so much easier for all South Africans - South Africa Online ® is an excellent source of information in all 11 official languages of the country.


Aardvarks are equipped with muscular, short legs covered with long dark fur. They have strong, powerful nailed claws that are ideal for digg...more


The aardwolf is native to South Africa and throughout Eastern and Southern Africa. The aardwolf enjoys wide, open, dry spaces among savanna ...more

African Buffalo

The African buffalo can be found in South Africa. This large wild bovine reaches up to 1.5 meters in shoulder height and can weigh up to 750...more

African Elephant

African elephant or African bush elephant (loxodonta africana). With a weight on 7 tonnes and a height that can reach 3.3 m to the shoulder,...more

African Giant Pouched Rat

The African giant pouched rat lives in forest scrub and forested areas within South Africa that receive a rainfall over 80 mm per annum. The...more

African Weasel

The African weasel is a carnivore and prefers to eat prey that lay close to the ground. Prey includes small rodents, small birds and sometim...more

African Wild Cat

The African wildcat prefers to feed on small rodents such as mice and rats but will opt for other food sources in times of scarcity. They ar...more


Baboons generally inhabit mountainous areas around South Africa. You can also find them in woodlands, semi-desert areas and sub alpine meado...more

Banded Mongoose

The banded mongoose is limited to woodland savannah areas found in South Africa. These environments can be found from KwaZulu Natal’s coas...more

Bat-eared Fox

The tiny teeth of the bat-eared fox limit them to a diet of fruit, small rodents and insects found in South Africa....more

Black Backed Jackal

The breeding season of the black-backed jackal occurs between July to October in South Africa. After a gestation period of 2 months, a litte...more

Black Rhino

There are four subspecies in Africa namely the southern central black rhino (Diceros bicornis minor); eastern black rhino (Diceros bicornis ...more

Black Wildebeest

The black wildebeest is endemic to South Africa, historically having inhabited the open grasslands of the Northern Cape, Free State, souther...more


The blesbok and bontebok are closely related. Historically, the bontebok and blesbok inhabited different areas of land in South Africa, howe...more

Blue Duiker

The blue duiker consumes fresh leaves and flowers, and fruits dropped from the forest canopy....more

Blue Wildebeest

The blue wildebeest is distributed in large parts of Southern Africa, but is concentrated to the northeastern regions of South Africa. Popul...more


The bontebok is a seasonal breeder, the rut occurring between January and mid-March. After a gestation period of 238 to 254 days, single cal...more

Brown Hyena

brown hyena is primarily a scavenger. The brown hyena will occasionally kill smaller animals, should it not find a kill to scavenge off. The...more

Burchells Zebra

The Burchell’s zebra prefers savanna woodland and grassland plains as its habitat in South Africa and avoids areas of dense vegetation. Be...more

Bush Pig

Bush pigs prefer dense forests and underbrush along rivers and streams. They can be found at the foot of mountains in South Africa in the Ea...more


Being a South African species, the lesser bushbaby has a high tolerance of temperature variation. It prefers savannas, woodlands, the fringe...more


The bushbuck is closely related to the nyala and the kudu. Rams are graceful in appearance with a dark greyish-brown fur, white spots on the...more

Cape Fox

The Cape fox is the smallest canid and only true fox found in South Africa. Adults measure about 35 cm at the shoulder, are 94 cm in length ...more

Cape Ground Squirrel

The Cape ground squirrel is a rodent endemic to South Africa. It has a coarse, cinnamon coloured coat with a white stripe running down eithe...more

Cape Grysbok

The Cape grysbok is found in South Africa in the mountain valleys and shrubby plains of the Western and Eastern Cape. It is endemic to the F...more

Cape Hare

The Cape hare is abundant and widely distributed throughout South Africa’s arid regions, and is also found in Botswana and the central are...more

Cape Mountain Zebra

The South African government thereby established the Mountain Zebra National Park, despite strong opposition....more

Cape Otter

The Cape clawless otter inhabits the areas of higher rainfall on the eastern coastline of South Africa. It is an uncommon animal, and entire...more


The caracal can be found throughout South Africa in rocky, hilly terrains and open woodland savannas....more

Chacma Baboon

After a gestation period of about 140 days, a single young is born. Having no specific breeding season, female chacma baboons can give birth...more


Having no specific breeding season, the cheetah female can give birth throughout the year in South Africa. After a gestation period of three...more


The African civet measures about 680 to 890 mm in head and body length, and has a 445 to 463 mm long tail. Its mass varies from 7 to 20 kg....more

Common Duiker

The name ‘duiker’ comes from the Afrikaans word meaning ‘to dive’, describing this antelope’s manner of ducking and dodging into t...more

Dwarf Mongoose

The common dwarf mongoose feeds on invertebrates such as grasshoppers, termites, beetles and their larvae which they scavenge and dig from t...more

Eastern Rock Elephant Shrew

The eastern rock elephant shrew is widely distributed in South Africa and can be found in North West, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Gauteng,...more


Despite its size and heavy physique the eland is an agile animal, and large bulls can jump over fences easily. Both sexes carry heavy horns...more


The gemsbok can be found in the desert regions of Southern Africa, such as the Kalahari, the Namib desert, the Gemsbok National Park as well...more


There are two species of genet in the Lowveld, the Large Spotted Genet (Genetta tigrina) and the Small Spotted Genet (Genetta genetta)....more


The giraffe is the tallest land animal in the world. Males can reach a height of 5 m, and females 4.5 m. Their extremely long necks are part...more

Hartmann's Mountain Zebra

The Hartmann’s mountain zebra is slightly larger in size with wider stripes than the Cape mountain zebra found in South Africa. Hartmann...more


The breeding season for the hedgehog in South Africa is between the months of October and April. The hedgehog rear their young in small burr...more


Hippos are known to readily attack when they are wounded or threatened in the wild. They are considered to be the most dangerous animal in S...more

Honey Badger

The honey badger can breed all year round, producing 1 or 2 offspring at a time. Research done in the southern Kalahari Desert in South Afri...more


Known for their glorious leaps over the bushveld plains of South Africa, the impala are sociable animals that live in large herds. Two types...more


The klipspringer of South Africa weighs 11-13 kg and stands 500-600 mm high at the shoulder. This antelope has a small, and stocky build, wi...more


The kudu is a browser and feeds on a variety of leaves of trees and shrubs indigenous to South Africa. It also feeds on various fruits, pods...more


Leopards are very territorial and males will defend large territories which include those of females. The female leopard also defends her te...more


A male lion measures about 1.2 m at the shoulders, with a weight that can exceed 200 kg. Females are smaller with Lionesses usually hunt as ...more


Meerkats are very swift animals, enabling them to catch geckos, snakes, small rodents and insects as their prey. When pregnant or lactating,...more


Monkeys are popular amongst guests on safari, providing great entertainment in their naughty and almost human-like ways. However, they can b...more

Mountain Ground Squirrel

The mountain ground squirrel prefers arid environments as its habitat. In South Africa, the mountain ground squirrel can be found in a small...more

Mountain Reedbuck

The mountain reedbuck prefers the mountainous areas of South Africa as its habitat. It rests in the mountain shade, feeds on the slopes and ...more


Nyalas are found in many game reserves and private farms throughout South Africa as a result of translocation, many living in the Kruger Nat...more


In South Africa, the oribi can be found in northern parts of the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga. Smaller populations live in the...more


The oryx can be found throughout South Africa in game reserves and national parks. They have been successfully reintroduced in areas where t...more


Pangolins can be found in South Africa in northern KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, Limpopo and parts of North West. It can also be found in Zimba...more


African porcupines are largely herbivorous, digging out bulbs, roots and tubers with their strong claws. They also feed on fallen fruit and ...more

Red Hartebeest

There are 12 subspecies of hartebeest in Africa, the red hartebeest being the only occurring in South Africa. It is more widely distributed ...more


The reedbuck is primarily nocturnal but will feed during the day under harsh climatic conditions. They are grazers and feed on grass and som...more


The grey rhebuck fall prey to many big predators in South Africa. These include the lion, leopard, hyena, Cape hunting dog, python and jacka...more


Armoured with strong hides and a menacing horn, the African rhinoceros can graze undeterred alongside resting lions in the bushveld of South...more


Roan antelope in South Africa do not have a specific breeding season. After a gestation period of around 40 weeks, calves are born and kept ...more

Rock Hyrax

As stated by its name, the rock hyrax’s preferred habitat is among rocky areas found throughout South Africa. They are also excellent clim...more


The Sable antelope is a herbivore and feeds mainly on grasses grown in their habitats within South Africa. They prefer to feed on spear gras...more

Samango Monkey

The Samango monkey males are larger than females and have a mass of 7 to 9 Kg, while females are 4 to 5 Kg. The tail of the Samango monkey o...more

Scrub Hare

The preferred habitat of the scrub hare is scrub bushveld, tall grasslands and savannah. They are distributed across South Africa, except fo...more


Observations show that these stripes at the rear of the ears are used to communicate with its species. The all-black melanistic servals are ...more

Sharpes Grysbok

The Sharpe’s grysbok is a browser and feeds off shoots and leaves of the shrubs and bushes in South Africa. They are also known to eat gra...more

Side-striped Jackal

The mating season for the side-striped jackal occurs during June and July in South Africa. However, some do mate throughout the year. The ge...more

Slender Mongoose

In South Africa, the slender mongoose mainly feeds on small rodents in the bushveld. Their diet also consists of reptiles, invertebrates and...more

Small Antelope

Three species of small antelope are commonly encountered in the Lowveld bushveld of South Africa: the common duiker, klipspringer and the st...more

Spotted Hyena

Some experts believe that the spotted hyena is the most successful carnivore in South Africa. Studies have disproved its assumed cowardly na...more


The springbok prefers grass savanna, dry river beds, and calcareous pans as their habitat in South Africa, avoiding tall grass. They tend to...more


The springhare is widely distributed within South Africa, apart from in desert and forest regions. They prefer flat, semi-arid to arid areas...more


During her visits, she eats her young’s dung and drinks its urine to eliminate odours that make it detectable to predators. The breeding p...more

Tree Squirrel

The most common tree squirrel in South Africa is the Smith’s bush squirrel or yellow-footed squirrel. They are skilled at detecting threat...more


Tsessebe can be found in South Africa in the northern savanna woodlands, yet most populate the Kruger National Park and a few provincial gam...more

Vervet Monkey

Living mostly at the edges of forests, the vervet monkey occurs in a variety of environments in South Africa including dense, tall trees and...more


Warthogs are diurnal, spending most of their days foraging for food in a limited area. When feeding, they kneel on their front knees....more

Water Mongoose

The water mongoose is a large and sturdy-bodied animal, measuring 800 to 1000 mm in length with a weight of 2.5 to 4.2 kg. Their tails are a...more


The waterbuck can be found in South Africa along the main drainage systems of Mpumalanga, Limpopo and northern KwaZulu-Natal. Recently, they...more

White Rhino

The white rhino is the world’s third largest land mammal. Bulls measure 1.8 m at the shoulders with a mass of up to 2000 kg, and cows can ...more

White-Tailed Mongoose

The white-tailed mongoose of South Africa is mainly insectivorous, but is also known to also eat amphibians, snakes and small rodents found ...more

Wild Dog

Wild dogs hunt in packs and they will strategically chase down their prey until it is exhausted. Once caught the pack will tear their prey a...more


Two species of zebra dominate the wild plains of South Africa. They are the Plains or Burchell’s zebra and the mountain zebra. The differe...more