Uganda Animals: 25 Amazing Animals of Uganda

0
637
Ishasha Tree Lions

There are lots of animals to see in Uganda. From the big five to unique mountain gorillas, there are lots of wildlife that you can see on a Uganda wildlife safari in several national parks and game reserves. Here are the most popular animals to see in Uganda;

Lion

The lion is one of the members of the Big Five, an animal many travelers have on their wish list of Uganda animals to see. Lions in Uganda are found in Kidepo and Queen Elizabeth National Parks. Compared to other animals, lions are the most social of the big cats and live in family groups called prides that consist of several related females, their cubs, and one or two adult males. The cubs are generally born around the same time and the lionesses take turns babysitting them. The lionesses do most of the hunting and they usually target big game like giraffes or buffalos. The males are responsible for protecting the pride from enemies.

Buffaloes

Reaching a height of 165cm (65”) at the shoulder and weighing in at 680kg (1500lbs), it is no wonder that the enormous Cape buffalo is one of Africa’s “Big Five”. Though they are herbivores, feeding almost exclusively on grass, buffaloes are known to be one of the most dangerous species in Uganda.

They will happily trample a lion who threatens to attack! Visitors to Uganda needn’t worry about getting caught in a stampede however; the buffaloes’ poor ability to regulate body temperature means that throughout the hot equatorial days they are most commonly found wallowing in mud or water – making them easy to view at close range during a launch trip.

Two subspecies of buffalo exist in Uganda – the larger savannah buffalo and the smaller forest buffalo. They live in two types of groups – family herds, which contain mainly females and calves; and bachelor herds. A herd can contain several hundred individuals.

Leopards

The striking leopard is one of the hardest large species to observe in Uganda, thanks to its nocturnal, solitary behavior and well-camouflaged coat. Their survival is partly due to their adaptability to warm and cold climates and ability to climb trees while carrying heavy prey – keeping it safe from other predators such as lions and hyenas. They can run at incredible speeds of up to 58 km (36 miles) per hour, and hunt antelopes and monkeys as well as fish, birds, insects and reptiles.

Historically, leopards were hunted for their beautiful fur; loss of habitat is now their greatest threat.

Spotted Hyena

Hyenas are skilled hunters as well as scavengers, and their large, powerful jaws allow them to chomp through every part of their prey, including the skin and bones. The only parts which cannot be digested are hair, horns and hooves – the hyena will regurgitate these in pellets

The spotted hyena’s famous “laugh” is actually a sound made to alert other group members to a source of food. This noise can be heard up to three miles away, and is one of many sounds made by this sociable species to communicate with each other.

Hyenas are found in many habitats, including woodland, savannah and desert, though being nocturnal, they are rarely observed. Hyenas are known to have eaten people, though it is more likely that they will kill livestock, which results in them being targeted by hunters.

Elephants

The largest living land mammal, the African elephant, is a sight to behold on Uganda’s sprawling savanna. Their massive black forms can be seen from far away marching across the grasslands in search of the incredible amounts of vegetation they need to eat each day, along with around 30-50 gallons of water. This constant grazing is essential to the ecosystem, as it prevents the savanna and shrub-land from turning into impenetrable forest.

The elephant’s trunk is by far its most useful feature – it is used with absolute precision to dig, signal, gather food, spray water and dust, siphon water into the elephant’s mouth – and even as an extra foot! They are also sociable, affectionate animals, and have been observed caressing companions with their trunks, and greeting other family members when they meet. They will care for weaker individuals, adopt orphaned calves and even display grieving behavior over dead companions.

Antelopes

Uganda is home to an impressive 29 species of antelope, including the eland – the world’s largest antelope, which can measure up to 180cm at the shoulder! Other large species include the greater kudu, which has long, elegant spiral horns and white side stripes; Jackson’s hartebeest – an unusual, flat-faced creature found only in Uganda, and the shaggy waterbuck – often found near rivers and lakes, as their name suggests.

Fascinating yet rarely seen is the semi-aquatic sitatunga antelope, whose splayed hooves are adapted for life in the papyrus swamps. Much more common are Grant’s gazelle, which can live in herds of hundreds of individuals, and the pretty Uganda kob – Uganda’s national antelope.

Buffaloes

Reaching a height of 165cm (65”) at the shoulder and weighing in at 680kg (1500lbs), it is no wonder that the enormous Cape buffalo is one of Africa’s “Big Five”. Though they are herbivores, feeding almost exclusively on grass, buffaloes are known to be one of the most dangerous species in Uganda thanks to their unpredictable and defensive nature.

They will happily trample a lion who threatens to attack! Visitors to Uganda needn’t worry about getting caught in a stampede however; the buffaloes’ poor ability to regulate body temperature means that throughout the hot equatorial days they are most commonly found wallowing in mud or water – making them easy to view at close range during a launch trip.

Two subspecies of buffalo exist in Uganda – the larger savannah buffalo and the smaller forest buffalo. They live in two types of groups – family herds, which contain mainly females and calves; and bachelor herds. A herd can contain several hundred individuals.

Tallest Giraffe

The Rothschild’s giraffe also known as the Uganda giraffe, is the one giraffe subspecies found in Uganda. It is also the tallest of the giraffes and can reach a height of 19 feet! Even a newborn giraffe stands as tall as a man. Sadly, the Rothschild’s giraffe is endangered; only a few hundred still live in the wild.

Chimpanzees

Chimpanzees and humans have about 98 percent of their DNA in common. A chimpanzee troop can have between 30 and 150 individuals.

They live in grasslands, woodlands and tropical rain forests. While chimpanzees are omnivores, their favorite food is fruit. Chimps reach maturity when they are between 11 and 13 years old, and they can live for up to 60 years. Semiliki National Park, Kibale Forest National Park, Budongo Forest, Kyambura Gorge, Kalinzu Forest

Rhinoceros

Both black and white rhinos continue to fight for their survival, their numbers are plummeting at astonishing rates due to poaching. This is a battle many animal conservationists are currently fighting, but it is always worth keeping your wits about you when spotting a rhino in the wild. These stocky animals are rather bad-tempered and extremely short-sighted, and won’t hesitate to charge anything they perceive to be a threat. Adult rhinos can weigh up to 2,800 kg’s and can run up to speeds of about 64 km/per hour for short durations at a time, so always be sure to keep your distance.

Crocodile

Crocodiles, though majestic to watch when gliding through waters or basking in the sun, can look downright ominous when on the lookout for prey. They stay underwater with only their nostrils above the surface, waiting for something to come to the water’s edge for a drink, then with an incredible burst of speed, launches itself up and clamps its victim in its vice-like jaws, dragging them back under the water to drown. Crocodiles boast the strongest bite in the African Kingdom at up to 2,267 kg’s per square centimetre, and kill approximately 3,000 people per year, with fatal attacks attributed to the Nile and Saltwater crocodiles. However, most human fatalities only occur when people are washing or collecting food near riverbanks or lake shores, or when fishermen glide their boats in and out of the water.

Gorillas

The mountain gorilla is a subspecies of the eastern gorilla. Over half of the world’s population, around 800, lives in Uganda’s forests. Mountain gorillas live in family groups led by a silverback or mature male. He does indeed have silvery hair forming a large saddle like mark on his back and he can weigh as much as 260 pounds. Part of the silverback’s job is defending the rest of the family from threats. Mountain gorillas are intelligent and have been observed using tools. They are also among the more popular attractions for Uganda.

Hippopotamus

Hippos are the third largest land mammal after Elephant and the Rhinoceros. Weighing in at 1,500–1,800 kg, an adult male stands up to 1.5m (4.5 feet) at the shoulder, and, oddly enough, their closest living relatives are whales and dolphins. Hippos spend most of their days submerged in water to keep cool, as they have no sweat glands.

Though they have webbed feet, their huge bulk prevents them from floating and they cannot swim. Their size does not, prevent them from outrunning a human – hippos have been estimated to reach terrifying speeds of up to 30 or even 40km per hour on land.

An adult hippo can spend as long as six minutes underwater, and their raised eyes, ears and nostrils allow them to remain almost entirely submerged for long periods of time. After spending the day bathing, hippos venture out at dusk and spend the night grazing, traveling up to 8km (5 miles) and consuming up to 68kg (150lbs) of grass each night to maintain their enormous size.

Rare Monkeys

Uganda is home to at least a dozen of primate species, including the endangered golden monkey. It’s a subspecies of the blue monkey that can only be found in the foothills of the volcanic Virunga mountains that extend through Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The golden monkey has golden fur on its body, tail and cheeks, but its limbs are black. It weighs between 10 and fifteen pounds. The golden monkey is mostly found in Mgahinga National Park.

Warthogs

They are members of the Pig family and feed on grass and plants. They live up to 15 years and their predators are Lions, Leopards, wild dogs and crocodiles. They seem to have an oversized head, protruding tusks, bristly mane and excessively long-skinny legs, causing it to kneel down to graze. When frightened, they run away with their tails standing vertically. Warthogs cannot dig so they use holes dug by other creatures to sleep and rest. When chased, they will back into a burrow, allowing them to surprise their aggressor by charging out, tusks first – they have even been known to kill lions by inflicting severe wounds.

Warthogs can easily be seen in all of Uganda’s savannah National Parks like Murchison falls, Queen Elizabeth and Lake Mburo. Be careful not to store snacks in your tent if you are camping – they have been known to rip through the canvas if they can smell food!

Cheetahs

The cheetah is the world’s fastest land animal and the most unique and specialized member of the cat family. It can reach speeds of 70 mph. Unlike other cats, the cheetah has a leaner body, longer legs, and has been referred to as the “greyhound” of the cats. The cheetah is often mistaken for a leopard. Its distinguishing marks are the long tear-drop shaped lines on each side of the nose from the corner of its eyes to its mouth. The cheetah’s coat is tan, or buff colour with black spots measuring from ¾ to 1 ¼ inches across. There are no spots on its white belly and the tail has spots which merge to form four to six dark rings at the end.  Cheetahs are the only cats that, while sprinting, can turn in midair to follow their prey. They have no natural enemies.

Cheetahs like to live in the open area. They are usually found in the grasslands, desert-like plains, and savannahs and also like areas that have tall grass. In Uganda cheetahs are traditionally only present in the vicinity of Kidepo and Murchison falls National Park.

The Cheetah hunts mainly by day and follows its prey from a distance selecting the old, injured or young animals whose speed will be impaired. It’s favorite prey is the gazelle but also preys on the impala, antelope, and other grazing animals. The female cheetah is solitary but the male lives in groups of two or three and is strongly territorial. The mating period lasts throughout the year and following a gestation period of 90-95days the female may produce up to 8 cubs. The cheetah can live anywhere from 10-15 years in the wild and even longer in captivity.

Baboons

Baboons are large and powerfully built monkeys that spend most of their time on the ground. They have large heads with a long, dog-like muzzle and cheek-pouches for storing food with a heavy brow ridge protecting their eyes. They are found in a variety of habitats including savanna, scrub, rocky deserts and rain forests provided there is a supply of water.

Baboons are social animals that live in large troops that can be very varied in size and can contain a few hundred members. Baboon troops consist of both males and females with their young and form very close bonds by feeding, sleeping and grooming together. During the day they break into smaller bands of 4 or 5 females and young, that is led by a dominant male who attempts to keep other males away.

Baboons live together for protection and are constantly on the look-out for dangerous predators mainly when they are out in the open. If a threat is spotted, they make loud barks and while the males run to attack, the females and young disappear up into the safety of the trees. Baboons communicate between one another in a variety of different ways including vocals calls, facial expressions and even signal with their tails. They are omnivorous animals that eat a wide variety of both plant and small animals

Fruits, seeds, tough roots and flowers all make up the bulk of their diet along with insects, eggs, lizards and rodents.

Zebra

Zebras are found in two parks in Uganda i.e the remote Kidepo Valley Park in the Northeast Karamoja region and Lake Mburo National Park in Western Uganda. You will find Burchell Zebras living in small family groups along with other family groups large herds. They are best known for their distinctive striped coat.  The stripes area like fingerprints and no two zebras are exactly alike.  Stripes are generally seen as a type of camouflage to safeguard them from predators making it harder for a predator such as lion to distinguish a particular zebra from the other. There is no other animal with as a unique coat as the Zebra.  It is a fantastic sight to see them grazing in groups on grass and grooming one other or simply moving as a herd.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here