Uganda Animals: Animals in Uganda | Wild Animals of Uganda
What animals live in Uganda?
Are you looking for Africa safari animals in Uganda? Uganda offers some of the best animal encounters in the world. Animals of Uganda include; over 342 mammal species, 1076 bird species (51% of all birds in Africa), 142 reptile species, 86 amphibian species, 501 fish species, and 1,242 species of butterflies.
Mammals found in Uganda: Uganda’s official mammal checklist consists of 342 mammal species including 132 and 210 species of small mammals. Large mammals in Uganda includ:-
- A variety of primate species
- Antelopes, and
- Other herbivores.
Primates in Uganda: Uganda primates
Uganda is often referred to as the primate capital of the world. Over 20 species of primates exist in the country including 2 species of great apes (Gorillas and Chimpanzees) and 18 species of monkeys.
All the monkeys in Uganda are members of the family Cercopithecidae (Old World Monkeys). They range from arboreal forms, such as the colobus monkeys, to fully terrestrial forms, such as the baboons. Below is a list of primates of Uganda;
- Mountain gorillas
- Golden monkeys
- Patas Monkeys
- Mantled guereza
- Angola colobus
- Uganda red colobus
- Vervet monkeys
- De Brazza’s monkey
- Olive Baboon
- Blue Monkeys
- Silver monkey
- L’Hoest’s monkeys
- Red-tailed monkeys
- Uganda mangabey
- Grey-cheeked mangabey
- Dent’s Mona monkeys
- Mountain gorilla
Scientifically known as Gorilla beringei beringei, the mountain gorilla is locally known as Ekisodde in Luganda language and Engagi in Rukiga language. It is one of the two subspecies of the Eastern gorilla (Gorilla beringei).
Living in forested mountains at elevations of between 8,000 and 13,000 feet, they are the largest living primates and biggest ape in the world, standing up to 6 feet (1.8m) tall and weigh up to 220 kilograms.
One of the most interesting facts about mountain gorillas is that they share 98% of their genes with humans.
These world biggest primates are very intelligent and live in families of 5 to 30 individual. Each gorilla family is headed by one strong adult male known as silverback, for the swath of silver hair on his back that signals full adulthood.
There are just about 1063 mountain gorillas on the Earth today and more than half them live in Uganda. In fact, mountain gorillas live in only two localities in the world in the;
- Virunga Mountains, shared between Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo and
- Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park which is home to over 459 of these gentle giants
Locally known as Ezike in Luganda, the chimpanzee or chimp is scientifically known as Pan troglodytes. Chimpanzees are our closest relatives sharing almost 99% of our DNA.
A safari to Africa is the only opportunity to see wild chimpanzees as they can be encountered on other continents.
Uganda hosts more than 5,000 chimpanzees across dozens of sites. Uganda’s Kibale National Park with a population of about 1500 chimpanzees is famous as the best place in the world to see chimpanzee.
While chimpanzee tracking tour in Uganda, you will realize that, unlike most other primates, chimpanzees don’t live in troops, but instead form extended communities of up 100 individuals which room the forest in small, socially mobile subgroups that often revolve around a few close family members such as brothers or a mother or a daughter.
Each community is led by an alpha male. The role of the alpha male, not fully understood, is evidently quite benevolent-chairman of the board rather than a crusty tyrant.
In terms of size, chimpanzee is smaller than the other cousin apes, the gorillas. Chimps weigh up to 70 kilograms (154 pounds) in the wild and stand up to 4 feet tall.
Scientifically known as Cercopithecus kandti, the golden monkey should not be confused with the Golden snub-nosed monkey (Rhinopithecus roxellana) which lives continents away in the temperate forests on mountains in China.
Golden monkeys are endemic to the Virunga massif in Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
They are gorgeous primates with a multi-coloured coat of rusty red, fiery oranges, shadowy blacks, tints of blue, and some gold. Until very recently, they were considered just a novelty sub-species of the more wide-spread blue monkey.
You can see golden monkeys in Uganda in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. They are very attractive and entertaining to watch, but because they chose to make their homes in the territories of mountain gorillas, the most enigmatic of all primates, it is very hard for them to attract the attention of human visitors’. Only a few make effort to go and see them.
Patas monkeys are scientifically known as Erythrocebus patas. They are the world’s fastest primates, which can sprint from 0 to 55 kilometres (34 miles) per hour in just 3 seconds.
These ground-dwelling monkeys avoid dense forests and live in open savannah grasslands. They move in multi-female groups of up to 60 individuals. The group contains just one adult male for most of the year.
During the breeding season, there are multi-male influxes into the group. Once juvenile males reach sexual maturity (around the age of four years) they leave the group, usually joining all-male groups.
The adult females in the group initiate movement of the group with the male following their lead. They have been called “the dancing monkey” because they jump when they are excited.
Mantled guereza is scientifically known as Colobus guereza. Also known as the Eastern black-and-white colobus, the mantled guereza is a species of black-and-white colobus monkeys. They are among those beautiful monkeys you should look for while on your Uganda safari.
The name “mantled” refers to their mantle, the beautiful long silky white fringes of hair that run along its body and “guereza” is the native name of the monkey in Ethiopia. The scientific name Colobus derives from Greek kolobus meaning “mutilated” which refers to its lack of thumbs.
Their faces are framed with white hair and it has a large white tail tuft. Infants are born with pink skin and white hair.
Adults are capable of jumping up to 30 meters, a spectacular sight with its white tail streaming behind.
Scientifically known as Colobus angolensis, the Angola colobus or Angolan black-and-white colobus is another species of black-and-white colobus monkeys closely related and similar in appearance to Mantled guereza.
It is represented in Uganda by the subspecies called Ruwenzori colobus (Colobus angolensis ruwenzori) which in inhabits the montane forests in the Albertine rift.
It is black with white hair on the shoulders between 23 and 33 cm long. Its tail is also black and greyish-white at the end. It has white bushy tufts on the cheeks. The white hair on the forehead forms a crest.
They can be encountered in Rwenzori National Park in Uganda.
Uganda red colobus
The Uganda red colobus is scientifically known as Piliocolobus tephrosceles. Until 2001, it was recognised a species of western red-colobus (Piliocolobus badius).
However, the Uganda red colobus is a relatively large grey monkey. It has few distinguishing features other than a rust-red cap with a dark grey to black face.
It is listed as Endangered on IUCN red-list but it is quite common in Uganda’s Kibale National Park and Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary.
Scientifically known as Chlorocebus pygerythrus, the vervet monkey is light grey monkey easily identified by its black face and male’s distinctive blue genitals.
Associated with a wide variety of habitats, it is the only guenon you likely to see outside forests and it is thought to be the most numerous monkey species in the world.
Vervet monkeys are widespread and common in Uganda, even outside of national parks. You can see Vervet monkeys in Kibale National Park, Semuliki National Park, and other areas in Uganda.
De Brazza’s monkey
Known scientifically as Cercopithecus neglectus, the De Brazza’s Monkey offers travelers on a Uganda tour one of the rarest sights.
This spectacular thicket guenon has a relatively short tail, hairy face, and red-brown patch around eyes, a white band around its brow and a distinctive white moustache and a beard.
Their scientific species name, neglectus, which means to pay no attention to, was given to them because of their ability to hide from both humans and predators.
Due to this distinctive appearance, the monkey is sometimes referred to as the “Ayatollah Monkey” after the similarly-bearded Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini of Iran.
This species of guenon is the most sexually dimorphic; with males weighing about 7 kg and females 4 kg. Both males and females have cheek pouches they use to carry food while they forage.
In Uganda, they are most likely to be seen in Semuliki National Park and in the vicinity of Mount Elgon.
The scientific name of the Olive baboon is Papio anubis. Olive baboons are sometimes referred to as Anubis baboon. This alternative name comes from the Egyptian god Anubis, who was often represented by a dog head resembling the dog-like muzzle of the baboon.
However, the name olive baboon comes from the colour of its coat which at a distance is a shade of green-grey. They weigh up to 37 kilograms and lives in groups of 15 to 150, made up of a few males, many females, and their young.
You can see olive Baboons in Kibale, Semuliki and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
Cercopithecus mitis is the scientific name of the Blue monkey. You can also call them Diademed monkeys, Samago monkeys, Skyke’s monkeys or gentle monkeys.
These monkeys do not have a vivid blue appearance. Mainly, they are olive or grey aside from their faces. The faces are dark with a pale or yellowish patch on the forehead – the “diadem” from which the species derives one its alternative name.
Cercopithecus mitis social system is mainly female because the males leave once they are mature. They are common in most Ugandan forests, where it lives in of 4 to 12 animals.
You can see blue monkeys in Uganda’s Kibale, Bwindi Impenetrable, and Semuliki National Park.
The Silver monkeys are scientifically known as Cercopithecus doggetti. They were previously considered a subspecies of the blue monkey. This forest dwelling species has uniform silver-grey coat.
The L’Hoest’s monkey is known scientifically as Allochrocebus lhoesti and it is one of the rare monkeys you can see during your safaris in Uganda.
This handsome Albertine Rift Endemic is often more difficult to see than most its relatives largely because of the terrestrial habits and a preference for dense secondary forest.
It has a black face and backward-projecting white whiskers that partially cover its ears, and is the only guenon which habitually carries its tail in an upright position.
L’Hoest’s monkeys are very common in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. They also occur in Kibale National Park and Queen Elizabeth National Park.
Red-tailed monkey is also Redtail monkey and White-nosed monkey. Its scientific name is Cercopithecus ascanius.
Redtail monkeys are common forest guenon, brownish in appearance with white cheek whiskers, a coppery red tail, and a distinctive heart-shaped white patch on its nose giving rise to the descriptive alternative name White-nosed monkey.
They are usually seen singly, in pairs, or in small family groups. But also associate with other monkey species and has been known to accumulate in groups of up 200 animals.
It can be seen in Uganda’s Kibale National Park, Semuliki National Park, and Queen Elizabeth National Park, Budongo Forest Reserve, Mpanga Forest and other reserves.
Lophocebus ugandae is the scientific name of the Uganda mangabey. This species of monkey was previously thought to just be a population of the grey-cheeked mangabey; however, the Uganda mangabey is rather smaller.
Endemic to Uganda, it has few distinguishing features, but it can be distinguished from other forest monkeys by its baboon like behaviours, shaggier appearance, light grey cheeks and slight mane.
It mainly resides in lowland forests and mid-altitude forests. It is a great Uganda tourist attraction in Mabira Forest Reserve in Central Uganda and it can also be encountered in Kibale Forest National Park in western Uganda.
The Grey-cheeked mangabeys are scientifically known as Lophocebus albigena. They are also known as white-cheeked mangabey. These dark monkeys look in shape overall small like a small hairy baboon.
The thick brown fur of these monkeys appears nearly black in their forest habitats, with some rufus/golden mane around the neck. Females and males are similar, although males are slightly bigger than females.
They live in groups of around 5 to 30 individuals. The group either contains a single male or many male without a leader.
Dent’s Mona monkeys
Scientifically known as Cercopithecus denti the Dent’s Mona monkeys live in Uganda’s Semuliki National Park. It is a small Old World guenon monkey with a body length of 32 to 53 cm and a long tail of 67 to 90 cm. Individuals are colorful. The dorsal fur is red-brown to brown-agouti. Theventral surface and buttocks are white.
The charmingly named bushbabies are wide eyed tiny nocturnal primates, weighing up 1.3 kg. They are also known as nagapies, which means “night monkeys” in Afrikaans.
Their large eyes give them a good night vision and their bat-like ears allow them to track insects in the dark.
Because strong leg muscles that amount to about 25% of their body weight, bush babies have remarkable jumping abilities of up 2.35 meters. Their jumping muscles can perform 6 times better than those of a frog.
In a series of leaps, a galago can cover 10 yards in mere seconds. The tail, which is longer than the length of the head and body combined, assists the powerful leg muscles in powering the jumps. They may also hop like a kangaroo or simply run/walk on four legs.
The Bushbaby’s are also known for their piercing cry, a distinctive sounds of Africa at night. In fact, if you want to see a bushbaby, trace the cry to the tree, then shine a torch into it, you will easily pick out its large round eyes.
Six galago species are found in Uganda of which the lesser galago is the most common. The large and catlike silvery greater galago is thought to be restricted to Lake Victoria woodland and Lake Mburo National Park.
The scientific name a potto is Perodicticus potto. This tiny monkey is another Uganda nocturnal primate weighing up to 1.6 kilograms.
It is sometimes called Bosman’s potto and in some English-speaking parts of Africa; they are called “softly-softly”.
Their close, woolly fur is grey-brown. Pottos have a moist nose, long, slender bodies, large eyes, and round ears.
They can be encountered at night in Kibale National Park.
Carnivores found in Uganda: Carnivorous animals in Uganda
Uganda is home to over 38 different kinds of small and large carnivores. Large carnivores form part of culture of any community on earth. Whether it is the tales told in the village in Africa about lions, hyenas and leopards or the fairy tales from Europe about wolves and bears.
They convey the ’wildness’ of a place and their presence usually is an indicator that an ecosystem is intact as they are often the first species to disappear.
They are great attractions to any travelers on a safari in Africa, particularly in the savannah of Eastern and Southern Africa, and draw large numbers visitor who travel to Uganda to witness these majestic animals in natural habitats. Below are some of the carnivorous animals in Uganda:
- Spotted hyenas
- African civets
- Bat eared foxes
- Honey badgers
- African golden cats
- African wild cats
Locally known as Empologoma in Luganda, the African (Panthera leo) is like a celebrity in the animal kingdom, albeit only to us humans. It is the world’s second largest big cat after the Tiger, weighing up to 225kg.
The African lion has forever been a symbol of strength, power, and ferocity and their roars that can be heard from five miles away.
An adult lion’s coat is yellow-gold, and juveniles have some light spots that disappear with age. Only male lions typically boast manes, the impressive fringe of long hair that encircles their heads.
Also, the lion is one of the three African Big Cats and also a member of the Big Five, which most travelers have on their wish list of Uganda animals.
Lions are the only cats that live in groups. A group of lions is called a pride. A pride consists of up to 30 individuals. Female lions are the main hunters.
Facts about leopards
African leopard (Panthera pardus) is locally known Engo in Luganda language. Besides being one of the biggest and deadliest cats in the world, leopards some of the most misunderstood and misrepresented. Frequently mistaken for cheetahs, jaguars, and tigers, it takes a little learning to be able to distinguish them from others of their kind.
The African leopard is a member of the Big Five and often referred to as the master of camouflage, the most elusive of all big cats.
They can run, jump, swim and climb; they can take down prey three times their size and haul the prey like nothing, up a tree, so it can leisurely eat it without being robbed by greedy hyenas or lions.
African leopards have light-colored fur with spotted markings across their entire bodies. Their exact coloring will depend on their environment. If they live in a sunny location, they’re more likely to be a combination of white, yellow, gold and bronze; if they live somewhere colder or darker, they might be beige or even brown.
The spots of an African leopard are known as “rosettes.” Like their name suggests, they unfold like roses rather than being perfectly circular. Leopards weigh up to 90 kgs.
In Uganda, they are found in Murchison Falls National Park, Kidepo Valley National Park, and Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda.
Cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) are part of the big cat family which includes (cheetahs, lions, African leopards, snow leopards, tigers, and Jaguars).
The cheetah is one of the most beautiful and rarest animals you can see during your wildlife tours in Uganda.
One of the most interesting cheetah facts is that while they are not natural trees climbers, they can run faster than any other land animal.
With acceleration that would leave most automobiles in the dust, a cheetah can go from 0 to 97 kilometers an hour in only three seconds.
These big cats are quite nimble at high speed and can make quick and sudden turns in pursuit of prey.
Cheetahs weigh up to 65 kilograms. In Uganda, cheetahs live in Kidepo Valley National Park and Pian-Upe Wildlife Reserve.
Spotted hyena facts
Crocuta crocuta is the scientific name spotted hyenas. They are locally known as empisi in Luganda language. These large carnivores look like a dog in appearance, though they don’t belong to the dog or cat families.
They have so unique that they have a family all their own, Hyaenidae. The maniacal laughing of hyena is the largest and noisiest of four hyena species in Africa.
They live in savannas grasslands, sub-deserts, forests and mountains of Africa and Asia. Spotted hyena has large head with a long, thick, muscular neck and powerful jaws that give the hyena the strongest bite of any mammal.
Their fronts legs are longer than its back legs, giving the animal a profile somewhat like that of a wildebeest or bison.
They are known to exist in Kidepo Valley National Park in Uganda.
African civet (Civettictis civetta) looks like a raccoon because it has wide head, pointed muzzle, long neck and small eyes and ears. They have been recorded in most Uganda safari parks but they are rarely seen.
Facts about genet
Genets looks like the African civet and often mistaken as cats due slight variations in appearance. However, the genet is slender with beautiful spotted coats and extraordinarily long tails, large ears, a pointed muzzle, and partly retractile claws.
They are very secretive creatures in the wild. Genet species that are widespread in Uganda include;
- Large-spotted genet/Cape genet (Genetta tigrina)
- Servaline genet (Genetta servalina)
- Small-spotted genet/ common genet (Genetta genetta)
The Servaline genet and Small-spotted genet is usually spotted in more lightly wooded areas than the former and sometimes observed on night game drives in the Toro-Semuliki Wildlife Reserve.
The Giant forest genet (Genetta victoriae), a West African species has been recorded in Maramagambo Forest in Queen Elizabeth National Park.
Mainly live in the savannah habitats; Jackals are medium-sized omnivorous animals of the genus Canis, a genus which also includes domestic dogs and wolves. They mainly live in savannah habitats.
These canids are proficient scavengers and also opportunistic omnivores, hunting a variety of small mammals, birds, and reptiles, and eat a substantial amount of fruits and bulbs.
Jackals have long legs and curved canine teeth suitable for hunting small preys and they can run long-distances, maintaining speeds of 16 km/h for extended periods of time.
The Side-striped jackal (Canis adustus) is the most widespread canid in Uganda and can be encountered in 4 Uganda savannah parks. They are most likely to be seen in the north of Murchison Falls National Park.
They are also known to exist in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.
The black-backed jackal (Canis mesomelas), a similar canid reside in Kidepo Valley National Park and Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve. They cannot be seen elsewhere in Uganda.
Bat eared fox
Facts about the bat eared foxes
Scientifically known as Otocyon megalotis, the bat-eared fox is a small but eye-catching silver-grey insectivore. It is also referred to as long-eared fox, big-eared fox, Delalande’s fox, and black-eared fox.
This species of foxes are easy to easily due to their huge black ears and black-eye mask. They have tawny fur with black legs, and parts of the pointed face.
It is commonly seen during the early hours of the day. It is quite common in Kidepo Valley National Park.
Uganda Mongoose facts
Uganda is home to about 10 mongoose species. They are sleek mammals with long bodies, short legs, and tapered snouts.
They usually feature grey-grizzled or brown fur. Several species also have a have striped coats or ringed tails. Mongoose varies in size from 18 cm long to 61 cm.
Below are the five most common species of mongoose you can see during your tours in Uganda.
- Egyptian mongoose (Herpestes ichneumon)
- Marsh mongoose (Atilax paludinosus)
- Slender mongoose (Galerella sanguinea)
- White-tailed mongoose (Ichneumia albicauda)
- Banded mongoose (Mungos mungo)
Of these the banded mongoose are very common in Queen Elizabeth National Park’s Mweya Peninsular.
Otters are small aquatic carnivorous animals in the subfamily Lutrinae. Otters have long, slim bodies and relatively short limbs.
Their most striking anatomical features are the powerful webbed feet used to swim, and their seal-like abilities holding breath underwater.
Most have sharp claws on their feet and all except the sea otter have long, muscular tails.
Adult otters range in size, from 2.0 to 6 ft long and 1 to 45 kg in weight. They have very soft, insulated under-fur, which is protected by an outer layer of long guard hairs.
Most species hunt for 3 to 5 hours a day and nursing mothers up to 8 hours each day. The species of otters that occur in Uganda include;
- Spotted-necked otter (Hydrictis maculicollis), a dark, diurnal species is usually common on Lake Bunyonyi in Southwestern Uganda.
- Cape clawless otter (Aonyx capensis capensis)
The Western clawless otter and the Cape clawless otter can be seen in Lake Mburo National Park in Western Uganda.
The honey badger facts
The honey badger (Mellivora capensis) is also known Ratel.
Despite their name, honey badgers are not closely similar to other species of badgers. It is instead bears more anatomical similarities to weasels. In fact they are members of the weasel family. This mustelid is a medium-sized animal that stands up to 28 cm at shoulder and weigh up to 14 kg.
The head is small and flat with, a short muzzle. It has little ears, black sides and underparts, and a grey-white back. The honey badger has short strong legs and the feet are armed with very strong claws.
It is one of the most adaptable creatures eating what comes its way. It is said that they have been known to kill buffaloes by running underneath them and bite off their testicles.
They get their name from their love for feeding on honey and honeybee larvae. Honey badgers also feed on insects, amphibians, reptiles, bird, and mammals, as wells roots, bulbs, berries, and fruits.
Most of the time they hunt for their own food, but they will happily steal from other carnivores or scavenge the kills of bigger animals when the opportunity arises. They are widespread in Uganda but uncommon and rarely seen.
Herbivorous animals in Uganda
- African bush elephants
- Southern white rhinoceros
- Rothschild’s Giraffe
- African buffalo/Cape buffalo
- Burchell’s zebra
- Common warthog
- Bush pigs
- Giant Forest Hogs
- African bush elephants
The African bush elephant (Loxodonta africana) also known as African savanna elephant is the world’s largest and heaviest land animal. It is largest of the three elephant species. Measuring about 13 feet at shoulder and up to 24 feet long, they can weigh up to 10600 kilograms (10.6 tonnes).
Males only reach their full size at 35-40 years – that’s well over half their lifespan as wild elephants can live for up to 60-70 years. They are characterized by its highly dexterous trunk, long curved tusks, and massive ears.
In Uganda, you can see the African bush elephant in Queen Elizabeth National Park, Kidepo Valley National Park, and Murchison Falls National Park.
Southern white rhinoceros
The Southern white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum simum) is also known as Southern square-lipped rhinoceros.
Like elephants, leopards, lions, and buffaloes, the rhino is also a member of the Big Five. Rhinos are gigantic, herbivorous animals identified by their characteristic horned snouts.
The name “rhinoceros” comes from the Greek “rhino” (nose) and “ceros” (horn). Because the animals’ horns are used in folk medicine rhinos are today among the most endangered creatures on Earth.
All five species of rhinoceros (White rhinoceros, Black rhinoceros, Indian rhinoceros, Javan rhinoceros, and Sumatran rhinoceros) can grow to weigh over 1000 kg. White rhino can weigh over 3500 kg. The Southern white rhinoceros is a sub species of the white rhinos. In Uganda, you will see rhinos in Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary.
Rothschild’s Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis rothschildi) is also referred to as Ugandan giraffe or Baringo giraffe. It is among the most iconic Africa safari animals you will see during your safaris in Uganda.
Giraffes are the tallest mammals in the whole world. Their legs alone are taller than many humans—about 6 feet. Because it is so tall, it can see predators from a great distance, giving it the opportunity to warn not only its herd but other animals as well.
These amazing calm creatures can run as fast as 35 miles an hour over short distances, or cruise at 10 mph over longer distances.
A giraffe’s neck is too short to reach the ground. As a result, it has to awkwardly spread its front legs or kneel to reach the ground for a drink of water.
In Uganda, you can see the Rothschild Giraffes in Murchison Falls National Park, Lake Mburo National Park, and you might also see them in Kidepo Valley National Park.
African buffalo/Cape buffalo
The Cape buffalo (Syncerus caffer) is a member of the Big Five. It is one of the most dangerous animals on earth. It is often referred to as ‘The Black Death’, due to the fact that it killed more big game hunters than the other four Big Gems put together.
Buffaloes have an average life span of 11 to 22 years in the wild. They are about 4 to 5 feet tall at shoulder and weigh up 1000 kg.
You can see buffaloes in Uganda in Queen Elizabeth National Park, Kidepo Valley National Park and Murchison Falls National Park.
Aside from Elephant and the Rhinoceros the Hippo (Hippopotamus amphibius) is largest land mammal. They grow up to 16.5 feet long and stand up to 5.2 feet tall at the shoulder. The average female weighs around 1361 kilograms.
Hippopotami love water, which is why the Greeks named them the “river horse.” They spend most of the day time (about 16 hrs.) submerged in rivers and lakes to keep their massive bodies cool under the hot African sun.
When they bask on the shoreline, they secrete red oily substance, which gave rise to the myth that hippos sweat blood.
You can see hippos in Uganda on a boat cruise on Kazinga channel in Queen Elizabeth National Park. You can also see them in Murchison Falls National Park and Lake Mburo National Park.
The Burchell’s zebra (Equus quagga) is also known as Plains zebra or Common zebra. Zebras are among the so many majestic and beautiful African animals that attract so many wildlife enthusiasts from around the world to undertake safaris to Uganda.
Native to Africa, Zebras are single-hoofed animals that are very closely related to horses; In fact, they are in the same genus, Equus.
The most prominent feature of zebras is their black and white stripe. But when it comes to zebras, it is not all about black and white. These elegant spirited horses of Africa lead fascinating and complex lives.
To a casual observer zebras appear to move in large homogenous groups similar to buffaloes, but in fact the zebra community is composed of many family units, each controlled by a dominant stallion with 2 to 6 mares.
Looking closely at a large group of zebra one will note a patchy distribution of small groups as opposed to a plain filled with buffaloes in which they are evenly distributed.
The stallion always brings up the rear of its harem when being pursued which makes it much more susceptible to predation. You will learn more about the social behaviours of Zebras during you safari to Uganda’s Lake Mburo National Park and Kidepo Valley National Park.
The common warthog (Phacochoerus africanus) is a wild member of the pig family (Suidae). Like their relatives, they have plump, hooves and large nostrils at the end of the snout. Warthogs have little fur except for a mane that goes down the spine to the middle of the back.
Their tails also end with a tuft of hair. They have large teeth or tusks. They weigh up 150 kg.
Warthogs are very powerful diggers, using both their snouts and feet. Whilst feeding, they often bend their front feet backwards and move around on the wrists.
When threatened, Warthogs can run speeds of up to 48 kilometers per hour will run with their tails sticking up and will enter their dens rear first with tusks facing out.
Different types of antelope in Uganda
Over 29 species of antelope reside in Uganda including; 5 species of large antelopes, 8 species of medium sized antelopes and the remainder are small antelope. Below are some of the antelopes in Uganda;
- Common eland
- Uganda kob
- Defassa waterbuck
- Jackson’s hartebeest
- Greater Kudu
- Roan antelopes
- Sitatunga/ marshbuck
- Lesser kudu
- Grant’s gazelles
- Moutain reedbuck
- Bohor reedbuck
- Guenther’s dik-dik
- Bates’s pygmy antelope
- Common eland
The common eland (Taurotragus oryx) is the largest and heaviest antelopes in Africa, but also the slowest antelope. Although it can only run about 40 km an hour, it can incredibly jump 10 feet from a standing start.
When walking, tendon or joints in the eland’s foreleg produce a sharp clicking sound, the cause of which has not been widely investigated.
You can see the common Elands in on you Uganda tour in Lake Mburo National Park and Kidepo Valley National Park.
The Uganda Kob (Kobus kob thomasi) is a National Antelope of Uganda, as it appears on the coat of arms of Uganda, along with a grey crowned crane, representing the abundant wildlife present in the country.
This kob is a medium-sized antelope with a medium brown coat, medium length horns and large ears. Only males have horns. You can see the Uganda Kob in Queen Elizabeth National Park.
Graceful Impalas (Aepyceros melampus) are known for their long, spiraled horns which males use to challenge each other in tests of strength. Older impala males stake out mating territories and herd groups of females that they jealously guard against any rivals.
Running impalas simply jump over anything in their path. They can incredibly leap 10-12 feet and cover 35-45 feet (10+) in a single broad jump.
This graceful, slender antelope has a smooth coat that seems to shimmer in sunlight. The upperparts are a rich reddish brown, the lower flanks are light-tan brown and the belley is white.
There are distinctive black stripes on the back of each thigh and down the center of the upper side of the tail that form three vertical lines when seen from behind. Impalas in Uganda are found in Lake Mburo National Park.
Defassa waterbucks (Kobus ellipsiprymnus) are large, robust antelopes with long, shaggy hair and a brown-gray coat that emits an oily secretion from its sweat glands, which acts as a water repellent.
They have large, rounded ears and white patches above the eyes, and around the nose and mouth and throat. You can see them in Queen Elizabeth National Park and Murchison Falls National Park.
Bushbucks (Tragelaphus sylvaticus) are the smallest spiral-horned antelopes, with an average weight of 58 kilograms. They resemble lowland Nyalas. Females are known as ewes and males are known as rams.
Males feature a fur colour that is dark grayish. The bushbuck’s coat is further decorated by white spots on the flanks. You can find them on you Uganda safari in Queen Elizabeth National Park, Murchison Falls National Park, Lake Mburo National Park and several other areas in Uganda.
The Jackson’s Hartebeest (Alcelaphus buselaphus) is regarded as a hybrid between the Lelwel and Coke’s hartebeest. It has a large antelope with an elongated forehead and a pair of oddly reggid horns. From head to body, it has a length of between 150 to 200 centimetres, weighing over 200 kilograms (440.2 pounds).
The Greater kudu (Tragelaphus strepsiceros) is among the largest antelopes. It has a narrow body with long legs. Their coats can range from brown/bluish grey to reddish brown. They possess between 4 and 12 vertical white stripes along their torso.
The head tends to be darker in colour than the rest of the body, and exhibits a small white chevron which runs between the eyes.
Greater kudus produce one of the loudest sounds of any antelope in form of a gruff bark. Males ‘spiraled horns allow them allow them to spar by interlocking them. The males then proceed to shove and twist until one opponent is knocked off balance and thrown down. You can see them in Kidepo Valley National Park.
One of the largest African bovid, the roan antelope (Hippotragus equinus) has a gray coat with black and white facial markings, very long, pointed ears that are tufted at tip and long horns that are strongly curved backwards. The female is similar to the male, but with smaller, less heavily ridged horns. The road antelope is only exceeded in size by the African buffalo and eland. You can see them in Pian-Upe Wildlife Reserve.