African Savanna Animals

African Savanna Animals: The African Savanna is vast tropical grassland that covers a significant portion of Africa. It is home to some of the world’s most iconic and diverse wildlife, including large mammals, reptiles, and birds. These animals have adapted to the unique conditions of the savanna, where hot and dry seasons alternate with rainy ones. Some have developed impressive physical attributes, such as the speed of cheetahs and the strength of elephants, while others rely on their keen senses or camouflage to survive. The African Savanna animals are not only fascinating to observe, but they also play critical roles in the ecosystem, contributing to seed dispersal, pollination, and soil health. Unfortunately, many of these species are under threat from habitat loss, poaching, and climate change. As such, understanding and protecting these incredible animals is more important than ever.

African Savanna Animals

Find some animals that live in the savanna.

The African Elephant

The African elephant (Loxodonta africana) is the largest land mammal in the world and one of the most iconic animals found in the African savanna ecosystem. They are found in 37 African countries, primarily in savanna habitats, but also in forested areas and deserts.

African elephants are known for their distinctive features, such as their large ears which are used to regulate body temperature, and their long trunks which are used for a variety of tasks, including grasping food, drinking water, and social interaction with other elephants.

These magnificent animals are herbivores and eat a variety of vegetation, including grasses, leaves, fruits, and bark. They have a high water requirement and can consume up to 50 gallons of water per day.

African elephants are highly social animals and live in herds that are typically led by a matriarch, who is the oldest and most experienced female in the group. The matriarch is responsible for guiding the herd to food and water sources and protecting them from predators.

One of the most fascinating behaviors of African elephants is their ability to communicate with each other over long distances using a variety of sounds, such as trumpeting, rumbling, and grunting. They also use their sense of smell to detect the presence of other elephants and communicate through pheromones.

Unfortunately, African elephants face many threats, including habitat loss, poaching for their ivory tusks, and human-elephant conflict. As a result, their populations have declined significantly over the past few decades, and they are now classified as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Conservation efforts are underway to protect African elephants and their habitat. These include anti-poaching patrols, habitat restoration, and community-based conservation programs that help mitigate human-elephant conflict. With these efforts, there is hope that African elephants can continue to thrive in the savannas of Africa for generations to come.

Find: Birds of Africa


Aardvarks are widely distributed throughout Africa, south of the Sahara. They derive their name from the Afrikaans language spoken in South Africa, which translates to ‘earth pig’. These nocturnal animals typically rest in their subterranean burrows during the scorching African afternoons, emerging at night to forage for termites in grasslands and forests.


The caracal (Caracal caracal) is a medium-sized wild cat that is found in the savannas, grasslands, and scrublands of Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia. It is also commonly known as the ‘desert lynx’ or ‘African lynx’ due to its physical resemblance to lynx cats.

The caracal is a solitary and elusive animal that is primarily active during the night. They are known for their distinctive black tufted ears, which are used to communicate with other caracals and for hunting by detecting the slightest movements of prey. They have a reddish-brown fur coat, with a white underbelly and black markings around their eyes.

As carnivores, caracals primarily hunt small to medium-sized prey, such as rodents, hares, birds, and antelopes. They are highly skilled hunters and are able to catch prey that is much larger than themselves, thanks to their powerful hind legs that allow them to jump up to 12 feet high in a single leap.

Caracals play a crucial role in the savanna ecosystem, as they help to control the population of small mammals and birds. They are also preyed upon by larger predators such as lions and hyenas, which are their main threats in the wild.

Despite being a widespread species, the caracal is still threatened by habitat loss and fragmentation, as well as poaching for their fur and body parts. Conservation efforts are underway to protect the caracal and its habitat, including the establishment of protected areas, anti-poaching patrols, and community education programs.

Overall, the caracal is a fascinating and important species in the savanna ecosystem, with its distinctive appearance and impressive hunting abilities. It serves as a reminder of the importance of preserving and protecting the natural world for future generations to enjoy.


The eland (Taurotragus oryx) is a large antelope species that is found in the savannas and grasslands of Africa. They are the largest species of antelope and are known for their distinctive spiral-shaped horns that can grow up to three feet long.

Elands have a light brown to grayish coat that is marked with white stripes on their sides, and they have a dewlap, a loose flap of skin that hangs from their throat. They are herbivores and primarily feed on grasses, leaves, and bark.

Elands are social animals and form large herds of up to 500 individuals. During the mating season, males will compete with each other for the right to mate with females. After a gestation period of nine months, females will give birth to a single calf, which will stay with its mother for up to two years.

Elands play an important role in the savanna ecosystem by helping to maintain the balance between plant growth and herbivore populations. They are also a source of food for predators such as lions, hyenas, and leopards.

Despite their size and strength, elands are still hunted by humans for their meat and hides. Habitat loss and fragmentation due to human activities such as agriculture and development also threaten their populations. Conservation efforts are underway to protect elands and their habitat, including the establishment of protected areas and community education programs.

In conclusion, the eland is a fascinating and important species in the savanna ecosystem, with their impressive size and distinctive horns. They serve as a reminder of the importance of preserving and protecting the natural world for future generations to enjoy.


The cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) is a large wild cat that is found in the savannas and grasslands of Africa and some parts of Iran. They are known for their incredible speed, making them the fastest land animal in the world, capable of running up to 70 miles per hour.

Cheetahs have a distinctive slender body, with a short tan fur coat covered in black spots. They also have a long tail that helps them to maintain balance while running at high speeds. Their sharp eyesight, keen sense of hearing, and excellent sense of smell allow them to locate their prey from a distance.

As carnivores, cheetahs primarily feed on small to medium-sized ungulates, such as gazelles and impalas. They hunt by stalking their prey and then using their incredible speed to chase and capture them. Due to their slender build, cheetahs cannot fight larger predators, such as lions or hyenas, and often lose their prey to these animals.

Cheetahs are solitary animals and only come together during mating season. Females raise their cubs alone, teaching them how to hunt and fend for themselves. However, cheetahs face many threats in the wild, including habitat loss, poaching for their fur, and human-wildlife conflict.

Conservation efforts are underway to protect cheetahs and their habitat, including the establishment of protected areas, anti-poaching patrols, and community education programs. Despite these efforts, the cheetah population has declined significantly over the past few decades, and they are now classified as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

In conclusion, the cheetah is a fascinating and important species in the savanna ecosystem, with its incredible speed and unique hunting abilities. However, their survival is threatened by a variety of human-induced factors, highlighting the need for continued conservation efforts to protect this iconic species.


The giraffe is an unmistakable land mammal and perhaps the ultimate icon of the African savanna, known for its long neck and spotted coat. Arab prophets referred to them as the ‘queen of the beasts’ due to their delicate features and graceful poise.

With nine subspecies, the giraffe is the tallest land animal in the world. Its coat is characterized by dark blotches on lighter hair, and while calves inherit spot patterns from their mothers, each giraffe has a unique coat pattern that sets it apart. Male giraffes may become darker with age.

Giraffes have a sharp sense of hearing and smell, which serve as a defense against predators. They can also close their nostrils during sandstorms and against ants.

Grant’s Zebra

Grant’s zebra, also known as the plains zebra or Burchell’s zebra, is a species of zebra that is native to the grassy plains and savannas of eastern and southern Africa. They are one of the most common and well-known animals found in these regions and are easily recognizable by their black and white striped pattern.


Grant’s zebras are medium-sized equids, typically measuring between 7 and 8.5 feet in length and weighing between 440 and 660 pounds. They have a distinctive black and white striped coat pattern, which varies in thickness and width depending on the individual. Their bellies and lower legs are typically white, while their backs, flanks, and upper legs are black with white stripes. The stripes on their rumps tend to be more horizontal, while those on their legs and face tend to be more vertical.


Grant’s zebras are social animals that typically live in large herds, which can consist of several hundred individuals. Within these herds, there is a dominant male known as a stallion, who leads and protects the group. The other males in the herd may be subordinate to the stallion or form bachelor groups.

In addition to their social structure, Grant’s zebras are known for their impressive communication abilities. They use a variety of vocalizations, including snorts, whinnies, and brays, to communicate with one another. They also use their ears, tail, and body language to signal to other members of their herd.


Grant’s zebras are herbivores, and their diet primarily consists of grasses and other tough, fibrous plants. They have adapted to the harsh savanna environment by developing a set of large, strong teeth that allow them to grind and digest these tough plant materials.


Like many other species of savanna animals, Grant’s zebras face a number of threats to their survival. These include habitat loss due to human encroachment and the expansion of agricultural and urban areas, as well as poaching for their meat and hides. Climate change and increased competition with livestock for food and water resources are also major concerns for the species.


Efforts to protect and conserve Grant’s zebras are ongoing. In some areas, they are protected within national parks and wildlife reserves, where they can roam freely without fear of human interference. Conservationists also work to educate local communities about the importance of preserving these animals and their habitats, and to develop sustainable strategies for managing land use and resource allocation in the savanna ecosystems where they live.

List of Savanna Animals

There are many different types of animals that inhabit the African Savanna, each with its unique adaptations and behaviors. Here is a list of some of the most common and recognizable savanna animals:

  • African Elephant
  • Giraffe
  • Lion
  • Leopard
  • Cheetah
  • Hyena
  • Zebra
  • Wildebeest
  • Gazelle
  • Warthog
  • Buffalo
  • Hippopotamus
  • Crocodile
  • Ostrich
  • Secretary Bird
  • Vulture
  • Kudu
  • Impala
  • Jackal
  • Meerkat

This is not an exhaustive list, and there are many other animals that live in the savanna, including birds, insects, and reptiles. Additionally, some species have subspecies or regional variations that differ slightly from one another. Nevertheless, these are some of the most iconic and well-known savanna animals.