Animals of Zambia

Written by Fenhas Robin, Zoologist

Zambia, in southern Africa, is a landlocked country of rugged terrain and diverse wildlife, with many parks and safari areas. On its border with Zimbabwe is famed Victoria Falls – indigenously called Mosi-oa-Tunya, or “Smoke That Thunders” – plunging a misty 108m into narrow Batoka Gorge. Spanning the Zambezi River just below the falls is Victoria Falls Bridge, a spectacular viewpoint

In this article we will have a closer look at 5 common animals of Zambia

  1. Rhodesian Giraffe
  2. Lechwe 
  3. African Civet
  4. African Fish Eagle (National Bird of Zambia)
  5. Black Rhinoceros

#1 Rhodesian Giraffe

Rhodesian giraffe

The Rhodesian giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis thornicrofti), more commonly known as Thornicroft’s giraffe, is a subspecies of giraffe. These giraffes are geographically isolated, occuring only in Zambia’s South Luangwa Valley. An estimated 550 live in the wild, with no captive populations.

Giraffes only need to drink once every few days. Most of their water comes from all the plants they eat. Giraffes spend most of their lives standing up; they even sleep and give birth standing up. The giraffe calf can stand up and walk after about an hour and within a week, it starts to sample vegetation.

Habitat: Grassland and open woodlands

Diet:: Leaves, climbers, fruits( 100 pound/day)

Height: Males range from 16-18 feet (4.8-5.5 m) tall and weigh as much as 4,200 pounds (1,900 kg). females reach 14-16 feet (4.3-4.8 m) tall and weigh up to 2,600 pounds (1,180 kg)

Speed: The giraffe can reach a sprint speed of up to 60 km/h (37 mph), and can sustain 50 km/h (31 mph) for several kilometres. 

#2: Lechwe

Red lechwe

The lechwe, red lechwe or southern lechwe, is an antelope found in wetlands of south central Africa.

Habitats: Lechwe are found in marshy areas where they eat aquatic plants They use the knee-deep water as protection from predators. Their legs are covered in a water-repellant substance which allows them to run quite fast in knee-deep water. Lechwe are diurnal. They gather in herds which can include many thousands of individuals. Herds are usually all of one sex, but during mating season they mix.

Diet: Lechwe are herbivores feed on aquatic grasses.

#3: African Civet

The African civet is a large viverrid native to sub-Saharan Africa, where it is considered common and widely distributed in woodlands and secondary forests.

Diet: The omnivorous diet includes carrion, rodents, birds, eggs, reptiles, frogs, crabs, insects, fruits, and other vegetation

Habitats:it can be found along river systems that project into the arid areas of Niger, Mali, and Chad.

Size: African civets can reach 17 to 28 inches in length. They can weigh anything between 3 and 10 pounds. The females are usually a bit larger. 

#4: African Fish Eagle

The African fish eagle or the African sea eagle, is a large species of eagle found throughout sub-Saharan Africa wherever large bodies of open water with an abundant food supply occur. It is the national bird of Namibia and Zambia.Mass::2.1 – 3.6 kg Diet: The African fish eagle feeds mainly on fish, which it swoops down upon from a perch in a tree, snatching the prey from the water with its large, clawed talons. The eagle then flies back to its perch to eat its catch.Top Speed:20 mph. Habitats: African fish eagles are quite common near freshwater lakes, reservoirs, and rivers.Length63 – 77 cm.  

#5: Black rhinoceros

The black rhinoceros or hook-lipped rhinoceros is a species of rhinoceros, native to eastern and southern Africa including Angola, Botswana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Eswatini, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Although the rhinoceros is referred to as black, its colours vary from brown to grey.Mass::800 – 1,400 kg (Adult). Height:1.3 – 1.8 m (Adult, At Shoulder). Diet: As a herbivorous browser, black rhinos primarily eat leafy plants, branches, shoots, thorny wood bushes, and fruit. Habitat:The black rhino lives in Africa, primarily in grasslands, savannahs and tropical bush lands.Speed: 55 km/h.

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