Wildlife and Animals in Uganda
Uganda is home to a variety of wild animals a reason why it is ranked among the best wildlife destinations in the world, Uganda is home to many fascinating animals such as the critically endangered mountain gorilla, the big 5 (lions, rhinos, elephants, buffaloes, and leopards).
Uganda is a haven for wildlife and animals found in Uganda are group into categories that are primates, herbivores, carnivores, and reptiles as listed and detailed below.
- Mountain Gorilla
Mountain gorillas are critically endangered animals and one of the most sought an animal in
Uganda, Mountain gorillas are also referred to as Gorilla beringei beringei found in only in 4 protected areas in the world with only Uganda habiting them in 2 locations.
There are about 1000 mountain gorilla individuals found in the world and Uganda is home to the world’s largest population with over 700 mountain gorilla individuals, mountain gorillas are physically huge primates with their bodies fully covered with fur.
These animals are closet cousins to the humans sharing 98% of their DNA with human, mountain gorillas found living in forested areas situated on high altitudes.
Mountain gorillas in Uganda are found in 2 protected areas/ national parks that are Bwindi impenetrable national park and Mgahinga national park which are both located in southwestern Uganda.
Chimpanzees are other remarkable primates found in Uganda and a top attraction, chimpanzees are very playful animals and relatives to humans sharing 99% of their DNA with humans. Chimpanzees are highly intelligent primates closely related to bonobo usually referred to as pygmy chimpanzees, physically chimpanzees are covered in coarse black hair but their faces, fingers, toes, soles of the feet, and palms of the hands are bare.
The entertaining aspect about chimpanzees is that they are very sociable animals that spend most of their time bonding and grooming, they also communicate using verbal and non-verbal expressions like hand and facial gestures.
In Uganda there are over 5,000 chimpanzee individuals and these are found in various protected areas such as Kibale forest national park, Kyambura gorge and Kalinzu forest in Queen Elizabeth national park, Budongo forests in Murchison falls national park, and Semuliki wildlife reserve. Kibale national park inhabits the largest population of chimpanzees in Uganda and East Africa.
- Black-and-white Colobus Monkey
Black and white colobus monkeys are black monkeys with a white face, whitetails with white tufts at the end of the long tails, and long white hair running from the shoulders to the rump. The amazing fact about black and white colobus monkeys is that their babies are born white.
Black and white colobus monkeys are found in Kibale national park, Queen Elizabeth national park, Semuliki national park, and many other areas.
- Olive Baboon
Olive Baboon is larger sized primates with a dog lie face, these primates are found living in bamboo/montane regions in Uganda and usually sighted along the roadsides and countrysides.
Olive baboons in Uganda are found in Queen Elizabeth national park, Murchison falls national park, Semuliki national park, Kibale forest national park, Lake Mburo national park, and many more.
Other primates found in Uganda include De Brazza’s monkey, blue monkeys, vervet monkey, L’Hoest’s monkey, Patas monkey, red colobus, potto, golden monkey, grey-cheeked mangabeys, dwarf bushbaby, Thomas bush baby, the eastern needled-clawed bushbaby, and bush babies.
- African Lion
The African lion is the most sought for animals on game viewing safari in Uganda, lions are also referred to as panther Leo and one of the Big five animals.
Lions are the king of the jungle and they are notably powerful and graceful animals taking pride in hunting, In Uganda lions are the second popular animals. These animals weigh about 680 kilograms with a height of 165 centimeters, lions prey on animals such as antelopes and many other little mammals.
Lions in Uganda are found in Queen Elizabeth national park, Murchison falls national park, and Kidepo national park. Lions in Queen Elizabeth national park are tree-climbing lions and are found in the Ishasha sector of the park.
Cheetahs are rare animals and very fast animals capable of running 80 – 128 kilometers per hour though they are the least powerful among the large predators, cheetahs grow to reach to about 67-94 centimeters and adults weigh between 20 – 65 kilograms.
Cheetahs are fond of living in grassland and savannah habitats and in Uganda they are found in Kidepo national park.
- African Leopard
African leopards are not easy animals to spot due to their solitary nature, unlike lions, leopards live alone and they are mainly nocturnal animals fond of living on top of the trees, caves, and long grass. African leopards have spotted coats which help them camouflage while attacking their prey.
African leopards in Uganda are found in Queen Elizabeth national park, Lake Mburo national park, Semuliki national park, and Kidepo valley national park.
- Spotted Hyena
The spotted hyena is one of the most common large animals in Africa as well as Africa, the animals are nocturnal in nature, and are over 47,000 individuals in sub-Saharan Africa. Spotted hyenas are primarily hunters feeding on fresh, skin and bones, spotted hyenas hunt in groups and have the ability to chase their prey for about 60 kilometers per hour.
Spotted hyenas are also referred to as laughing hyenas because of their weird barking noise and in Uganda are found in Lake Mburo national park, Queen Elizabeth national park, Murchison Falls national park, Kidepo valley National Parks.
There are carnivores in Uganda such as African civet, African wild cat, mongoose, genets, otters, jackals, smaller cats, caracal, and serval.
- African Elephant
African elephants are of two species found in Uganda that are African savanna elephants (Loxodonta africana) and the smaller forest elephants (Loxodonta cyclotis). African elephants are the largest animals on land with a life span of about 70 years, African elephants are very intelligent, caring, and social animals living in groups led by a female elephant.
African elephants are also critical animals as they hunt for their ivory which has led to the reduction in their population, currently, there are about 5,000 individuals left in Uganda.
In Uganda African elephants are found in Murchison falls national park, Kidepo national park, Bwindi forests, Kibale forests, and Queen Elizabeth national park.
Rhinos are of two kinds (Southern White Rhinoceros and black rhino which are currently extinct in Uganda), rhinos are of the small color either black or white, and due to poaching for their horns, they became extinct. And the only available rhino individuals have just been reintroduced in Uganda.
Hippopotamus are very large aquatic animals ranked as the third-largest land mammals after elephants and rhinos, hippopotamus has webbed feet and no sweat glands which help them spend most of the life submerged in water.
Hippopotamus in Uganda are found in most of the water bodies in Uganda and they are best sighted in Murchison falls national park, Queen Elizabeth national park, and Lake Mburo National Park.
- Rothschild Giraffe
Rothschild Giraffe is the world’s tallest land mammal, this animal is gentle and graceful in nature living and moving in same-sex herds. Rothschild giraffes are very social, peaceful but they defend themselves against attacks mostly from lions, hyenas, and leopards.
Rothschild giraffe in Uganda is found in Murchison falls national park, Kidepo valley national park, Lake Mburo national park, and Uganda Wildlife Education center.
- African Buffalo
African buffalo is one of the big five animals fond of wallowing in water, buffaloes are one of the most dangerous animals and they are social animals living in large herds. African Buffalo are found in savannah and forested regions and in Uganda they are found in Queen Elizabeth national park around Kazinga channel, Murchison Falls national park, and Lake Mburo national park.
- Burchell’s Zebra
Burchell’s Zebra is a very beautiful striped animal with black and white strips, currently, Uganda inhabits over 3000 individuals. Burchell’s zebra are very social animals living in large herds are very shy animals fond of running away when humans approach them.
Burchell’s zebras in Uganda are Lake Mburo national park, Kidepo valley national park, Katonga wildlife reserve, and Kahungye Island wildlife reserve.
Other herbivores found in Uganda include Ankole Cattle, Common Warthog, antelopes species such as greater kudus, hartebeests, Oryx, Defassa waterbuck, sitatunga, lesser kudus, grant’s gazelle, Uganda kob, impala, forest duiker, peter’s duiker, grey duiker, black-fronted duiker, Harvey’s red duiker, oribi, klipspringer, bates’ pygmy antelope, swine, warthog, bush pig, and giant forest hog.
- Nile crocodile
Nile crocodiles are the largest living reptile with about 6 meters in length at growth and weighing about 1 ton with a life span of about 150 million years, in the whole of Africa Nile crocodiles are found in 256 countries mainly in central, east, and south regions including Uganda. Nile crocodiles are extremely aggressive predators feeding on fish, birds and small mammals that come in contact with it, the Nile crocodiles are the most dangerous predators responsible for the death of many humans.
Nile crocodiles are found in Murchison falls national park, Queen Elizabeth national park along the Kazinga channel, lake Mburo national park along the shores of Lake Mburo, and many more.
- Forest Cobra
The forest cobra is the biggest snakes of the cobra family with about 2 meters in length, the forest cobras are identified by their distinctive yellow-black stripes and their hood which is similar to the other cobras. Forest cobras are fond of living in thick forest vegetation and in water since they are good swimmers.
Forest cobras are very venomous and their bite can kill if not treated at the earliest, forest cobras in Uganda are found in the Reptiles Village in Entebbe and many forests such as Kibale forests, Bwindi forests, and many more.
- Jackson’s Tree Snake
Jackson’s tree snake is one of the most dangerous snakes to humans found in Uganda, as their name these snakes are fond of living on tree branches. Jackson’s tree snake grows to about 2 meters long and it usually puffs up its neck nearly twice its size when threatened, Jackson’s tree snake feeds on bird’s eggs, frogs, chameleons, and other small mammals.
Jackson’s tree snakes are typically shy snakes and are best sighted in the Uganda reptile’s village.
Uganda other types of venomous snakes such as puff Ander “the most venomous snake”, Gaboon viper, python, Jameson’s mamba, black mamba, black-necked spitting cobra, and many more.
- Monitor Lizard
Monitor Lizard in Uganda are of two kinds that are savanna monitor and the Nile monitor, Nile monitor is the largest lizard growing to the length of about 2 meters. Monitor lizards are a close cousin to crocodiles and they are harmless to humans, these lizards are powerful and have sharp claws and a strong trail, monitor lizards are carnivorous in nature feeding on smaller reptiles such as birds, fish, and small mammals and crocodile eggs.
The fascinating aspect of monitor lizards is that they excellent tree climbers and great swimmers with the ability to stay underwater for about 1 hour. Monitor lizards in Uganda are found along the edges of Uganda’s lakes and rivers and easily seen while on a boat cruise at Kazinga channel, on the Nile in Murchison falls national park, on Lake Mburo, and many more.
Other reptiles in Uganda include chameleons.