Mammals

aardvark

Aardvark

With its anteater’s tongue, piggish snout, and bear-like claws, the aardvark draws many easy comparisons. Its name means “earth pig” in the Afrikaans language, and it has also been called the “ant bear.” However, the aardvark is neither anteater, nor pig, nor bear. It is the only species within its order, Tubulidentata.

Chinchilla

Chinchilla

The chinchilla is a South American rodent with very dense, soft fur. This covering helps it to survive in its cold, mountainous habitat. Though it looks a little like a rabbit, the two are unrelated. But chinchillas are also fast on their feet as they hop, skip, and jump over rocks.

African Wild Dog

African wild dogs are also known as "Cape hunting dogs" or “painted dogs” for their unique mottled coats. These highly social animals share some qualities with domestic dogs, wolves, and other canines, but are not closely related to our four-legged best friends. In fact, they are in a distinct genus from domestic dogs and wolves.

Elephants

Asian Elephant

As the largest land animal, elephants come in two types: African and Asian. Asian elephants have smaller ears and only one “finger” at the end of their trunks. The trunk is actually the elephant’s nose, which it uses like a hand and a straw, inserting food and squirting water into its mouth.

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Fossa

The fossa, pronounced “foosh,” is one of Madagascar’s top predators and its largest mammalian carnivore. A relative of the mongoose, it looks a lot like a miniature puma. Local folklore has given fossas a bad rap—but perhaps they’re feared most by the lemurs, their favorite prey!

Gelada Baboon

Gelada

Geladas wear their hearts on their sleeves, or rather, their chests. A pink, hourglass-shaped patch of skin on their chest changes color with their hormone levels to display their readiness to mate. These highly social primates are closely related to baboons.

Giraffes

Giraffe

For many Africans, giraffes symbolize fertility, rain, strength, and prosperity. This strange and shy, spotted mammal is the tallest living terrestrial animal. One giraffe reached a record 19.3 feet high!

Gorilla

Gorilla

The largest of all primates, the peaceful, family-bound gorilla is considered Africa’s “gentle giant.” The four gorilla subspecies include western lowland gorilla, eastern lowland gorilla, mountain gorilla, and Cross River gorilla.