Top 5 of Africa’s weirdest creatures


Ready for battle!

Also known as the scaly anteater, the pangolin is perhaps the weirdest African animal out of them all! Physically speaking, it is highly distinguishable. Its armor is like no other, and its plated scales cover most of the body: upper parts, sides and tail.

When placed under stress, the little warrior rolls itself into a tight ball to defend itself (like hedgehogs). Wouldn’t want to touch it under those circumstances…indeed, the scales have a very powerful cutting action that can inflict serious wounds!

In defensive mode!

The pangolin lives in holes or under dense bush. It eats small insects such as ants and termites, digs them up with its formidable claws and sensitive nose, and catches them with a long sultry tongue!

Although the creature does not possess any teeth, it has a well-developed muscular stomach that grinds its food with the help of ingested sand and gravel.


A very unusual “pig!”

The Aardvark, or “Earth Pig” (from the Afrikaans word Erdvark), is a solitary creature that is seldom seen. In fact, I’ve never seen any (sigh)…yet reminders of their presence exist in abundance as they dig holes throughout the bush. The cavities are especially visible around termite mounds, which provide most of the animal’s food.


A mutant zebra?

On the verge of extinction, the okapi is a funny mix between a horse and a zebra. It still inhabits the forests of Northern Congo, around the Ugandan border.

This “forest giraffe” is dependent upon clearings and breaks in the canopy in order to feed. It forages a variety of rainforest plants, and will even eat fruits and fungi when available!

Very little is known on this elusive yet magnificent creature!

Elephant Shrew

What are you staring at?!

A little mouse-like insectivore with an imposing snout! Uncommonly seen, yet distributed across Southern Africa and encompassing almost every biome. Very funny to watch as they sniff out small invertebrates, gathering them with the tongue!

Out of the 15 species of elephant-shrews widespread across the continent, my favorite one has to be the Golden-rumped Elephant-Shrew type. It has such a precious glossy coat! 🙂 Which one’s yours?


Strange “bunny” hare specimen!

An “evolved” hare species with kangaroo-like hind legs! Purely nocturnal, these vegetarian creatures live in pairs and are usually part of large communities that live in sandy soil burrows.

If you ever get the chance to stay at Ndutu Lodge (Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Tanzania), you are more than likely to see them at night. The springhare’s eyes shine brightly in a spotlight, so you won’t have to search for them long!

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7 Responses to Top 5 of Africa’s weirdest creatures

  1. Matt March 19, 2012 at 4:35 pm #

    Son is doing a project on African animals, so I wanted him to do the strangest animals. The Pangolin and Okapi will do nicely, thanks.

  2. Brian August 12, 2009 at 1:34 am #

    I stayed at the Masai Mara Serena Lodge several years ago and remember seeing several small mammals at the lodge, that seemed to be pretty friendly and not that afraid of humans. From my recollection I think they were Hyraxes based on the pictures I’ve seen on the web.May not be classed as weird but very cute animals

  3. Africafreak August 11, 2009 at 9:57 pm #

    Glad to hear that 🙂 ;)!

  4. Isabelle August 11, 2009 at 9:18 pm #

    No, I only knew about the Aardvark and the Okapi. So I did learn something new 🙂

  5. Isabelle August 11, 2009 at 8:56 pm #

    Great post! Some of them are really weird 😉 Thanks for sharing.

    • Africafreak August 11, 2009 at 9:01 pm #

      Pleasure Isabelle! 🙂 Did you know them all? A big fan of the aardvark and pangolin!

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