The savanna is a vast ecosystem of grasslands found in tropical Africa, parts of Australia, South America, and India.
This land is typically a mixed woodland-grassland, varying from hot and dry seasons prone to wildfires to months of heavy rainfall.
With such a vast expanse of lands across several continents, savannas are home to a bountiful variety of wildlife.
In Africa alone, the savanna is spread over 27 countries, allowing for a huge range of faunas to inhabit the ecosystem.
Here are the top 13 awesome animals that live in a savanna!
Famously known as the king of the jungle, the lion is undoubtedly the most well-known animal in savannas.
Males are known for their large manes, while females are smaller and don’t exhibit such fantastic hair.
Lions gather in groups known as prides, with the females hunting in smaller groups.
Lions are a vulnerable apex predator found in savannas, grasslands, and shrublands throughout sub-Saharan Africa, with a small population in western India.
2. African Bush Elephant
Also known as the African savanna elephant, the African bush elephant is one of the two African elephant species.
This is the largest terrestrial animal in the world, with an average shoulder height of just over 13 feet.
As a result of habitat destruction and poaching for ivory and meat, African bush elephants are an endangered species.
3. White Rhinoceros
One of the heaviest mammals in the world is the white rhinoceros, averaging at around 2,200 pounds.
There are two subspecies of white rhino – the northern white rhino and the southern white rhino.
Both subspecies can be found in the grasslands and savannas of Africa.
These gentle giants are a near threatened species as a result of habitat destruction and poaching.
Meerkats are a small mongoose species found in African savannas.
These small mammals live in groups each with their own task – whether it’s staying on the lookout for predators or finding insects.
The meerkat is most famously known for their adorable and entertaining stature.
These small mammals stand on their hind legs with their bodies upright, constantly moving their pointed faces around to look for predators.
The common warthog is a wild pig found in savannas, grasslands, and woodlands of sub-Saharan Africa.
They look similar to wild boars, with a tough gray exterior and long, shark tusks.
As with elephants, warthogs are frequently poached for their precious ivory tusks.
Despite their medium-sized build, warthogs are surprisingly fast and feisty, running up to speeds of 35 mph and fighting a range of predators – including cheetahs, lions, and leopards.
6. African Leopard
A subspecies of the leopard, the African leopard is native to most of sub-Saharan Africa.
These big cats are known for the elaborate markings, consisting of a cream-colored base and darker rosette-like shapes dotted across their coats.
They are known to run speeds of up to 58 mph and can effortlessly jump 20 feet into the air.
When residing in the savanna, the African leopard uses the dry land for camouflage when hunting their prey.
7. Grant’s Gazelle
The Grant’s gazelle is a gazelle species found across Africa, but predominantly the grass plains and shrublands of East Africa.
These elegant gazelles have sleek, reddish-brown fur with a white underbelly and distinctive white and black facial markings.
They are well-known for their long and pointed antlers.
Grant’s gazelles are often mistaken for Thompson’s gazelles, but Grant’s gazelles are significantly larger.
Their horns are also lyre-shaped and generally longer.
8. Common Wildebeest
Also known as the blue wildebeest or common gnu, the common wildebeest is one of two wildebeest species.
These are large antelopes that live in herds of up to 500 wildebeest, designed to protect the women and young.
Wildebeest are most famously known for their running speeds of 50 mph and causing stampedes to escape predators.
The population of common wildebeest is believed to be roughly 1.5 million, meaning they are of the least concern in terms of conservation.
Savannas are home to the tallest terrestrial animal – the humble giraffe.
Reaching up to 20 feet tall, giraffes graze on tall trees and bushes for around 16 to 20 hours a day.
These animals are known for their orange and brown patches, which are unique for every giraffe.
Giraffes are a vulnerable species and prey to lions, leopards, hyenas, and crocodiles.
10. Spotted Hyena
Infamously known as the laughing hyena, the spotted hyena is native to the savannas of sub-Saharan Africa.
These spotted mammals stay in groups known as clans, and are known for their distinctive laugh-like sounds.
Spotted hyenas are opportunistic scavengers and hunters, eating a range of carrion and even hunting large prey like wildebeest.
11. Plains Zebra
Also known as the common zebra, the plains zebra is the most geographically widespread zebra species.
These ungulates are most well known for their famous black and white stripes, with each zebra exhibiting unique markings.
Plains zebras are herbivores that stay in herds to look out for predators, including cheetahs and lions.
Savannas are home to the fastest land mammal in the world, the cheetah.
Running up to speeds of 80 mph, it’s rare for prey to escape the wrath of a cheetah.
These solitary big cats are also known for their light brown fur with black spots.
While the females are mostly solitary, males often form small coalitions to establish territories.
13. White-Backed Vulture
And Old World vulture species, white-backed vultures are large birds known for their scavenging behavior, commonly feasting off carrion remains.
These birds consist of brown plumage, a white feathered neck, and pale underwings and belly.
White-backed vultures typically reside in the trees of open savannas, staying in loose breeding groups and looking out for carcasses.
While they are Africa’s most common vulture, the white-backed vulture is a critically endangered species with a population constantly declining.
So, there you have it! While there are countless animals that live in savannas, these 13 are certainly the most popular and exciting.
It’s important that we know the animals that live in savannas so we know how to protect them for future generations.
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