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Guides: Africa

Last Updated: Tuesday July 05 2005 16:47 GMT


A hippo and her baby
There are more animal species in Africa than in any other continent.

The creatures include:

  • 45 types of monkey and two great apes - our closest relatives, the chimpanzee and the gorilla.

  • Around 2,000 different freshwater fish - one lake alone contains 200 species.

  • Marine mammals like whales, dolphins and porpoises.

  • 1,775 types of bird, including the ostrich and the eagle.

  • Reptiles like lizards, snakes, crocodiles and tortoises.

  • Lots of creepy-crawlies such as butterflies, stick insects, termites, ants, grasshoppers, dung beetles and many spiders. Animals in danger

    Several of the species in Africa are endangered.

    A species is said to be endangered when there are so few of its kind left it could disappear from the planet altogether and become "extinct".

    Extinct means when an animal hasn't been seen in the wild for 50 years.

    Elephants are killed for their ivory tusks, which are used for jewellery and medicine in some countries.

    And although buying and selling crocodile skins is illegal in many African countries, people still do it.


    Hundreds of thousands of years ago, Madagascar split off from the rest of Africa.

    Lots of the animals you find on the mainland today didn't evolve in the same way.

    There are no lions, tigers or elephants on Madagascar, instead there are lots of animals you don't find anywhere else in the world.

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