Wild African Animals in the Omo Valley
Africa has the largest selection of wild exotic animals and Ethiopia's Omo Valley
is home to many species. The national parks located in the lower part of the valley are virtually free of
civilization making it possible for the hundreds of birds, reptiles, fish and mammals to live there. Below we
have listed just a few of the amazing animals that can be found in southern Ethiopia and northern Kenya.
African or Cape Buffalo
The buffalo stands about 5 1/2 feet tall and is about 11 feet
long. It can weigh anywhere from 1,000 to 2,000 pounds. They are herbivores and graze
in tall coarse grass. Traveling in herds, they have few predators. It can take multiple
lions to kill a full grown buffalo and only young calves fall victim to cheetahs, crocodile,
leopards and hyenas. The animal is known to be very aggressive and will attack humans and
predators if feel threatened.
The Eland is the world's largest antelope. It stands about 5
to 6 feet tall and can weigh around 1500 lbs. Even at it's size, they can jump up to 8 feet
from a standstill position. Their horns can grow up to 4 feet long. Like the buffalo,
they are herbivores and prefer to eat leaves, fruits and roots. They travel in herds and
their main predator are humans.
Humans have attempted to domesticate the Elands due to their
tender meat and high protein content in the milk they produce.
Measuring between 11 and 16 feet long and weighing 500 to 700 lbs,
it is the largest crocodilian in Africa. Crocodiles are carnivores and often prey on
waterbuck, wildebeest, zebra, goats and cattle. Although its rare, crocodiles will try to
capture much larger prey like the buffalo, hippo or rhinoceros. When not hunting mammals,
they will eat fish.
Human hunters are the crocodiles only predator. The Nile
crocodile will attack a human and is said to kill several hundred people a year.
Giraffes are the tallest land living animals. Their weight
can range from 1,800 lbs to 4,000 lbs and can reach heights up to 20 feet. Giraffes are
herbivores and are found in the savannas, grasslands or woodlands. Their diet consist of
twigs, grass, and fruit. They consume large amounts of water if available and can sustain dry
The only major predator that threatens the giraffe are
lions. Their defense is a strong kick that can kill its attacker.
There are two types of kudu that can be found in the lower Omo
Valley. The greater and lesser kudu are both cousins.
The greater kudu is a woodland and brush land
antelope. The males are much larger then the females and have large horns that twist.
Their horns can reach up to 3 feet in length. A male greater kudu can weigh between 400 and
600 lbs, while the females weigh between 250 and 450 lbs.
The lesser kudu is a forest and thicket
antelope. They are much smaller then the greater kudu. The males weigh between 150 to
220 lbs and the females weighing in at 120 to 150 lbs. The male lesser kudu's horns reach
about 2 feet in length.
Both species are herbivores and their diet consists of leaves and
plants. They are both hunted by lions, leopards, cheetahs and humans.
The Burchells zebra is also known as the plains or common
zebra. It can be found in the savannas, woodlands or grasslands. They are herbivores
and graze on different grasses as well as certain shoots. Both the male and female stand
about 4 1/2 feet tall and are about 8 feet long. They can weigh between 400 and 700
The zebras main predators are lions, hyenas and the Nile
crocodile. Zebras are best known for their unique black and white stripes.
Also known as the hippo, it is the third largest land
animal. They are estimated to weigh between 3,000 and 7,000 lbs. The hippo stands about
5 feet tall and can reach lengths up to 17 feet. It can live in water or on land and
is able to walk on the bottom of rivers. The water and mud from the river keeps the
hippo's body cool.
Even with it's massive size, they are able to run up to 30 mph for
short distances. They are known to be very aggressive towards humans and Nile
crocodiles. Some say the hippo is one of the most dangerous animals in Africa. They are
herbivores and graze on grass. Their only predators are humans, but crocodiles have been
known to attack their young.
There are two species of rhinos in Africa. The white
or squared lipped rhino lives in the savannas enjoying water and mud holes. It is
the larger of the two weighing between 7,000 and 10,000 pounds. It stands approximately 6
feet and is between 11 to 15 foot long. They have a flat square mouth.
The black rhino can vary between habitats, but
mainly likes dense wooded vegetation. It weighs between 2,000 and 3,500 pounds. They
are between 11 and 13 ft. in length and stand about 5 feet tall. It has a pointed mouth and
is much smaller then the white rhino.
Both rhinoceros are herbivores. The white rhino enjoys
grazing while the black rhino prefers leafs and twigs. They have very few predators, but fall
victim to poachers.
The Thomson's Gazelle is the most common in Africa. They are
found in open plains and grassland areas. It stands 2 to 3 feet tall and weighs between 30
and 100 pounds. They travel in herds and can reach speeds up to 40 mph. The gazelle is
a herbivore and eats mostly grasses. It is preyed upon by cheetahs, lions, leopards, crocodiles and
These elephants are the largest land animal in the world. A
male African elephant can stand 13 feet tall and weigh as much as 15,000 lbs. The females can
weigh between 8,000 and 10,000 pounds. Their tusk are teeth and are used for digging,
scrapping bark and fighting. A single tusk can weigh between 50 and 100 lbs and be 8 feet
long. The trunk is a long nose and is used for breathing, drinking, smelling and
Elephants are herbivores and eat mostly roots, grasses, fruit and
bark from trees. They can consume up to 300 lbs of food in a day. Poachers are the
elephants only predator. They are killed for their ivory tusk which is very valuable.
The trading or selling of elephant tusk is illegal.
The Lion is the second largest big cat out of four. The
largest being the tiger. Lions are found in the savannas and grasslands. They typically
live and travel in groups or prides. A pride may include up to 30 lions. They can reach
4 to 7 feet in length and weigh between 250 and 550 lbs.
A lion's mane is the most unique among other large cats.
Lions are carnivores and work in groups to attack their prey. They can reach speeds of 50 mph
and may hunt alone if afforded the opportunity. Their prey consist of antelopes, buffalo,
wildebeest, zebras and many more. They may also steal kill from other animals such as the
The population of lions are significantly decreasing. It is
not completely understood why, but loss of habitat and human conflicts are their most significant
Blue Monkey: The blue monkey can be found in the
Great Rift Valley. They are 1 to 2 feet tall and weigh about 17 pounds. They are found
in the forest canopy. It's diet mainly consists of fruit and leaves. It is hunted by
humans for bush meat and suffers from loss of habitat.
Colobus Monkey: The black & white colobus
monkey is mainly found in Kenya. They are about 2 1/2 feet tall and weigh between 15 and 30
lbs. There is also a red colobus monkey, but is very rare. These monkeys usually stay
in the trees, very seldom coming down to the ground. They are found in forest areas and
usually live in groups. Their diets consist of leaves making them herbivores.
They are preyed upon by many animals, but have been pushed to
extinction in some areas by humans and lost of habitat. They are killed by poachers for their
fur and bush meat.
Patas Monkey: This monkey is also known as the
Wadi or Hussar. It spends most of it's time ground-dwelling and is about 3 feet tall.
It is found in savannas and dry areas. It is considered the fastest runner of its kind,
reaching speeds of 35 mph. Its diet consists of insects and seeds.
These primates are ground dwellers and can adapt to many
environments. Their main requirement for survival is a water source and safe retreat.
The olive baboon and yellow baboon are two different species found in Kenya.
They are usually found in the savannas and woodlands and are
omnivorous. Their diet can may include, grass, leaves, seeds, berries, fish, shellfish, birds
and even small antelopes. They stand between 1 1/2 and 2 1/2 feet tall weighing between 50
and 100 lbs. Humans kill them because they can be agricultural pests, but other predators are
the leopards and cheetahs.
These carnivores are large, elusive and strong climbers.
Their habitat includes dense brush and forest but they can adapt to many environments.
Leopards are manly nocturnal and spend most of their day sleeping. They are great hunters and
prey on a range of wildlife. Some of their diet consists of antelopes, monkeys, baboons,
rodents and fish.
The leopard stands about 2 feet tall and can weigh up to 150
pounds. Their predator is the human and are hunted for their fur, tails and claws.
They are the largest living bird species. It is a flightless
bird and lays the largest eggs of any other birds. They can stand between 6 and 9 feet tall
and weigh up to 360 lbs. They eat mostly plants, but will consume insects as well.
The ostrich is farmed around the world for its feathers, skin, and
meat. It only has two toes on its feet, but can run up to 45 mph. As a defensive tactic
it will kicks its legs. The pressure from the kick is so strong that it can kill a grown
This cat is known to sprint up to 70 mph. It is the world's
fastest land animal. Cheetahs are found in the savannas and live a solitary life. They
have become extinct in many areas due to changing habitat.
Their diet consists of Thomson's gazelles and impalas. They
stand just over 2 feet tall and weigh between 100 and 150 lbs. They are preyed on by lions,
leopards, hyenas and eagles.
The Tiang is a subspecies of the Topi. It is an antelope and
is found in the savannas, flood plains, and semi-deserts. They travel in herds and are
grazers. They stand a little over 4 feet and reach weights up to 270 lbs. They are hunted by lions,
leopards, cheetahs and hyenas.
There are two types of oryx in Africa, the beisa and the
fringe-eared oryx. The beisa is found in Ethiopia and northern Kenya and the fringe-eared is
primarily found in Kenya.
They are both large antelopes and have long pointed horns. They
are found in the dry arid regions. Like other antelope, they are grazers and their diet is
made up of coarse grass or shrubs.
Standing about 4 feet tall, the oryx can weigh between 250 and 400
pounds. Their predators are the lions, hyenas and wild dogs. Tribesmen also hunt the
oryx for its meat and hide.