What types of animals can you see in Egypt?
Egypt is home to some of the most incredible wildlife on the planet. The amount of diversity is truly incredible. 🙂
But because of the sheer number of different species, there was no way I could include every animal living in Egypt.
So, here is what I did to make this list more manageable:
The article below focuses mostly on the most common and unique MAMMALS found in Egypt. Well, except the last species is a large reptile, so make sure you scroll to the bottom to find out what it is. 🙂
If you were hoping to learn about something else, like reptiles, birds, or spiders, I have created separate ID guides for these categories of animals.
Please click the links below to view pages dedicated to these species in Egypt:
9 Incredible ANIMALS IN Egypt:
#1. Rock Hyrax
- Procavia capensis
Also called Dassie, Cape hyrax, Rock Rabbit, and Coney.
- Short snouts, cleft upper lips, stout legs, short ears, and rubber-like soles on their feet.
- They are brownish-gray with creamy undersides, long black whiskers, and a black patch of hair on their back.
These small animals may look like rodents in Egypt, but their closest living relatives are actually elephants and manatees! As their name suggests, they live in rocky, scrub-covered areas.
Rock Hyrax have several adaptions that allow them to move about skillfully on steep, rocky surfaces. First, Rock Hyrax feet soles are rubber-like and kept moist by a glandular secretion. And second, their feet also have a depression in the center that acts a bit like a suction cup.
Rock Hyrax Range Map
Rock Hyraxes usually live in colonies called “kopjes,” ranging from 5 to 60 individuals. Usually, these groups are made of a male, several females, and their young.
Interestingly, Rock Hyrax colonies usually urinate and defecate in a common restroom. This habit causes a build-up of calcium carbonate from the urine, turning the cliffs where they live white. In the past, African tribes and Europeans collected the calcium carbonate crystals for medicine to treat epilepsy, hysteria, and other injuries and ailments.
#2. Dorcas Gazelle
- Gazella dorcas
- Pale-colored with white underbellies and a rufous stripe down their sides, separating their upper and lower coloring.
- They have white eye rings, a pair of white and dark brown stripes running from each eye to the corners of the mouth, and ringed, lyre-shaped horns, which are generally thinner, straighter, and shorter in females.
These animals thrive in the dry habitats of Egypt.
Dorcas Gazelles are small but well adapted to the desert and live in arid places. They can easily handle high temperatures and harsh sunlight.
Despite these intense conditions, they don’t need much water and get most of their moisture from their food, though they will drink when it’s available.
If they spot a predator, these herbivores twitch their tails and make bounding leaps to warn others and confuse their attacker. Dorcas Gazelles are often able to escape if a predator gives chase. Their long, slender legs allow them to sprint away at speeds of 80-100 kph (50-62 mph). They also can perform quick zig-zags, which help them to escape.
Unfortunately, these fascinating creatures are listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of endangered species. Their populations have declined significantly as they have faced extreme habitat loss due to land development and climate change.
#3. African Wildcat
- Felis lybica
- Coloration varies and may be tawny brown, sandy yellow, reddish, or gray with faint tabby spots and stripes, banded legs, and reddish or rusty-brown on the backs of their ears.
- They have long legs, small ear tufts, and long, thin tails with rings near the end and black tips.
You are looking at the ancestor of the domestic cat!
African Wildcats are skillful hunters with incredible hearing. Once they’ve located prey, they slowly and sneakily approach it and pounce once they’re in range. They usually feed on mice, rats, and other small mammals.
African Wildcats are most active at night. During the day, they tend to avoid the heat and rest under bushes or other shelter, although sometimes they can be observed out hunting on cloudy, overcast days. Additionally, when threatened, these cats raise their hair to make themselves seem larger and intimidate their opponents, similar to what we see in domestic cats.
However, they have some distinctly wild traits. For example, when they sit upright, their long front legs raise their bodies almost vertically (more so than domestic cats). This posture can be seen on Egyptian bronze mummy cases and tomb paintings. They also have high shoulder blades that give them a distinctive cheetah-like gait.
- Proteles cristatus
- They have large pointed ears, slender skulls, thick manes that run from the back of their head to their tail, and longer forelegs than hind legs, giving them a sloping appearance.
- They have buff-yellow or dark brown fur with dark stripes on their bodies, horizontal dark stripes on their legs, and dark feet and tails.
It’s easy to mistake this animal in Egypt for a hyena.
Aardwolves are smaller than hyenas and have more defined stripes. However, their similarity is so uncanny that some researchers have suggested it may be a defense mechanism called Batesian mimicry. This trait, which is rare in mammals, is where one species mimics a more dangerous one in appearance.
Aardwolves don’t hunt large animals and are considered insectivores since they almost exclusively feed on insects. Their favorite food is termites, and they have specially adapted long, sticky tongues that help them lap up hundreds at a time. One Aardwolf can consume 300,000 termites in a single night!
Aardwolves live in dry, open savannas and grasslands and spend most of their life either solitary or in pairs. During the daytime, they retreat into underground dens to escape the sun and heat. Despite being common and widespread, it’s rare to spot one since they’re nocturnal, shy, and secretive.
#5. African Wolf
- Canis lupaster
- Relatively long pointed snouts and ears, comparatively short tails, and robust teeth.
- They’re yellowish to silvery gray with reddish legs, black speckling on their tails and shoulders, and some white markings on their faces, throats, and abdomens.
Look for this canine during the day in Egypt in grassland areas.
African Wolves have an extensive range, and their appearance and size vary with location. They usually center their territory around a den, often made from a modified aardvark or warthog den, where the female will have her pups.
African Wolves have flexible social structures that are largely dictated by prey availability. Each pack consists of a monogamous breeding pair that remains together constantly. It also includes current offspring and previous generations that help to raise their siblings.
These wolves can be formidable predators in Egypt, sometimes taking prey up to three times their weight. However, they usually go after much smaller animals.
Pairs of wolves often hunt gazelle fawns and other small mammals like cane rats and ground squirrels. They also consume fruit, snakes, and insects. Interestingly, during the wildebeest calving season, African Wolves feed almost exclusively on wildebeest afterbirth.
#6. Rüppell’s Fox
- Vulpes rueppellii
- They have slender bodies and long, bushy tails with white tips.
- Coloration is buff or sandy colored with white hairs in their dense undercoat and gray markings on their faces, but there are some gray morphs in rocky areas.
Rüppell’s Foxes are one of the most resourceful animals in Egypt.
Because Red Foxes often get the best territory, these smaller foxes have become highly adapted to inhospitably dry deserts. While they’re primarily insectivores, they’ll consume anything they can grab and eat, including small mammals and roots.
Their fur closely matches the substrate where they’re located, camouflaging them from predators such as Steppe Eagles and Eagle Owls. Rüppell’s Foxes also have a fascinating, skunk-like defense mechanism. When threatened, they will hump their back, raise their tail, and spray their attacker with a foul secretion from their anal gland.
Living in such harsh conditions, Rüppell’s Foxes have gained a reputation as incredibly tough survivalists. There’s even a legend that these foxes can drink water from the wind by keeping their head in a breeze. That’s quite a reputation for such a tiny animal!
#7. Fennec Fox
- Vulpes zerda
- They have massive, conical ears.
- Their coloration is buff on their upper bodies and white on their legs, faces, ear-linings, and undersides.
Fennec Foxes are the smallest wild dog in Egypt!
They’re even smaller than most house cats, but don’t let their size fool you. Also called the Desert Fox, Fennec Foxes are tough animals that live almost exclusively in sandy, arid regions.
Their massive ears help Fennec Foxes locate food, even when it’s underground. They catch most of their prey by digging it out of the earth.
These omnivores live in a harsh environment and feed on anything they can get, including rodents, birds, eggs, lizards, insects, fruits, leaves, and roots. Plant materials are vital as they comprise 100% of the Fennec Fox’s hydration. Unlike most mammals, these foxes can live indefinitely without a water source.
Fennec Foxes are highly social animals that often live together in clans. Together, these clans hold territories and dig burrows, which are used to raise pups and shelter from the hot desert sun.
#8. Red Fox
- Vulpes vulpes
- Adults range from 45-90 cm (18-35 in) in length and weigh 3-14 kg (7-31 lbs).
- Their coloring ranges from pale orange or red to deep reddish-brown on their upper parts, with white on their underside.
- They have black feet, a fluffy white-tipped tail, and large, pointy, black-tipped ears.
Red Foxes are arguably the most beautiful animal in Egypt!
These canines are often considered cunning and smart, with good reason! They’re excellent hunters and foragers. They also cache food and are adept at relocating it. Although they prefer rabbits, fish, and berries, they won’t hesitate to eat anything readily available.
This species has a distinctive way of hunting mice and other small rodents. Once the prey has been detected, they stand motionless, waiting and listening. Then they leap high into the air and bring their forelegs straight down, pinning the rodent.
Once baby foxes, known as kits, reach adulthood, their biggest threat is humans. They are hunted and trapped for their or killed to protect chickens. While some countries have banned hunting Red Foxes, the practice still persists worldwide. Red Foxes can live 10 to 12 years in captivity but average only about three years in the wild.
#9. Nile Crocodile
- Crocodylus niloticus
- Adults are 2.8-3.5 m (9-11.5 ft) long.
- Coloration is dark olive to gray-olive with yellowish bellies, but young individuals may be more greenish or brown with darker crossbands on their bodies and tails.
- They have long, sturdy tails, long, powerful jaws, stout legs, and thick, scaly, heavily armored skin.
The Nile Crocodile is the largest reptile in Egypt.
These creatures have a nasty reputation as man-eaters, and it isn’t entirely undeserved. Nile Crocodiles are indiscriminate carnivores that feed on whatever they can catch, and because their habitat often overlaps with human settlements, run-ins happen.
Although the data can be unreliable, some reports indicate that Nile Crocodiles kill about 200 people annually.
These intimidating carnivores are patient, agile ambush predators. They will feed on nearly any prey that comes into range and may swallow it whole or rip it apart. Their conical teeth and strong jaws give them a uniquely powerful bite with a grip that’s nearly impossible to loosen. As if that weren’t enough, these incredible predators can swim at 30-35 kph (19-22 mph) and remain underwater for up to 30 minutes.
During mating season, males attract females to their territory by bellowing, slapping their snouts in the water, blowing water out of their noses, and making other noises.
In areas with high populations of males, they sometimes get into physical altercations over females, especially if they’re similar in size. These altercations aren’t common but can be quite a spectacle to witness!
Do you want to learn about MORE animals in Egypt?
Check out these ID Guides. Each one is specific to wildlife in Egypt!
Which of these animals in Egypt is your favorite?
Leave a comment below! I’d especially like to know if you have visited Egypt before and what you saw.