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Wildlife/Animals

Animals In Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is one of the most bio-diverse national parks in Uganda boasting over 120 mammal species with about 10 primate species, counting the endangered mountain gorillas almost 50% of the earth’s total hence, making Bwindi the best place for Uganda gorilla safaris.

Bwindi impenetrable forest features more than, 200 butterfly species, 27 species of frogs, chameleons, geckos, and about 45 small mammals. Animals in Bwindi are divided into:

Primates: Mountain gorillas, chimpanzees, black and white colobus monkeys, vervet monkeys, blue monkeys, red-tailed monkeys, etc.

Carnivores: Side-striped jackals, African golden cats, African civets, etc.

Herbivores: The forest elephants, the giant forest hogs and numerous small antelopes.

Please note that, though Bwindi national park has a great biodiversity of mammal species, they’re rarely seen due to the thickness of the forest. Gorilla trekking is the main activity in the park.

Below are animals in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park:

Primates In Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

About 10 primate species have been recorded in Bwindi national park and these include:

1. Mountain Gorillas-Gorilla Beringei Beringei

Mountain gorillas are among the endangered animals in Uganda. As their name suggests, they live in dense misty rainforests, high in the mountains, at an altitude of about 8,000- 13,000ft. Unlike other apes, mountain gorillas have more thick fur that helps them to survive in cold conditions.

Amazingly, these gentle giants of the forest share about 98% of their DNA similar to that of humans thus, man’s close cousins. Weighing about 300- 500 pounds on average, mountain gorillas are the bulkiest and most powerful living primates.

They’re found in all four sectors of Bwindi forest (Buhoma, Ruhija, Rushaga and Nkuringo).

2. Chimpanzees-Pan Troglodytes

Arguably, chimpanzees share over 98.7% of man’s DNA thus, the closest living relatives of man compared to any other great ape. Chimps are highly social, living in communities led by a dominant alpha male. Globally, chimps in the wild are only found in Africa in only 21 countries.

Chimps live in communities led by a dominant alpha male. Globally, chimps in the wild are only found in 21 African countries. On your Bwindi gorilla trekking safari, you can spot them in the Ruhija sector though, rare.

3. Olive Baboons-Papio Anubis

Olive baboons are amazing heavily built monkeys with sturdy limbs. They’ve green-grey fur and their face look scary due to their doglike pointed muzzles and powerful jaws with long pointed canine teeth. They can be spotted while on Bwindi forest walks, though rare.

4. L’Hoest’s Monkeys-Cercopithecus lhoesti

L’hoest’s monkey is also called a mountain monkey. Little is known about this monkey as it’s more difficult to see than most of its relatives due to its love for dense forests and its terrestrial habits. These monkeys have a dark brown coat with a chestnut colour across the back and a dark belly.

Their cheeks are light grey with a pale moustache and they’ve got a prominent white bib plus a long tail that’s hook-shaped at the end. They can be spotted on forest walks in the Buhoma sector however, not common.

5. Black And White Colobus Monkeys-Colobus

A black-and-white colobus monkey is a beautiful species of old-world monkey. It can easily be identified due to its distinctive black body, white facial markings, long white tail and a white side stripe.

Amazingly, an adult black and white colobus is capable of jumping up to 30m, an incredible sight with its white tail streaming behind. If lucky, they can be spotted while on a guided nature walk in Buhoma sector.

6. Red-Tailed Monkeys-Cercopithecus Ascanius

A Red-tailed monkey has a black or dark grey body however, it’s named after its red tail. This monkey is easily identified due to its amazing appearance with white cheek whiskers, a coppery tail and a distinctive white heart-shaped patch on its nose, giving rise to its more vivid alternative name of black-cheeked white-nosed monkey.

They can be spotted while on a 6km Muzubijiro loop trail nature walks in the Buhoma sector.

7. Blue Monkeys-Cercopithecus mitis

Despite what the common name suggests, the blue monkeys are not blue. They’re called so due to the hairless face which seems to be coloured blue. This pleasing primate has a dark head top and the colouration of the body is mainly olive or grey.

Furthermore, the blue monkey exhibits some black and white markings all over its body with a long tail as its body. They can be spotted also on forest walks though rare.

8. Vervet Monkeys-Chlorocebus pygerythrus

Vervet monkeys are good-looking monkeys, easily identified by their black faces with a white fringe of hair while their overall hair colour is mostly grizzled-grey. Males can easily be recognized by a turquoise-blue scrotum. They can be spotted as you’re on nature walks in the Buhoma sector.

9. Bush Babies-Galagidae

Bush babies are nocturnal primates also called the galagos. They’re named bush babies after their distinctive shrill baby-like cry in the quiet night of the jungle. The most prominent feature of the galago is their saucer-like eyes that allow them to see in the dark as they hunt for prey at night.

If you want to see a bush baby, trace its cry to a tree, then shine a torch into it, you’ll see its pleasing eyes shining like cat eyes. They’ve been recorded in Bwindi national park though, rarely spotted.

10. Pottos-Perodicticus potto

A Potto is also called a tree bear, or a slow-moving tropical African primate. It’s a nocturnal tree dweller found in rainforests from Sierra Leone eastward to Uganda. It has a strong grip and grips tightly to branches.

Pottos feed in the night and can sometimes be located at night by shining a spotlight into the canopy. They’ve been spotted in the Bwindi forest though rare.

Herbivores Animals In Bwindi National Park

Bwindi impenetrable forest boasts several herbivores animals however, due to its thickness, some might be difficult to spot though on a lucky day, you might encounter the following:

1. African Forest Elephants-Loxodonta cyclotis

The African forest elephant is one of the 2 living African elephant species. It’s native to humid forests and smaller than the African bush elephant. They’ve pillar-like legs, large ears, and straight down-pointing tusks. Forest elephants also have grey skin that looks yellow to reddish after wallowing and it’s sparsely covered with black coarse hair around the tip of the tail.

They forage on leaves, seeds, fruits, and tree bark in the forest. They can be spotted in the Mubwindi swamp area found in the Ruhija sector.

2. Giant Forest Hogs-Hylochoerus Meinertzhageni

The giant forest hog is the only member of its genus. It lives in the wooded habitats of Africa and is the largest wild member of the pig family. The giant forest hog has extensive hairs on its body which are mostly black on the surface however, hairs nearest the skin have a deep orange colour.

Forest hogs are nocturnal creatures, have large pointed ears and their tusks are proportionally smaller than those of the warthogs but bigger than those of the bushpigs. If lucky, they can be spotted while on Bohoma forest walks.

3. Bushpigs-Potamochoerus Larvatus

The bushpig is a member of the pig family that inhabits forests, woodland, riverine vegetation and cultivated areas. A bushpig resembles the domestic pig however, they can be identified by their blunt muscular snouts, small eyes, and pointed tufted ears.

Their colour varies from reddish brown to dark brown, and have a lighter-coloured mane which erects when the animal is anxious. The upper parts of the face and ears are also lighter in colour. Due to their nocturnal habits, it’s hard to spot them however, if lucky you can encounter one on the Ivi-River walk trail in the Mukempunu area.

4. Common Warthog-Phacochoerus Africanus

The common warthog is a wild member of the pig family commonly found in the savannah and woodlands of sub-Saharan Africa. Warthogs weigh on average 45-150kg. They’re identified by their amazing 2 pairs of tusks protruding from the mouth and curving upwards. Their tusks are used to combat other hogs and in defence against predators.

Their head is large, with a mane down the spine to the middle of the back. They’ve sparse hair covering the body, usually black or brown and have a long tail that ends with a tuft of hair. Though ever recorded in Bwindi, they’re hardly spotted.

5. Black-Fronted Duiker-Cephalophus Nigrifrons

The black-fronted duiker is a small antelope weighing 14-18kg, a browser in nature. It’s a compact, short-necked and active antelope getting its name from the broad black stripe running from the nose to its forehead- a feature distinguishing it from other duikers.

It has a glossy coat that’s deep reddish-mahogany to a lighter orange-chestnut plus sparse darker hair on the long legs. It has a short tail that’s black with a white tip and short pointed horns in both sexes, measuring 4- 12cm- used for defence. If lucky, it can be spotted while on guided forest walks.

6. Sitatunga-Tragelaphus Spekii

Sitatungas are swamp-dwelling antelopes adapted to survive where few antelopes can. They’re great swimmers capable of hiding underwater leaving eyes and nostrils showing. In look, they’re closely related to bushbuck. Males have long twisted horns and their coat colour is greyish-brown and reddish-chocolate brown in females.

They’ve white facial markings as well as several stripes and spots all over. White patches can be seen on the throat, and near the head and males develop a rough scraggy mane. If lucky, they can be spotted on guided nature walks in the Ruhija sector within Mubwindi swamp area.

7. Yellow-Backed Duiker-Cephalophus silvicultor

The yellow-backed duiker is the largest of all duiker species weighing about 60- 80kg. It’s the most widely spread of all duikers and can easily be identified by its triangular yellow patch on its rump which stands when the duiker is threatened.

Yellow-backed duikers feature a heavy-set body, slender legs, and an orange crest of hair on the top of their head between short horns. If lucky, it can be spotted while on nature walks in Bwindi Buhoma area.

Other Herbivores Animals In Bwindi National Park

  • Weyns’s duiker
  • Squirrels such as the Carruther’s mountain squirrel, Boehm’s bush squirrel, Ruwenzori sun squirrel, and Red-legged sun squirrel, etc.

Carnivores Animals In Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Though Bwindi Impenetrable National Park boasts some carnivorous animals, they’re rarely spotted due to the thickness of the forest. Some of the carnivorous animals recorded include:

1. Side Striped Jackal-Lupulella Adusta

The side-striped jackal is a nocturnal, dog-like carnivore, slightly larger than the black-backed jackal of Kidepo national park. Its fur colour is buff-grey, the back is darker grey than the underside, and the tail is black with a white tip. It has white stripes on the sides running from elbow to hip.

The side-striped jackal is less carnivorous therefore, it’s omnivorous, feeding on small mammals, fruits, maize, reptiles, eggs, and birds. They do occur in Bwindi though, rarely spotted.

2. African Golden Cats-Caracal Aurata

African golden cats are wild cats endemic to rainforests. They’re close relatives of both the caracal and the serval. Their colour ranges from golden reddish-brown, greyish brown to dark slaty. They’re spotted with spots ranging from faded tan to black though, spots are limited to the belly and inner legs.

Its undersides and areas around the eyes, cheeks, chin, and throat are lighter in colour to almost white. Its tail is darker on the top and either heavily banded, lightly banded or plain, ending in a black tip. Due to the thickness of the Impenetrable forest, they are rarely spotted.

3. African Civets-Civettictis Civetta

African civets are present in Bwindi forest however, they’re rarely seen since they’re nocturnals spending the day sleeping in thick vegetation. They’ve got a unique colouration of black and white blotches covering their coarse fur and rings on the tail are an effective cryptic pattern.

More so, its eyes are surrounded by blank bands and have an erectile dorsal mane which extends down its back and becomes erect when it’s excited or scared, making it look larger. It’s omnivorous, preying on small vertebrates, invertebrates, eggs, carrion, etc.

4. Honey Badgers-Mellivora Capensis

A honey badger is also known as the ratel. It’s the largest terrestrial mustelid in Africa having a puppy-like head, black sides and underparts with a grey-white back. They have enormous claws that they use for digging the ground and also as weapons. Ratels have a relationship with the honeyguide, a bird that leads them to beehives for honey- their favourable diet.

Amazingly, honey badgers are among the most fierce animals in Africa recorded attacking lions and buffalos, especially when threatened. They’re known to kill buffaloes by running underneath them and biting off their testicles. Though present in Bwindi forest, they’re hardly spotted.

5. African Clawless Otters-Aonyx capensis

The African clawless otter is an aquatic predator. It’s also known as the Cape clawless otter- the 2nd largest freshwater otter species dwelling in permanent water bodies in savannah and lowland forest areas. In Bwindi, they can be spotted along River Ivi while on nature walks.

They’re characterised by partly webbed and clawless feet, from which their name is derived. They’ve smooth fur with almost silky underbellies and white facial markings that extend downward towards the throat and chest areas.

Reptiles In Bwindi National Park

Bwindi forest holds numerous species of reptiles however, most of them are rarely spotted due to the thick jungles. Some of the reptiles in Bwindi include:

  • Snakes such as the Great lakes bush viper, Günther’s green tree snake, Pale-headed forest snake, and Radford’s house snake.
  • Lizards for example, Sparse-scaled forest lizards.
  • Skinks such as Speckle-lipped Mabuya and African striped skink.
  • Chameleons include the Kigezi highlands chameleon, Johnston’s chameleon, and Montane side-striped chameleon.
  • Geckos for example, the Uganda blue-headed tree agama

Amphibians In Bwindi National Park

Bwindi impenetrable forest holds various species of amphibians. Some can be encountered while on nature walks in the Buhoma sector, especially frogs like:

  • Efulen forest tree frog
  • Brown reed frog
  • White-snouted reed frog
  • Smooth spiny reed frog
  • Rugegewald screeching frog
  • Christy’s tree frog
  • Smooth spiny reed frog
  • Cinnamon-bellied reed frog
  • Kivu reed frog
  • Congo wot-wot

Conclusion

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park ranks among the most bio-diverse national parks in Uganda. It boasts over 120 mammal species including primates, herbivores and carnivores, reptiles, and amphibians however, due to its being impenetrable, most of them are only seen by lucky individuals.

Bwindi impenetrable forest is commonly visited for Uganda gorilla safaris as it’s a gorilla trekker’s haven in Africa boasting almost half of the mountain gorillas on earth “50% of the 1,063 mountain gorillas on earth”.

Book With Us An African Safari In Uganda For A Memorable Holiday. Note That, We Can Organise A Uganda Wildlife & Primate Tour In Bwindi Where You’ll Encounter The Gentle Giants Of The Forest In Their Natural Habitant.

FAQs About Animals In Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

  1. What Animals Live In The Bwindi Rainforest? | What Animals Live In The Bwindi Rainforest?

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is among the most biodiverse parks in Uganda. It’s home to over  120 mammal species including over 10 primate species counting over 459 mountain gorillas, chimpanzees, blue monkeys, red-tailed monkeys, L’hoest’s monkeys, pottos, bush babies, etc.

Other mammals in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park include forest elephants, giant forest hogs, bush pigs, golden cats, African civets, side-striped jackals, Duikers, and clawless otters however, rarely spotted.

  1. Are There Elephants In Bwindi?

If lucky, elephants in Bwindi national park can be spotted in Mubwindi swamp area in the Ruhija sector.

  1. How Many Gorillas Are In Bwindi National Park? | How Many Gorillas Are In Bwindi?

Bwindi national park is home to over 459 mountain gorillas. This is almost 50% of the 1,063 mountain gorillas on earth. Bwindi is therefore the best place for gorilla trekking in Uganda and Africa.

  1. Are There Chimpanzees In Bwindi?

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is home to over 10 primate species, counting over 459 mountain gorillas, and chimpanzees, blue monkeys, red-tailed monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, pottos, and bush babies, plus  350 bird species counting the 23 Albertine endemic birds like the Handsome francolin, Rwenzori turaco, etc.

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