This is a list of the mammal species recorded in South Africa
. There are 299 mammal species in South Africa
, of which 2 are critically endangered, 11 are endangered, 15 are vulnerable, and 13 are near-threatened.
2 of the species listed for South Africa are considered to be extinct.
The following tags are used to highlight each species' conservation status as assessed by the IUCN:
|| No reasonable doubt that the last individual has died. |
|| Extinct in the wild
|| Known only to survive in captivity or as a naturalized populations well outside its previous range. |
|| Critically Endangered
|| The species is in imminent risk of extinction in the wild. |
|| The species is facing an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild. |
|| The species is facing a high risk of extinction in the wild. |
|| Not Threatened
|| The species does not meet any of the criteria that would categorise it as risking extinction but it is likely to do so in the future. |
|| Least Concern
|| There are no current identifiable risks to the species. |
|| Data Deficient
|| There is inadequate information to make an assessment of the risks to this species. |
Some species were assessed using an earlier set of criteria. Species assessed using this system have the following instead of Near Threatened and Least Concern categories:
|| Lower Risk/conservation dependent
|| Species which were the focus of conservation programmes and may have moved into a higher risk category if that programme was discontinued. |
|| Lower Risk/not threatened
|| Species which are close to being classified as Vulnerable but are not the subject of conservation programmes. |
|| Lower Risk/least concern
|| Species for which there are no identifiable risks. |
Order: Afrosoricida (tenrecs and golden moles)
The order Afrosoricida contains the golden moles of southern Africa
and the tenrecs of Madagascar
and Africa, two families of small mammals that were traditionally part of the order Insectivora.
Often called sengisi, the elephant shrews or jumping shrews are native to southern Africa
. Their common English name derives from their elongated flexible snout and their resemblance to the true shrews
The order Tubulidentata consists of a single species, the Aardvark. Tubulidentata are characterised by their teeth which lack a pulp cavity and form thin tubes which are continuously worn down and replaced.
The hyraxes are any of four species of fairly small, thickset, herbivorous mammals in the order Hyracoidea. About the size of a domestic cat they are well-furred, with rounded bodies and a stmpy tail. They are native to Africa and the Middle East.
The elephants comprise three living species and are the largest living land animals.
The order Primates contains all the species commonly related to the lemurs, monkeys, and apes, with the latter category including humans. It is divided informally into three main groupings: prosimians, monkeys of the New World, and monkeys and apes of the Old World.
Order: Rodentia (rodents)
Rodents make up the largest order of mammals, with over 40 percent of mammalian species. They have two incisors in the upper and lower jaw which grow continually and must be keep short by gnawing. Most rodents are small though the capybara can weigh up to 45 kg (100 lb).
The lagomorphs comprise two families, Leporidae
), and Ochotonidae (pikas
). Though they can resemble rodents
, and were classified as a superfamily
in that order until the early twentieth century
, they have since been considered a separate order. They differ from rodents in a number of physical characteristics, such as having four incisors in the upper jaw rather than two.
Order: Erinaceomorpha (hedgehogs and gymnures)
The order Erinaceomorpha contains a single family, Erinaceidae, which comprise the hedgehogs
. The hedgehogs are easily recognised by their spines while gymnures look more like large rats.
Order: Soricomorpha (shrews, moles, and soledons)
The "shrew-forms" are insectivorous mmmals. The shrews and soledons closely resemble mice while the moles are stout bodied burrowers.
The bats' most distinguishing feature is that their forelimbs are developed as wings, making them the only mammals in the world naturally capable of flight. Bat species account for about 20% of all mammals.
Order: Pholidota (pangolins)
The order Philodota comprises the eight species of pangolin. Pangolins are anteaters and have the powerful claws, elongated snout and long tongue seen in the other unrelated anteater
Order: Cetacea (whales)
The order Cetacea includes whales, dolphins and porpoises. They are the mammals most fully adapted to aquatic life with a spindle-shaped nearly hairless body, protected by a thick layer of blubber, and forelimbs and tail modified to provide propulsion underwater.
Order: Carnivora (carnivores)
The carnivores include over 260 species, the majority of which eat meat as their primary dietary item. Carnivores have a characteristic skull shape and dentition.
The odd-toed ungulates are browsing and grazing
mammals. They are usually large to very large, and have relatively simple stomachs and a large middle toe.
Order: Artiodactyla (even-toed ungulates)
The even-toed ungulates are ungulates whose weight is borne about equally by the third and fourth toes, rather than mostly or entirely by the third as in perissodactyls. There are about 220 artiodactyl species, including many that are of great economic importance to humans.