Animals From Northern Africa

Updated November 21, 2016

The animals native to Northern Africa are similar to those of Eurasia. Several varieties of sheep and goats live in this region; camels are also common. The Sahara Desert holds a number of animals such as foxes, hares and gazelles that are specially adapted to survive the harsh conditions and climate.


The Dromedary Camel is native to North Africa, although they are now extinct in the wild. This single-humped camel is well adapted to survive for long periods in the harsh conditions of the desert. The camel's wide two-toed feet help it walk on sand, and its double eyelashes and nostrils close to keep sand out. They will eat any plants they find and if necessary will feed on animal remains. The camels woolly fur also offers protection from the cold desert nights.

Desert Fox

The desert fox is also well adapted to life in the Sahara. With its sandy coloured coat, it is well camouflaged and its large ears prevent the animal from overheating during the day. The fox is not a high-speed endurance runner, although it can run quickly in short bursts, which aid the fox in hunting and escaping danger. These mammals feed on rats, mice, lizards and large insects. They will also eat fleshy fruits and berries when available.

Barbary Sheep

The Barbary sheep, also referred to as the Aoudad, has been listed as a vulnerable species by the International Union for conservation of Nature (IUCN), and many of its relations are already extinct. The remaining wild Barbary's can be found in the dry mountainous regions of North Africa. They are well suited to life in the desert, and they are extremely agile and adept at climbing steep inclines.


The Slender-Horned gazelle has always been a wide ranging animal, and was once the most common gazelle to be found in the Sahara desert. Due to hunting, the animal is now an endangered species, according to the IUCN, although it still exists in the wild in inaccessible desert locations and preserves. This gazelle feeds on grass, herbs and shrubs, and is able to obtain all of its water from its food.


The Jerboa is a small rodent native to desert areas of North Africa. Unlike most other rodents, the Jerboa is able to walk or hop upright on its hind legs similar to the movement of a kangaroo. It is able to move at a speed faster than a running person. This is due to the animal's large hind legs and short fore legs. These animals have a low tolerance and only come out at night to hunt for insects.

Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author