Predator species


The terrestrial African predators are carnivores or flesh-eating mammals (Latin = caro means flesh and voro means to eat) and belong to one of 10 families in the order Carnivora.
There is no definition for large African predators. However, ALPRU follows the general approach of Mills and Martin (2001) that confined their discussions to those larger African predator species in which adult females usually do not weigh less than about 10 kg. However, this website includes a wider range of the African carnivores and an introduced species, the domestic cat Felis catus. Please bear in mind that many of the smaller carnivores are inevitably the prey of some of the larger African predators.

Order: Carnivora
(hyaenas, cats, foxes, wild dogs, jackals, otters, honey badgers, weasels, polecats, tree civets, civets, genets, mongoose, and suricate)

Family: Hyaenidae (hyaenas)

Family: Felidae (cats)

Subfamily: Felinae

Domestic cat - Felis catus (Linnaeus, 1758)

Family: Canidae (foxes, wild dogs, and jackals)

Family: Mustelidae (otters, polecats, weasels and honey badgers)

Subfamily: Lutrinae

  • Cape clawless otter - Aonyx capensis (Schinz, 1821)
  • Spotted-necked otter - Lutra maculicollis (Lichtenstein, 1835)

Subfamily: Mellivorinae

Subfamily: Mustelinae

  • African weasel - Poecilogale albinucha (Gray, 1864)
  • Striped polecat - Ictonyx striatus (Perry, 1810)

Family: Viverridae (mongoose, civets, genets, and suricates)

Subfamily: Paradoxurinae

  • Tree civet - Nandinia bonotata (Gray, 1830)

Subfamily: Viverrinae

  • African civet - Civettictis civetta (Schreber, 1776)
  • Small-spotted genet - Genetta genetta (Linnaeus, 1758)
  • Large-spotted genet - Genetta tigrina (Schreber, 1776)

Subfamily: Herpestinae

  • Suricate - Suricata suricatta (Schreber, 1776)
  • Selous' mongoose - Paracynictis selousi (De Winton, 1896)
  • Bushy-tailed mongoose - Bdeogale crassicauda (Peters, 1852)
  • Yellow mongoose - Cynictis penicillata (G. Cuvier, 1829)
  • Large grey mongoose - Herpestes ichneumon (Linnaeus, 1758)
  • Slender mongoose - Galerella sanguinea (Rüppell, 1836)
  • Small grey mongoose - Galerella pulverulenta (Wagner, 1839)
  • Meller's mongoose - Rhynchogale melleri (Gray, 1865)
  • White-tailed mongoose - Ichneumia albicauda (G. Cuvier, 1829)
  • Water mongoose - Atilax paludinosus (G. Cuvier, 1829)
  • Banded mongoose - Mungos mungo (Gmelin, 1788)
  • Dwarf mongoose - Helogale parvula (Sundevall, 1846)

Some of these species are not restricted to the African continent.
This list is not yet conclusive. When a need for information on other African predators is identified, these species will be included in the activities of ALPRU.

Literature suggested for further reading:

Bannister, Anthony and Skinner, John, 1985. South African Animals in the Wild. CNA. Struik Publishers, Cape Town.
Bothma, J. du P. and Walker, Clive, 1999. Larger Carnivores of the African Savannas. J.L. van Schaik Publishers, Hatfield, Pretoria.
Estes, R.D. (1999). The safari companion. A guide to watching African mammals. Revised edition. Russel Friedman Books. Halfway House, South Africa.
Mills, Gus and Harvey, Martin, 2001. African predators. Struik Publishers, Cape Town.
Skinner, J.D. and Smithers, R.H.N., 1990. The Mammals of the southern African subregion. University of Pretoria, South Africa.


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T: +27 51 401 2531


Dilahlwane Mohono (Faculty Officer)
T: +27 58 718 5284

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