Dangerous Animals on Kilimanjaro

Since you’ll be out in the wild for 6-9 days while climbing Kilimanjaro, depending on your chosen route, some people are worried they might run into dangerous animals.

The good news is that Kilimanjaro doesn’t really have many dangerous animals, even though there is plenty of wildlife. While Kilimanjaro National Park is home to lions and other dangerous animals, these species cannot live on Kilimanjaro because of the high altitude and different terrains.

As you get further and further up the mountain, you will even begin to notice that there isn’t any wildlife. Most animals have a hard time surviving in the barren and cold terrain at the top of the mountain.

Does Kilimanjaro Have Many Animals?

There are many different animals on Kilimanjaro, but most of them live in the lower regions where the weather is still mild.

Most animals like to hang out on the slopes of the mountain as well as at the foothills where there is more of a rainforest climate. This part of the mountain has more food and water available.

You will also see more Kilimanjaro plants here because they have a good environment to grow where there is plenty of water.

Are There Snakes on Kilimanjaro?

Along with wondering if there are dangerous animals on the mountain, many people are curious to know if there are snakes on Kilimanjaro. There are a few different species of snakes that can be found on the mountain, but most of them do not harm climbers.

Of more than one hundred different species of snakes on Kilimanjaro, only five of them are poisonous. They only live in the low regions of the mountain. In general, the snakes are shy and will not approach people unless they feel threatened.

If you see a snake, never approach it or try to touch it. Even if you think it might not be venomous, never try to touch a snake you see on the mountain.

Our Kilimanjaro guides are well-trained regarding the snakes and wildlife on Kilimanjaro. If they see a poisonous snake, they will let you know and they will ensure it doesn’t harm you or cross your path.

Poisonous Snakes on Kilimanjaro

As mentioned above, there are 5 different species of poisonous snakes on Kilimanjaro. Here is a little bit about each of them.

Green Mamba

Green Mambas are venomous and are a huge snake with females being more than 2 meters long. They have very long fangs and can even rotate their mouths. They can bite from many different angles making them a very dangerous snake.

Even though they are poisonous, they are very shy. They rarely approach people unless they feel threatened so they shouldn’t be an issue to as you are climbing.

Eastern Vine Snake

Bites from these snakes are really rare as they are scared of any animal that is larger than them. However, their bites are very dangerous as they can quickly destroy red blood cells.

They prefer to be high up in trees but can be on the ground if they are looking for prey. They are usually grey and brown with some markings along their body.

Brown Forest Cobra

These snakes can be up to 2.8 meters long, but they can also be much smaller. They are usually black or brown with white colored stomachs. They are one of the only snakes that can live in many different terrains. They can also climb trees and swim.

These snakes are shy and they often give a warning hiss before they strike. If you see one of them standing tall and hissing, move away from the area as quickly as possible.

Boomslang

As with most snakes on Kilimanjaro, these snakes will only bite if you try to approach them or handle them. They can rotate their mouths 170 degrees when they try to bite someone. Male Boomslangs are black or blue and female Bloomslangs are usually brown.

They have very good eyesight and usually hang out in trees where they can strike their prey from above.

Puff Adder

This snake is one of the best snakes for camouflaging itself, especially in brown terrain that is found throughout the mountain. They only reach about 110 cm which is small compared to some of the other snakes on this list, but their body is heavier and more solid.

Will I Get Bit By a Snake on Kilimanjaro?

Most likely, no. Especially if you are following the advice of the guides and not going off the designated path.

Most snakes on Kilimanjaro do not attack or bite humans unless they are provoked. This is why we advise you to never pick up or approach a snake even if you are sure they are not poisonous.

If you see a snake on the path, make sure to let the guide know so they can warn the others.

Encountering snakes, especially poisonous ones on the mountain, is rare. Knowing about the snakes is important though so you can be aware of what is around you and avoid danger.

Other Wildlife on Kilimanjaro

The good news is that there is plenty of wildlife on Kilimanjaro that is not dangerous. Some say that leopards even live in the rainforest regions of the mountain but sightings are rare so don’t get your hopes up.

Buffalo can also be spotted on the Rongai route. While each route has a little bit different wildlife, there are some animals that are easily spotted on all areas of the mountain.

The animals you are most likely to encounter include:

Blue Monkeys: You’ll see many of these if you are climbing the Lemosho route especially as you are in the rainforest zone.
Colobus Monkeys: These monkeys are known for their unusual black and white color. Their tails are about two feet long and they can be seen up in the trees in the rainforest portion of the climb.
Bush babies. It’s not unusual to see these creatures leaping from tree to tree. They are nocturnal though, so seeing them during the daytime is rare.
Jackson’s Chameleon. Like most chameleons, these animals can change color to blend in with their surroundings. They also change color as a response to certain emotions or changes in light.

Ready to See the Animals on Kilimanjaro For Yourself?

Even though many animals and critters call Kilimanjaro home, very few are dangerous. This means you can enjoy your climb and not be afraid of the wildlife around you.

If you’re ready to book your climb and see Kilimanjaro wildlife, fill out our contact form and we will be in touch with you!