Somalia Fauna

By | December 15, 2021

Somalia is a vast region of East Africa, also known as the Somali Peninsula or Somali Country and also, by the first explorers, “Eastern Horn of Africa”, as it constitutes a massive and acute triangular peninsula that protrudes strongly towards the E., between the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean, with Cape Guardafui at the top. This name, used by the first Portuguese navigators, is probably only a distortion of the name of Ras Ḥafun. The basis of this ideal triangle, that is the western limit of the peninsula towards the continent, is less easy to define: as such we can consider the area, more or less depressed compared to the surrounding countries, which runs west from the Gulf of Tagiura to the foot of the Harar plateau up to the upper valleys of Uebi and Juba, towards the SW.; in the absence of a well-marked natural limit, an ideal line can be assumed as a boundary, which from Lake Rodolfo descends to the ocean between the mouth of the Giuba and that of the Tana. The name of the region is taken, however, from that of the most important group of populations that inhabit it; the Somalis in their turn, in their most recent traditions already Islamized, derive it from the name of a certain Somal, who in very remote times would have landed from Arabia on the African coast, for traffic reasons, but would then have won and driven out to the the indigenous tribes of the region, while the numerous tribes and sub-tribes in which the Somalis are divided would have derived from his children. In written documents the name of these people is known to us for the first time from an Ethiopian document of the century. XV (the epinicius of the negus Yesḥaq).

Somalia understood in this way includes in full Italian Somalia, British Somalia (or Somaliland), a part of French Somalia (Côte Française des Somalis), a sector of the English colony of Kenya (Northern Frontier District and a large part of the province of Tanaland ).

Fauna. – It can be said that African fauna is fully represented in the Somali Peninsula: cynocephalics and monkeys abound in the forests and on the cliffs, and there are also some nocturnal lemurs. Elephants and rhinos are still abundant in certain regions, the buffalo is frequent, the zebra and the giraffe are abundant, and the hippopotamus is very common in the two perennial rivers. Wild boars and warthogs are everywhere the environmental conditions allow. The family of gazelles is innumerable, from the tiny dig dig of the bush to the massive balanca, which frequents the vicinity of the rivers, from the rare Ammodorcas, which from Nogal goes to Uebi, to the flocks of Oryx and Kudu that graze in the bushy grasslands accompanied not infrequently by the gherenuc, the cobus, the damalisk and, in the Oltregiuba, the Grant’s gazelle. Among the felines, in addition to the lion and the leopard, the leopard, the cheetah, the lynx are frequent: among the canids the two species of hyenas (crocuta and striata), the jackal, the African wild dog which lives in numerous flocks. Of the gnawing animals we remember the porcupine, the hare and a curious underground gnawing, characteristic of the region, the heterocephalus. Birds are plentiful especially in southern Somalia and on the highlands: various palmipeds and waders (including the marabou and the white herons of the precious aigrettes) near rivers and ponds; bustards and quail in the prairies; guinea fowl hens, partridges, francolins in the clearings of the bush; doves and turtle doves around the wells; ostriches in the driest and most uninhabited areas. The running waters are teeming with crocodiles and there is no shortage of turtles (Trionyx); a large Varanus is often observed in cool places; on the coastal cliffs, especially of Migiurtinia, lives the multicolored Aporoscelis, in the arid scrubs, especially of Obbia, chameleons and other small reptiles abound; snakes also abound, including large pythons and venomous trigonocephalics; up under the stones and in the ground, the Anfisbene, apodic and blind vermiform reptiles take refuge. Finally, among the fish, in addition to the numerous and gigantic torpedoes and the singular prototypes of the Giuba and the Uebi Scebeli, the curious blind fish of some wells (Uegitglanis) are to be remembered. The sea is rich in fauna and the bagiuni of the Dundas Islands in the Oltregiuba fish for turtles by means of remore, while along all the coasts, in addition to turtles, sharks are fished for their fins. For Somalia geography, please check

Of the invertebrates we remember only the tsetse fly, which near the waters propagates the disease of the nagana in animals; mosquitoes intermediate hosts of malaria, these too especially frequent in southern Somalia and Oltregiuba; and then scorpions, scolopendras, gigantic cockroaches and finally termites, who build their nests in the form of large piles of red earth, especially in the bush.

Somalia Fauna