Animals of Liberia

In western Africa 8,500 plant species have been listed and 403 species of orchids recorded. The pygmy hippopotamus, the giant forest hog, and a number of insectivores, rodents and bats, tree frogs, bird species inhabit the area. Liberia, being one of the countries whose forest makes up the West African Rain Forest, include many of the species of plants and animals found through the West African Rain forest.

Our intent is to give you a brief description of the plants and animals that are found in the dense rain forest of  Liberia, West Africa

Monkeys of Liberia

A Complete list of Liberia's Animals

World Species List - Liberia

Diana monkey

The Diana monkey is found in the countries of Ghana, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.  The Diana monkey lives in the upper canopy of the forest.  They eat fruits, seeds, leaves, insects, crustaceans, spiders, scorpions, and centipedes.

They have a black head, legs, and tail, a grey body, a red-brown rump, white neck and breast, and a white band on the forehead. Rarely at rest, they move gracefully through the trees, using their long legs and slender body to best advantage. They move generally in troops of up to twelve members and hunt during the day for fruit, birds' eggs, and insects. To learn more about he Diana Monkeys of West Africa, Click here....

Mona monkeyMona Monkey

The mona guenon, is also known as the mona monkey, and has very distinctive markings including bold white spots along its hips and a bright white underside that stands out from its brownish-gray body in the dark forest canopy. The mona measures about a foot long in body length with a tail almost twice its body length. Monas can weigh 10 to 15 pounds.

Population: Mona guenons are probably the most common monkey in Africa.

Habitat: Mona guenons can be found in the tropical mangrove forests of West Africa from Ghana to Cameroon. They are tree-dwellers, preferring to reside in the treetops.

Food: They eat a wide variety of fruits, plants, nuts and seeds as well as insects.

The Liberian Mongoose

The Liberian Mongoose

The Liberian Mongoose is found in Northeast Liberia.  They inhabit lowland areas and stream banks in the forest and rainforests of Liberia.

They are dark brown in color, have a dark stripe, bordered on either side by a lighter colored stripe, on their necks.  The throat is paler in coloration, and the legs are darker than the body.  They have long claws on their front feet, and a long, mobile snout.
They live in small groups of 3-5 individuals. They are heavily hunted for food by the local people. They are easily approached, making them easy prey. They are also affected to a lesser extent by deforestation and encroachment.  They feed mainly on earthworms and beetle larvae. They will also eat eggs and small vertebrates.

Chimpanzees  - Pan troglodytes

25 years ago, it was estimated that there were 200,000 chimpanzees living in the tropical rain forests in Liberia. Today the figure may be only a few thousand.

One area where you still find chimpanzees is in the Tai-Grebo-Sapo-Cestos tropical forest complex in Côte d'Ivoire and Liberia.  This moist forest complex harbors more than 8,000 chimpanzees and covers approximately 1 million hectares.

You can also find chimps in the mountainous forest of Mount Nimba in Liberia

How Smart West African Chimps Are?

Chimpanzees in a remote West African rainforest use stones and branches as hammers to crack open different types of nuts when foraging. While the nuts they crack are available throughout tropical Africa, this nut-cracking behavior has been documented only among chimpanzees from western Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia and southern Guinea-Conakry.

Chimpanzees have very long arms (the arms are longer than the legs), and a short body.

Hair and Skin:
Chimpanzees are covered with black hair on most of their body (except their fingers, palms, armpits, and bottoms of their feet). Baby chimpanzees have very pale skin in the areas that have no hair and a white tuft of hair on the rump.

Chimpanzees have senses very similar to ours, including hearing, sight, smell, taste, and touch.

Male chimpanzees are larger than the females.

Chimpanzees are social animals that are active during the day. They live in small, stable groups of about 40-60 individuals. Smaller subgroups of 6-7 chimps stay together for a while, with the membership changing over time.

Chimpanzees have a slight brow ridge, large ears, small nostrils, and an elongated snout. They are capable of many expressions. Chimpanzees have a hairless face except for a short, white beard in both male and female adults. Some adult females become bald.

Hands and Feet:
Chimpanzees' hands are very much like ours; they have four long fingers plus an opposable thumb (the thumb is shorter than the other  fingers). Their feet have five toes, including an opposable big toe. Chimpanzees can grasp things with both their hands and their feet.

Chimpanzees are omnivores (eating plants and meat). They forage for food in the forests during the day, eating leaves, fruit, seeds, tree bark, plant bulbs, tender plant shoots, and flowers. They also eat termites, ants, and small animals (they have even been known to eat young monkeys).

Chimpanzees drink water, often by using a chewed leaf as a sponge to sop up the water.

Grooming one another (cleaning the hair of another chimp) is a major occupation among chimpanzees in a group.

Chimpanzees are very intelligent and can learn extremely complex tasks.

Chimpanzees often use tools in the wild. They have been observed using sticks to obtain ants and termites to eat and to scare away intruders. They also use chewed-up leaves like a sponge to sop up water to drink.

Liberia contains the largest area of remaining forest in the Upper Guinea Forest Ecosystem

Rain ForestStrangling fig plant

The West African rain forests include tropical moist forests including semi-deciduous varieties distributed across nine West African countries -- Benin, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Togo.

Population growth exerts enormous pressure on these forests. One impact is that the rain forests are being destroyed for the economic benefits of logging, the need for arable land and an increasing demand for fuel wood and forest products.

One reason for the forest clearing through out West Africa, including Liberia,  is to plant cash crops. Many West African countries depend on cash crop exports. Products such as gum copal, rubber, cola nuts, and palm oil provide a steady income revenue for these countries.

The tropical rain forest in Liberia contains valuable timber species, including African mahogany and iroko (or African teak)

Pygmy Hippos


What's For Dinner?

Pygmy hippos live in West Africa and are usually found in tropical rain forests, but sometimes are seen in caves along riverbanks. Foraging at night the pygmy hippo feeds on leaves, grasses, aquatic plants, plant shoots, and fruit. They live comfortably in both water and on land but are less adapted to aquatic environments than the larger hippos.

The  pygmy hippo has a thick hide that is greenish black on top with grayish sides and grayish white to yellowish green under parts.

The pygmy hippopotamus was first recorded in the late 1800's, it was first believed to be a freak of nature but later was proven to be a distinct species.

The pygmy hippo is a rare animal and it is hunted for its tusk-like teeth and for its meat.

West African Dwarf Crocodile
Osteolaemus tetraspis tetraspis

West African dwarf crocodiles live in smaller bodies of water (ponds, creeks, backwaters) throughout West Africa including Liberia.

Hana River

The West African dwarf crocodile belongs to the family of crocodiles, Crocodylidae, which contains nearly all modern crocodilians (crocodile-like animals).

Life Cycle
Even though they may have protection while they are small, newly hatched crocodiles must find their own food, first eating very small prey, like insects, small frogs and fish. If they manage to find enough to eat and avoid being eaten themselves, they can grow as much as a foot per year until they reach adult size.

Protective Parents
Baby crocodiles make an “urk, urk” vocalization when they are afraid, the same call that summoned their mother to help them from the nest. This distress call serves to summon the mother or even other adult crocodiles to rescue them from predators. The appearance of an outraged adult crocodile is usually enough to persuade any creature contemplating eating a baby crocodile to look elsewhere for its dinner.

Dwarf Crocodile eat mainly fish, but they also eat frogs, birds, small mammals.  They have an estimated life span of 50-100 years.

Frogs of Liberia

Hairy frogs live in West Africa, although the male frog’s “hairs” are actually gills enabling him to breathe underwater while mating.

The hairy frog of West Africa has small claws on several of its toes. As the name suggests the male of the species is covered in hair but the reasons for this are uncertain. It may be for recognition or camouflage.

The Goliath Frog of West Africa is the largest frog. One found in 1960 was 13.38 inches

The largest frog is the African Giant or Goliath Frog (Conraua goliath) of West Africa. It can grow to 30 cm.

The shy and elusive goliath frog, is the largest known frog. It reaches a body length of 30.5 cm (12 in) and overall length from nose to toe of about 91 cm (3 ft); specimens in excess of 3.2 kg (7 lb) have been collected.

Goliath frogs inhabit cascading mountain streams.

  Rare and endangered species of West Africa
Endemic Species
  • Pygmy hippopotamus
  • Zebra duiker
  • White-naped mangabey
  • Diana monkey
  • Cross River gorilla
  • Nigerian chimpanzee
  • White-breasted guinea fowl
  • Viviparous toad

Non-endemic but endangered species

  • Forest elephant
  • Western chimpanzee
  • Drill

Possibly extinct species

  • Miss Waldron's red colobus


Mt Nimba viviparous toad, Western Nimba toad (Nimbaphrynoides occidentalis).
Status: endangered.
Where: Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea, Liberia?
Reasons: habitat loss and fragmentation.

Among the noteworthy biota of Mont Nimba is the viviparous toad Nectophrynoides occidentalis, which occurs in montane grasslands at 1,200-1,600 m and is the world's only known tail-less amphibian that is totally viviparous.

Did you know?

Not all frogs and toads have a free-living tadpole stage; some undergo direct development, such as the African viviparous toad, Nectophrynoides species,  which produce fully formed young which are miniatures of their parents. In some species the tadpole stage is passed inside the egg.

Birds of Liberia

  • Gymnobucco calvus  NAKED-FACED BARBET.  Forest.
  • Gymnobucco peli  BRISTLE-NOSED BARBET.  Forest.
  • Pogoniulus scolopaceus  SPECKLED TINKERBIRD.  Forest, savanna, woodland, thickets, farmlands.
  • Pogoniulus atroflavus  RED-RUMPED TINKERBIRD.  Forest.  Lowlands and mts.

  • Pogoniulus subsulphureus  YELLOW-THROATED TINKERBIRD.  Humid forest, edge. 
  • Buccanodon duchaillui  YELLOW-SPOTTED BARBET.  Forest
  • Lybius vieilloti  VIEILLOT'S BARBET.  Savanna, thorn scrub.