Animals evolve to have various characteristics that help them survive in the wild or attract mates. One notable feature is the mane that can make some species look very majestic. But manes aren’t only for good looks. They have protective features and vary in length and location by species. Read on to find out why animals have manes and learn more about 11 animals with manes from around the world.
Let’s see if you can guess all the species on this list!
11 Animals that Have Manes
Scientific name: Panthera leo
Lions are probably one of the first animals you think about when listing animals with manes. However, only male lions have manes that start growing when they’re around 1 year old. Their mane length and color reveal a lot about a lion’s health.
For example, longer, darker manes indicate high fighting success, genetic precondition, and testosterone production. Females also choose lions with longer manes.
The mane is also a protective feature when lions fight against other lions. Males will fight each other over females and when trying to take over the pride. These apex predators are native to the grasslands, savanna, and open woodland of Africa.
2. Maned wolf
Scientific name: Chrysocyon brachyurus
The maned wolf isn’t a fox or wolf, although they share similar features and look like long-legged foxes. They get their name from the distinctive black mane over their shoulders and running along their neck. Their manes will erect when they sense danger.
Maned wolves are native to open environments in central and eastern South America. They stand around 3 feet tall and weigh around 50 pounds. They’re known for their powerful-smelling, skunk-like feces and urine used to mark their territory.
Scientific name: Equus ferus
Wild and domestic horse manes provide some very important protective functions. It protects the neck from potential predator attacks and helps the horse shake away insects. Their manes also provide weather protection, offering shade on sunny days and additional warmth in the winter.
Although domestic horses are more common, there are still U.S. states with wild horse populations living on government-designated Herd Management Areas (HMAs). These states include Califonia, Arizona, Colorado, Utah, Idaho, and Wyoming.
Scientific name: Equus quagga
Although not the typical long-haired mane like horses, zebras do have short hairs on the back of their necks. Their manes are upright and stiff and can be found in males, females, and young zebras. It’s believed the mane helps provide some protection from neck bites from predators.
You can find them roaming in southern, central, and east African treeless grasslands and savanna woodlands. They are known for their black and white stripes that are unique to each individual, similar to human fingerprints.
5. Maned sloth
Scientific name: Bradypus torquatus
The maned sloth is a three-toed sloth species native to Brazil’s Atlantic coastal rainforests. They share similar characteristics to other sloths, except for the long black hair growing along their shoulders and necks. The mane is usually darker and larger in males than in females; the latter sometimes just have two long tufts.
These animals spend most of their lives hanging upside down from tree branches. Their long claws and reduced muscle mass allow them to hang comfortably.
6. Lion-tailed macaque
Scientific name: Macaca silenus
Although the lion-tailed macaque gets their name from their thin, tail that has a black tuft similar to a lion, they also have a unique silver-white mane. The hair also surrounds their head, cheeks, and chin giving them the nickname “beard apes.”
This interesting-looking monkey is native to the Western Ghats of South India. They are shy and solitary arboreal animals that travel only within their rainforest habitat.
Scientific genus: Giraffa
Giraffes are the world’s tallest living animals, with males able to reach up to 18 feet tall. Just their neck can be 6 feet long. On the upper edge of their neck, they have short erect hairs that aren’t long enough to protect them against insects or predators. It’s believed the mane is only for mating, where animals with longer, thicker manes are more attractive.
These gentle giants are native to the dry savannahs of Africa. They spend most of their lives standing up, including when they sleep and give birth. However, they can also run up to 35 mph over short distances or cruise long distances at 10 mph.
Scientific genus: Connochaetes
Wildebeests are part of the antelope family with thick shaggy manes throughout the upper edge of their necks. Manes can be found on both males and females. They also have long beard hair hanging from their chests, broad muzzles, horns, and bushy tails.
These large, grass-eating animals are native to the eastern and southern regions of Africa. Although they face various predators, like lions, cheetahs, and hyenas, their speed of up to 50 mph helps them escape.
9. Roan antelope
Scientific name: Hippotragus equinus
Roan antelopes have erect, short manes that extend from the back of their necks to their shoulder blades. However, their manes are longer than zebra manes, offering more protection against predator bites. These animals are brown with black and white faces and their manes can be brown, black, or grey. They are one of the largest African antelope species growing up to 620 pounds.
10. Sable antelope
Scientific name: Hippotragus niger
Yet another antelope species with manes is the sable antelope. However, a unique characteristic is they have two manes: one on their neck and another short mane on their throat.
Their majestic long horns can grow up to 5.2 feet long, comparable to the length of an elephant’s tusk. Both males and females develop horns, and this species’ backward horn arc is a distinctive appearance.
11. Bactrian camel
Scientific name: Camelus bactrianus
Both wild and domesticated Bactrian camels have manes that are hairs on their throat and neck, growing up to 9.8 inches long. They grow thick, healthy manes during the winter to help keep them warm.
These animals are also known for their two humps, made up of stored fat for energy that allows them to go long periods without water or food.
You can find them in Central Asia in various habitats, including flat arid deserts, rocky mountains, and sand dunes. Wild Bactrian camels are rarer to find and typically smaller and more slender in size than domesticated individuals.