Do you enjoy spending time alone? If so, you’re not alone.
Many animals prefer to lead solitary lives. While humans often see loneliness as a negative behavior, for some creatures it is a way of life. This type of behaviour is seen in both carnivores and herbivores.
Some animals prefer to stay in groups for protection from predators but for some animals food can be harder to come by so living alone is their best hope for survival.
List of Solitary Animals
The Black rhinoceros (Diceros Bicornis), is sometimes called the ‘Hooked-lip rhino’. The rhinoceros is a mammal in the order Perissodactyla and is native to the eastern and central areas of Africa including Kenya, Tanzania, Cameroon, South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe. Although the Rhino is referred to as black, it is actually more of a grey-white color in appearance. It will sometimes take on the color of the soil that it lives around.
The Black rhino is smaller than the White rhino and is more agile in movement. Black Rhinos can still show considerable bouts of aggression, even though they are mainly shy and solitary animals. Black Rhinos tend to live alone, except when breeding and raising offspring.
The Black Rhino is critically endangered and considered one of Africa’s “Big Five Game“.
People of some cultures believe that rhino horn contains medicinal properties. This is most likely not true, however, this is one of the main reasons rhinos are poached. There are fewer than 2,550 black rhinos alive today.
One of the most well-known solitary animals is the koala. These adorable marsupials are often found sleeping in eucalyptus trees, and they spend most of their time alone. Koalas are not social creatures and they do not form close bonds with other koalas. Male and female koalas only come together to mate. After mating, the female koala will raise her offspring on her own.
There are several reasons why koalas prefer to live alone. For one, they are very slow animals and they cannot outrun predators.
If a koala tries to flee from a predator, it is likely to be caught and killed. It is also difficult for koalas to find food. Eucalyptus leaves are not easy to digest, and koalas must spend a lot of time eating to get the nutrients they need. By living alone, koalas can focus on finding food and staying safe from predators.
Bengal tigers are mostly solitary, however, they sometimes travel in groups of 3 or 4 individuals. Bengal tigers reside in the lowland parts of the rainforest where there are grasslands and swamps.
Some male Bengal tigers occupy 200 square miles of territory and they protect it very fiercely. Bengal tigers are extremely strong animals and can drag their killed prey some 1,500 feet to hide it in bushes or long grass until it feeds upon it. The Bengal tiger is a nocturnal animal, it sleeps throughout the day and hunts at night.
Despite their size, Bengal tigers can climb trees effectively, however, they are not as agile as the smaller leopard, which hides its kills from other predators in the trees. Bengal tigers are also strong and frequent swimmers, often ambushing drinking or swimming prey or chasing prey that has retreated into water.
Bengal tigers are an ‘endangered species’. The current population of wild Bengal tigers in the Indian subcontinent is now estimated to be around 1300 – 1500. which is less than half of the previous estimation of 3000 – 4500 tigers. Bengal tigers are in danger of extinction due to over-hunting by poachers.
The Giant Panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca), is a mammal classified in the bear family, Ursidae, native to central-western and southwestern China. Giant Pandas are one of the rarest mammals in the world. Pandas are easily recognized by their large, distinctive black patches around the eyes, over the ears and across their round body.
Giant pandas live in a few mountain ranges in central China, in Sichuan, Shaanxi and Gansu provinces. Pandas once lived in lowland areas, however, farming, forest clearing and other development now restrict giant pandas to the mountains.
Pandas are very solitary creatures and will live alone and will only meet other pandas during mating season.
Giant panda bears are silent creatures most of the time, however, they can bleat. Pandas do not roar like other bears, however, they do have 11 different calls, four of which are only used during mating.
The Giant Panda is active at twilight and during the night. Throughout the day, it will make dens in caves, hollow trees and dense thickets. To avoid competition with other pandas over food and to signal its presence, the Panda will mark its territory by putting a pungent secretion from its anal glands on stones and tree trunks.
The Jaguar (Panthera onca), is a New World mammal of the ‘Felidae family’. It is one of four ‘big cats’ in the ‘Panthera’ genus, along with the tiger, lion and leopard of the Old World. The jaguar is the third largest feline after the tiger and the lion. The jaguar is the largest and most powerful feline in the Western Hemisphere.
The jaguar is often described as a nocturnal animal, but is more specifically crepuscular (it’s peak activity is around dawn and dusk).
The jaguar is a largely solitary, stalk-and-ambush predator and is opportunistic in prey selection. It is also an apex predator (predators that, as adults, are not normally preyed upon in the wild in significant parts of their range by creatures not of their own species) and a keystone predator, playing an important role in stabilizing ecosystems and regulating the populations of prey species.
Jaguars are territorial. Like most cats, the jaguar is solitary outside mother-cub groups. Adults generally meet only to court and mate and carve out large territories for themselves. Female territories, from 25 to 40 square kilometres in size, may overlap, but the animals generally avoid one another. Male ranges cover roughly twice as much area, varying in size with the availability of game and space and do not overlap. Scrape marks, urine and faeces are used to mark territory.
Like the other big cats, the jaguar is capable of roaring (the male more powerfully) and does so to warn territorial and mating competitors away.
The Polar Bear is found in the coastal areas throughout the Arctic. Polar Bears are semi-aquatic mammals that live on the fringe of vast ice fields that surround the North Pole. The Polar Bear is the world’s largest carnivore species found on land. Although it is closely related to the brown bear, it has evolved to occupy a narrow ecological niche, with many body characteristics adapted for cold temperatures, for moving across snow, ice and open water and for hunting seals which make up most of its diet.
Polar Bears are typically solitary, males and females come together to mate for just a few days in late winter or early spring. Pregnant females overwinter in dens dug into the snow within a few kilometres of the coastline.
The Polar Bears home range and territories are huge and can measure up to 125,000 square kilometres (48,250 square miles) because their prey is sparsely distributed. To hunt their prey, Polar Bears sit very still by a hole in the ice and wait for Seals to surface to breathe. When a Seal appears, the bear strikes it with a front paw and drags it out onto the ice before biting its head.
The Kinkajou (Potos flavus), also known as the ‘Honey Bear’, ‘Sugar Bear’, or ‘Cat Monkey’ is a small rainforest mammal related to the olingo, cacomistle and raccoon and is native to Latin and South America. The Kinkajou is the only member of the genus ‘Potos’
Native to Mexico, Central American rainforests and South American rainforests, this arboreal mammal is not particularly rare, though it is rarely seen by people because of its strict nocturnal habits. Kinkajous may be mistaken for ferrets or monkeys, but they are not related. Like raccoons (also members of the family Procyonidae), kinkajous have remarkable manipulative abilities, in this respect rivaling primates.
Kinkajous sleep together in family units and groom each other. While they are usually solitary when foraging, they occasionally do so in small groups and sometimes also associate with olingos.
Kinkajous do not like to be awake during the day and dislike noise or sudden movements. If they are agitated too much, they may emit a scream and attack, usually clawing their victim and biting deeply. Kinkajou bites are particularly dangerous as their saliva contains a sticky, species-bacterium – ‘Kingella potus’, first identified by Dr. Paul Lawson of the University of Oklahoma.
The Wolverine (Gulo gulo) is the largest and fiercest member of the weasel family. The wolverine animal is native to northern regions of North America, Europe and Asia. This land dwelling mammal is known by many other names including the Skunk Bear, Devil Bear, Carcajou (by the French-Canadians) and Glutten (by Europeans). The animal is so powerful that if it were the size of a bear, it would be the strongest animal on earth!
The wolverine is a solitary animal who usually travels alone except for the breeding season. They almost never get along with members of the same sex. They are nocturnal animals that do not hibernate.
It is basically a terrestrial animal, however they are very good at climbing trees and are also powerful swimmers. This allows them to escape from predators, too. They have great stamina and can travel great distances over rough terrain and deep snow without breaking for rest, up to six to nine miles before stopping. Adult males generally cover greater distances than females. They are very swift animals and can move around quickly, at speeds up to 30 mph (or 48 kph).
Armed with powerful jaws, sharp claws and a thick hide, wolverines may defend kills against larger or more numerous predators. The wolverine makes few vocalizations except for the occasional grunts and growls to express its irritation.
The cottonmouth snake (Agkistrodon piscivorus) is a species of pit viper in the subfamily Crotalinae of the family Viperidae. Native to the southeastern United States, it is the world’s only semiaquatic viper and can be found in or near water. They are large and heavy-bodied, reaching up to 42 inches in length.
Cottonmouth snakes, also known as water moccasin, swamp moccasin, black moccasin, and simply viper, have a dangerous and potentially fatal bite, although these bites are rare. They’re common name is cottonmouths because of the white coloration on the inside of their mouths, which they display when threatened.
Cottonmouth snakes are widely thought to be extremely dangerous. Unlike their Copperhead cousins, they will often stand their ground. Their venom is stronger and they tend to be larger snakes, making them very dangerous. However, in reality unless provoked, they will not harm humans. In fact, they’re much more likely to try to escape if encountered rather than attack. When they feel threatened, they coil their bodies and open their mouths wide to show to wide coloration inside their mouths. They may also make themselves stink to deter predators by spraying a foul-smelling musk from glands in the base of their tail, and can quickly vibrate the tip of the tail to produce a buzzing sound, a bit like rattlesnakes.
These water snakes can be seen year-round during the day and at night, but they primarily hunt after dark, especially in the summer. They can be found basking in the sun during the day on rocks, logs and stumps. They swim with much of their bodies floating above the surface distinguishing them from water snakes, which tend to swim mostly below the surface, sometimes with their heads protruding.
The Aardvark (Orycteropus afer) (‘Digging foot’), sometimes called ‘antbear’ is a medium-sized mammal native to Africa. The name comes from the Afrikaans/Dutch for ‘earth pig’, because early settlers from Europe thought it resembled a pig. However, the aardvark is not related to the pig, it is placed in its own order.
The Aardvark is a nocturnal mammal and is a solitary creature that feeds almost exclusively on ants and termites. The only fruit eaten by aardvarks is the aardvark cucumber. An aardvark emerges from its burrow in the late afternoon or shortly after sunset and forages over a considerable home range covering 10 to 30 kilometres, swinging its long nose from side to side to pick up the scent of food. When a concentration of ants or termites is detected, the Aardvark digs into it with its powerful front legs, keeping its long ears upright to listen for predators such as lions, leopards, hyenas and pythons.
The aardvark takes up an astonishing number of insects with its long, sticky tongue, as many as 50,000 in one night. It is an exceptionally fast digger, but otherwise moves fairly slowly. The aardvarks claws enable it to dig through the extremely hard crust of a termite/ant mound quickly, avoiding the dust by sealing the nostrils. When successful, the aardvarks long (as long as 30 centimetres) tongue licks up the insects. The termites stinging attacks are ineffective because of the aardvarks tough skin.
The Tiger Shark is one of the largest sharks in the world.
The Tiger shark is found in many of the tropical and temperate regions of the worlds oceans and is especially common around islands in the central Pacific. It is the only member of the genus ‘Galeocerdo’. The Tiger shark is a solitary hunter, usually hunting at night. Its name is derived from the dark stripes down its body.
The Tiger shark is a dangerous predator, known for eating a wide range of prey. Its usual diet consists of fish, seals, birds, smaller sharks, squid and turtles. It has sometimes been found with man-made waste such as license plates or pieces of old tires in its digestive tract. The Tiger shark is notorious for attacks on swimmers, divers and surfers in Hawaii and is often referred to as the ‘bane of Hawaiian surfers’ and ‘the wastebasket of the sea’.
While solitary animals like koalas may seem lonely to us, they often lead happy and fulfilling lives. Solitude can provide animals with the time and space they need to focus on taking care of themselves.
There are plenty of other creatures out there who enjoy spending time by themselves. And who knows, maybe you have more in common with them than you think.