Only the selected few species have manes, and they make them look truly majestic. The long hair indicated sexual maturity, but also the general health of the animal.
In this article, we’ll be listing down all animals with manes.
- (Male) Lions
- Lion-tailed Macaques
- Wild Horses
- Maned Sloths
- Roan Antelopes
- Sable Antelopes
- Domesticated and Wild Bactrian Camels
- Maned Wolves
1. (Male) Lions
Scientific name: Panthera leo
A lot of people ask ‘are lions the only animals with manes?’ – no, they’re not, but they’re definitely the most popular animals with manes. A lion’s mane is its most recognizable characteristic, and we only find it on male lions.
By definition, a mane is essentially just hair growing around the neck and the head. Lions start developing their manes when they sexually mature, and it grows faster with more fighting success.
Scientists believe that it’s closely connected to testosterone levels and that a fuller mane indicates that the animal is healthier. Additionally, females prefer males with more developed manes.
2. Lion-tailed Macaques
Scientific name: Macaca silenus
The only monkey with a mane, the lion-tailed macaque is an Old World monkey species found in South India. They’re mostly dark, but both males and females develop a gray mane around their faces.
They start growing their manes two months after they’re born. Lion-tailed macaques aren’t called like that because of their mane, though. Another similarity they share with lions is their tail, which has a tuft at the tip.
Scientific name (genus): Hippotigris
These animals with stripes have erect manes alongside the top of their neck. The purpose isn’t completely clear, but it’s suspected that it’s supposed to repel predators from biting a zebra on the top of their neck.
That part of their body is defenseless, but if a predator were to try to bite the bottom of their neck, a zebra could swing its head to fight back. You could be wondering why they didn’t just grow a mane around its entire neck then?
It’s important for zebras to keep their neck cool during runs, and if they had a thick patch of hair on their necks, they’d easily overheat.
4. Wild Horses
Scientific name: Equus ferus
Wild horses often grow much longer manes than zebras. Just like the tail, they offer some protection from insects, but they’re mostly here as a line of defense from predators.
A mane also helps deal with cold weather, but it doesn’t offer nearly as much protection as thick fur would. We see the mane with domesticated horses too, as it still hasn’t devolved completely
Scientific name (genus): Connochaetes
The name of the genus actually derives from the ancient Greek word for mane! There are differences in their manes; the black wildebeest is brown, with a slightly lighter ‘mohawk’ mane. The blue wildebeest is almost black, with a more relaxed, black mane.
Both sexes develop manes, and their purpose is the same as with all other African animals with manes.
Scientific name (genus): Giraffa
Giraffes are the biggest animals with manes, and they also have the longest manes of all animals. Giraffe manes run alongside the entire length of their neck, and it is believed that they serve the same purpose as zebras and wildebeest.
Because giraffes developed such incredibly long necks, their manes are more or less pointless when it comes to deterring predators. There are no predators in the natural environment of a giraffe that could actually climb and bite the back of its neck.
In fact, giraffes often use their necks and their heads as swinging maces when they have to defend themselves.
7. Maned Sloths
Scientific name: Bradypus torquatus
These mammals with manes are endemic to Brazil, where they are found on the East Coast. Maned sloths develop a black mane that runs down their necks and shoulders, and it’s usually longer for males than females.
They generally have a thick coat of hair on their bodies, usually in the same shade as the trees around them, allowing them to easily blend in with the environment.
With this species, a full mane is a sign of sexual maturity. Since females are generally larger than males, males have to develop a thick mane to appear bigger and healthier.
8. Roan Antelopes
Scientific name: Hippotragus equinus
These antelopes with manes develop short and erect manes, similar to that of wildebeest. They extend from the back of the neck, all the way to the shoulder blades.
The antelopes are usually brown (aside from their face, which is black and white), while the mane can be brown, grey, and even black. The mane is noticeably longer than zebra manes, offering more protection from predators.
9. Sable Antelopes
Scientific name: Hippotragus niger
Sable antelopes are animals with two manes, and they’re one of the very few species to develop that. On top of the erect mane on the neck, identical to the mane of Roan antelopes, they have a short mane on the throat.
Even though the throat mane’s purpose is to protect the animal from throat bites, it’s largely unsuccessful. These antelopes are often black, with both sexes developing manes and horns.
10. Domesticated and Wild Bactrian Camels
Scientific names: Camelus bactrianus and Camelus ferus
These two species are very closely related and they’re the animals with the longest manes, as the hair on their neck can grow up to 10 inches! It’s possible that there is a lion out there with a longer mane, but it’s yet to be found.
Wild Bactrian camels are a critically endangered species, and they usually develop shorter manes than their domesticated cousins. The purpose of the mane is to keep the neck warm during harsh Mongolian winters, which is where the camels are originally from.
Given how thick the hair is, it can also serve as protection from predators.
11. Maned Wolves
Scientific name: Chrysocyon brachyurus
The final animal on our list has a very distinctive black mane on the top of its neck. These wolves with manes use their mane to make themselves look larger and intimidate predators and other wolves.
The South American animals with manes are very similar to foxes, as they develop an auburn color with a few white patches (especially on the tail) and a black mane.