antelope (Alcelaphinae) is a wide and diverse selection of herbivores of the Bovidae family that are not classified as sheep, cattle or goats (this type of informal designation is sometimes called "garbage dump"). There are approximately 91 species classified as antelope, most of which are native to Africa, but are also found in Asia and parts of the Americas. Approximately 25 species are listed as In danger.

Species

Antelopes account for more than two-thirds of the approximately 135 species of hollow-horned ruminants (bovine chewers) in the Bovidae family, which also includes cattle, sheep, and goats. One antelope, the Indian blackbuck, bears the Latin name Antilope cervicapra; however, antelope is not a taxonomic name but a wildcard term for an astonishing variety of ruminant ungulates.

Africa, with about 71 species, is the continent of antelopes. Only 14 species inhabit the entire Asian continent, and all but three of them are members of the tribe of gazelles (Antilopini). Here we are going to talk about the most important ones briefly:

Wildebeest (Connochaetes)

The great plains of East Africa are typical of wildebeest, whose appearance is somewhat different from that of antelope. There are two species of this animal: the black wildebeest (Connochaetes gnou) And the blue wildebeest (Connochaetes taurinus).

There are notable differences between the two in terms of physical construction, migration, and habitats.

In the first type, the male has a shoulder height of up to 120 cm and can weigh 180 kg, while in the case of the female, the measurements include 108 cm of shoulder height and 155 kg of weight. In the case of the wildebeest, the male measures 150 cm and weighs 250 kg, while the female weighs 135 cm and 180 kg, respectively.

The black limits its habitat options to open grasslands, and migrates over short distances, while the blue does not mind exploring a variety of habitats, and migrating over distant locations.

During migrations, large numbers of these antelopes die when crossing the Mara River. Many of them are preyed upon by alligators and some die drowned in the waters.

Roan antelope (Hippotragus equinus)

Also called equine antelope. With a population spread across the Western, Central, Eastern and Southern African regions, it is also among the largest antelope species in Africa; the fourth largest.

It has a reddish brown fur, easily confused with the blanket that covers the grasses, the characteristic features of this animal include its cloven hooves, beard like that of a goat, shorter horns, long ears with tassels and prominent red nostrils.

Many say that the species is a cross between a goat and a horse. The male and female weigh an average of 270 kg. The male is 140 cm and the female 130 cm.

Water antelope (Kobus ellipsiprymnus)

A white bib under the throat, and a rump marked by a white ring, are the characteristic features of this African antelope, found mainly in West Africa, Central Africa, East Africa, and Southern Africa.

Contrary to its name, it does not spend much time in the water. However, to escape predators, it could use the water as a refuge.

The male can reach a weight of up to 300 kg and the female, 200 kg. The height of the shoulders of the animal is generally 120 - 136 cm.

The animal's reddish-brown fur can be an indicator of its age, as it darkens with age.

Eland (Taurotragus)

Speaking of a large African antelope, the eland is apt for discussion. Currently, it is known as the largest of all the antelope species that inhabit Africa.

The eland resides mainly in the central, eastern and southern parts of Africa. Coastal plains, mountainous areas and semi-desert regions are the habitat of this animal.

Unfortunately, it is also one of the endangered species. It has two subspecies: the common eland (Taurotragus oryx) And the eland mayor (Taurotragus derbianus).

Males can weigh up to 1000 kg and are 183 cm to the shoulder. Females can weigh up to 600 kg and have a shoulder height of up to 153 cm.

Gerenuc (Litocranius walleri)

Also called the giraffe's gazelle or Waller's gazelle. The eastern region of Africa comprises the habitat of this particular species.

An amazing fact about this animal is its extremely low water requirement. The animal does not need to drink water, as the water it gets from the plants it feeds on is enough to keep it going. This is the reason why this species is mainly found in arid regions of Africa.

The male can weigh 45 kg, and is heavier than the female, who weighs no more than 35 kg. Also, males are taller (up to 105 cm) than females (100 cm).

Common Raficer (Raphicerus campestris)

Another small species in Africa is the raficero, also called steenbok. It is found in the southern and eastern region of Africa.

It is 45 to 60 cm tall at the shoulder, and has a diet consisting of low-level vegetation.

As in the case of gerenuc, even it can survive with almost no drinking water. It uses the moisture in the food you eat to meet your daily fluid intake.

Niala (Tragelaphus angasii)

The sexes differ from each other by their color. The male niala is dark brown with vertical white stripes on its body, while the female is reddish brown, marked with light white vertical stripes.

South African watering holes are often full of these animals. Also, they prefer to live in dense forest areas as they tend to be uncomfortable to live in open spaces.

The male weighs up to 114 kg and is 110 cm tall, while the female, 58 kg and 90 cm.

Rockhopper (Oreotragus oreotragus)

The rocky hills of Africa are home to this anima. This animal is relatively smaller than its cousins, generally reaching 58 cm at the shoulder.

It feeds on rock plants, and while standing it uses the tips of its hooves.

He is known for his remarkable jumping skills. It can jump to a height of 7 meters, which is about 15 times its own height. It's no wonder he's known as the rock jumper.

Kudú (Tragelaphus)

They are divided into two subspecies: minor kudú (tragelapbus beardless), and the greater kudú ó great kudú (Tragelaphus strepsiceros).

The lesser kudú populate the regions of East Africa. In this type, males can weigh up to 90 kg, and females, 70 kg. These animals generally have a shoulder height of 90-110 cm.

The great kudú is characterized by its massively prominent horns that are borne by males. Its population is prevalent in the eastern and southern African regions. 190 - 270 kg is the average weight for males, and 120 - 210 kg is for females.

Lechwe (Kobus milk)

Floodplains and swampy areas are the main habitats for this known golden brown animal.

It feeds mainly on aquatic plants and is diurnal in nature.

The mean statistic of a lechwe It is 90 to 100 cm in shoulder height and 70 to 120 kg in weight. The animal makes use of knee-deep water holes to hide from predators. An interesting fact about the animal is related to its knees. They are coated with certain types of substances that help repel water. In this way, the animal can run faster even when in the water.

Cape Jumping Gazelle (Antidorcas marsupialis)

Also known as Springbok. This species of antelope is found mainly in South Africa, and is the national animal of the country.

It is popular for its repeated feats of jumping high up to 4 meters in the air. The male weighs between 33 - 50 kg, while the female, 26 - 40 kg. 80 - 90 km / h is the maximum speed you can reach as a walking speed.

Atílope sand (Hippotragus niger)

Or black antelope. The savannah in East Africa, southern Kenya, and southern Africa is inhabited by this species. 120 - 140 cm is the height of this animal at the shoulder, and 200 - 270 kg is the weight it can reach. The male is distinctly dark, while the female is chestnut to dark brown.

They are known to face attacks from predators such as lions, using their scimitar-shaped horns.

Common tsessebe (Damaliscus lunatus)

tsessebe It has a black stripe running from the forehead to the tip of the nose. Its chest and legs are black, and its fur is rusty red. The horns of the animal are indicative of its age. This is because, as the animal ages, its horns tend to wear out.

This large species can reach a height of 150 - 230 cm, with males up to 137 kg and females up to 120 kg.

Impala (Aepyceros melampus)

Stylish, graceful and graceful are the words that come to mind when describing a magnificent creature like the impala. This animal is mainly known for its amazing jumping abilities.

The male impala weighs an average of 46 to 76 kg, while the female weighs 37 to 50 kg. This slender creature is commonly found in locations ranging from southern Africa to the northern limits of East Africa.

Oryx (Oryx)

The oryx is also one of the large antelope species of Africa. It lives mainly in almost desert conditions, without water for long periods. Both sexes of this species have horns that are used to protect themselves and their young.

The male can weigh between 167 - 209 kg, and reach a height of 1,2 m.

antelope lechwe
antelope lechwe

Features

Antelopes are deer-like herbivores that vary greatly in size, depending on the species. They have long legs, thin necks, and large ears. One of the characteristic features of antelopes is their horns, which have a bone nucleus Coated keratin (the same substance that makes the hair and nails of human).

Males always have horns, but in some species, females do not. Some species have horns that twist into intricate spirals, some are fluted or wavy, and others grow in broad curves that end in a sharp point. Their horns can grow up to 1,5 m long.

Due to the large number of antelope species, they have a great diversity of characteristics, behaviors and lifestyles. This means that there are several interesting facts about antelope.

Size

The smallest antelope is the royal antelope, which is only the height of a rabbit, and can be compared to the tallest, the Moose, which measures 130 to 180 cm in height at the shoulder.

Permanent horns

Antelope horns are permanent, while deer shed their horns every year.

Behavior

Both the male and female antelope have an olfactory gland just in front of each eye called the gland. preorbital. They mark the scent by rubbing this gland on twigs and other vegetation, stones, and sometimes one over the other. They also have scent glands between the split hooves and on the knees.

Some species of antelope have a spectacular behavior called "stotting" or "pronking." When they stop, they jump high into the air, keeping their legs stiff as they arch their backs and point their heads toward the ground. There are several theories as to why antelopes perform this behavior, one of which is that they are telling predators that they would be difficult to catch.

Most species live in Africa.
Most species live in Africa.

Habitat

Antelopes are found in a wide range of habitats. Typically, especially in Africa, these habitats are savannas and grassland plains. Some species live in forests or wooded areas, others in deserts (both hot and cold) or in areas of rocky outcrops. At least two species of antelope are semi-aquatic and live in swamps or wetlands.

Distribution

The antelope's distribution is mainly in Africa, but also in parts of Asia and America.

Food

Almost all species of antelope are herbivores, eating only plant material. However, some Duiker species have been reported to eat insects, birds, and small mammals.

Predators

The following carnivores can attack antelope during the day or at night:

Leones

It is known by all that the Lions they hunt and eat antelope as their prey. These big cats aren't known for their speed, but they have developed two hunting methods to compensate: Either they stalk and ambush prey, or they hide in a bush near a water source and wait for prey. Patience wins the day for the lions. The inability of antelopes to learn from mistakes also supports the lions' attack style. Over and over again, the feline's composure can result in death.

Cheetahs

They also hunt antelope, but often lose their prey to stronger predators such as lions. Unlike many cats, cheetahs boiler during the day. They can run over 80 km / h.

A cheetah watches its prey from afar and from angles for those who have been retarded by old age, youth, or injury. The cheetah then goes after its victim without hesitation, and most often lands it.

Leopards

They prefer to lurk in the shadows at night when they chase prey like antelope. Their exceptional hearing and vision enable them to hunt effectively; the sense of smell is not one of its strengths.

Once the leopard has focused on a possible new food, this cat it will hit the animal with its retractable claws. Then he takes a fatal bite to the throat. Leopard cubs work on their hunting skills by jumping over each other in a playful way.

Hiena

The spotted hyenas they can choose to chase their prey alone or in small groups. When looking for a zebra or buffalo, you can form a herd of about 11 individuals. An individual hyena usually attacks smaller animals, such as antelope.

When hunting, a hyena first rushes into a group of animals and then stops to assess the scene. She then targets a member of that group, chasing her until a bite to the stomach is possible.

The antelope can quickly escape from its predators.
The antelope can quickly escape from its predators.

Reproduction

Antelopes are sexually mature at approximately six to eight months of age, and males generally develop more slowly than females and are viviparous. Pregnancy (gestation) lasts between four and nine months, depending on the species. The female usually gives birth to a single young, but may occasionally have twins.

In some species, the mother leaves the herd to give birth in a well-protected place, occasionally returning to suckle the young; the calf joins the herd about a week later. In other species, for example, the alcélafo (Alcelaphus buselaphus) And the black wildebeest y azul (Connochaetes), the calf may be able to walk within a few minutes of being born, joining the herd along with its mother soon after.

State of conservation

The conservation status of the antelope is very varied. Some species are Critically Endangered (CR), others Endangered (EN), and others Least Concern (LC).

Relationship with humans

Many species of antelope are hunted for their horns, meat, and skin, although the suitability of the species for these purposes varies greatly. As a result, a species of antelope that is hunted in one country may be protected in another. Some species, such as the Saiga, are poached for their horns for use in Asian alternative medicine.

Domestication

Very few species are bred on a small scale. There have been some attempts to tame antelopes, but they have been unsuccessful, in part because they are extremely difficult to tame and very good at jumping over fences.

Is it a good pet?

Its mainly wild animals, although some of the smaller species have been kept as Pets, but they are extremely difficult to tame.

Popular culture

A kind of antelope, the diver, gets its name from the Afrikaans word duik, or Dutch duiken, which means "to dive." This refers to their behavior of frequently diving into vegetation to protect themselves.

The reboks they can gallop up to 64 mph, leading some to believe that popular Reebok athletic shoes are named after this antelope.

List of other interesting animals