There are 91 species of antelope in the world, and over 70 species live in Africa. Here’s a brief overview of a few favorites.
Hoofed mammals in the Bovidae family, antelope are herbivores with a keen sense of smell and hearing. They have long legs; and all males have horns, some females have horns too.
Everything else about antelope varies among species.
Some are very small, like the duiker and steenbok at 12-16 inches (30-40 cm) tall. The largest antelope, the eland, is 5 feet tall (1.5 m) and weighs over 2,000 pounds (942 kg).
The horns, as you can see from the photos, vary widely among species.
African antelope typically occupy the savanna, but there are species in different habitats too. The African Klipspringer, for example, lives in rocky mountainous areas.
We spotted this klipspringer leaping onto rocks about 200 feet above us.
A few antelope species prefer desert or cold regions, forest, or water.
Most are various shades of tan and brown, but some are not. The sable was oh so elegant, we saw only one.
I love to come across the gerenuks. They’re the only antelope I have ever seen standing on two legs. The long, slender, back legs were on the ground, and the front legs were up in the air while they foraged on tree leaves.
A different time, in my periphery and across the river, I saw the most beautiful antelope ballet. Fortunately it went on for a few seconds so I could watch.
It was a small group of gazelle zealously springing into the air in the most glorious way. They were not leaping over anything, it was more of a bouncing, like balls.
I later learned it is called stotting, when all four feet spring off the ground simultaneously. There are numerous theories about the purpose of this. You can read more here.
In the African grasslands, whether coming upon a sprinting impala or a sauntering kudu, it is an honor to observe this diverse and graceful mammal.
Photo credit: Athena Alexander (unless otherwise specified)
I know of a fun mystery that just came out. Written by the same mammal who brought you the antelope today.