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Antelope

September 25, 2021 3 min read

Antelope

A wastebasket taxon refers to species of even-toed ruminates that are not bovines, caprines, deer, or giraffes and belong to the family Bovidae. A group of antelope is called a herd. Females are called “ewes" male antelopes are called “rams.”

 

 

Habitat and Distribution:

Antelopes live in a wide range of habitats and prefer the savanna habitat. However, they are also present in the forest, desert, semi aquatic, rocky, and cold-wild environments.

Antelopes are not present in Antarctica and Australia and are native to Africa. They are also distributed in India, Russia, Arabian Peninsula, and Central Asia.

For exotic game hunting, many antelope species have been imported to the United States and other parts of the world. In the fossil record, several extinct species occur in Europe.

Physical Characteristics:

Size and Weight:

The size may vary as the eland antelope can be 5 ft 10 in. and weighs almost 950 kg, whereas the royal adult antelope weighs about 9+1⁄2 in. and weighs about 1.5kg.

Fur:

Fur color and density vary among different species but mostly have dense coats of short fur, and pelagic show variations of brown color with white or pale under bodies. Antelope have pale, vertical stripes on their backs. However, there are a few exceptions of black, grey, white. 

Eyes:

Their eyes are on the side of the head and provide them a better radius and minimal binocular vision. In addition, the pupil is horizontal, which also helps them.

Horns:

Most antelopes are spiral-horned, and unlike those of deer’s antlers that shed and grow, the antelope’s horns grow continuously. Horns are efficient weapons. In some species, females are hornless. Usually, the male's horns are larger and heavier than the females. 

Legs:

Antelopes can run fast as they have long and powerful legs. They stand on their two hind legs to reach tree foliage. They have remarkable speed and leaping abilities and can jump up to 2.8 m.

Teeth:

Antelopes have well-developed molar teeth, which helps them to chew their cud for further digestion. They lack the upper incisors while having a gum pad that allows the lower incisors to tear the leaves. 

Behaviors:

Mating Behaviors:

Antelopes are usually sexually dimorphic. Different species have different mating strategies, as dik-diks tend to be monogamous. Impala or wildebeest form large herds of many females and a single breeding male while lechwes pursue a lek breeding system.

Defensive Behaviors:

Antelope, like other herbivores, have well-developed senses and rely on these senses to avoid predators. 

  1. To communicate with other members, they produce certain sounds. The sounds produced by antelopes are, 

  • Barks

  • Whistles

  • Trumpeting

  • Moos

  1. Antelopes also make a scent that the members of the same species can easily understand. They have scent markings on their heads, ears, legs, and rumps.

  2.  Some of the species gather in herds and rely on running speed for protection. 

  3. Some of the forest antelopes use cryptic coloration to avoid predators. 

Species of Antelopes:

There are a total of 91 species of antelope. Out of 91 species, about 74 species are native to Africa.

African Antelope:

Some of the African antelopes are

  1. Kudu

  2. Sable

  3. Gemsbok

  4. Springbok

  5. Bontebok

  6. Steenbok

  7. Roan

  8. Impala

  9. Nyala

  10. Waterbuck

  11. Bushbuck

  12. Gerenuk

  13. Klipspringer

  14. Eland

  15. Bongo

  16. Tsessebe

  17. Scimitar Oryx

  18. Dik-Dik

Largest African Antelope:

Taurotragus derbianus giant eland is Africa’s largest antelope. Its length ranges from 2.2 to 2.9 meters and 1.3 to 1.8 meters at the shoulder.

 

 

Smallest African Antelope:

Neotragus pygmaeus Royal antelope is the smallest ruminant around the world and the smallest ungulate in Africa. It resembles a rabbit and is 25 cm high. 

 

 

Most Common African Antelope By Population:

Philantomba monticola blue duiker is the most common antelope by population; its population in Africa is about 7,000,000 and is considered conservative.

 

 


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