Fun Facts - Antelope
Here I am again with more random animal facts!
This time I will be talking about antelope...
There are over 90 species of antelope across Africa and Asia
To name a few we have Thomson's, Grant's, Springbok and the impressive spiral horned Kudu.
All gazelles are antelopes, but not all antelopes are gazelles.
In most species of gazelles both male and female animals have horns; other antelopes don't necessarily have them; for example an impala is not a gazelle as only the males have horns. Gazelle are usually much smaller than other antelope also.
Some antelope do a peculiar jump in the air (called slotting) before running away from predators.
Stotting is a specific gait used by gazelles (most famously the Springbok) when being chased by predators. It involves a high, stiff-legged jump and actually slows the gazelle down, increasing their risk of being caught. Scientists think it may act as a boast or taunt of the gazelle's actual fitness. Whatever the reasoning, it seems to work as many cheetahs will break off a hunt when a gazelle stots.
In spite of their jumping efforts they still get eaten... a lot.
The gazelle are a predominant food source for all of the major predators in Africa, including man. Their coloration and the open savannas in which they live make them rather easy to spot. The gazelle's horns are no protection against attack and they must rely upon agility, speed and weird jumping to avoid being someone else's dinner.
Some gazelle are damn fast (and they need to be)!
A Thomson's gazelle is capable of running at around 50mph making it the fasted of all African gazelle and second fasted land animal in the continent. Unfortunately their most common predator is the fastest; as a cheetah can run at up to 61mph!
If you would like to know more about antelope or help in the conservation of this species or any others you can go to AWF directly here: AWF.org
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