Different Kinds Of Antelopes
Antelopes And Hartebeests
The antelopes belong to the Bovidae, the same horned family as the cow, the sheep, and the goat. The Bovidae are a family of ruminants, those cud chewing animals which swallow their food in haste into a storage stomach, from which it is returned later to the mouth a little at a time to be thoroughly chewed.
The cud-chewers belong to a large group of even toed ungulates, that is, they have two large toes, with hooves on each foot. In some cases two small toes at the side. Few antelopes have the side toes, or lateral toes, as they are called.
Antelopes are found only in Africa and Asia. Africa is their true home. Over this vast territory they inhabit every type of country. In size, they range from the Eland, an animals are large as an Ox, to the tiny Royal Antelope, scarcely bigger than a hare.
One of the queerest of the antelope tribe is the Hartebeest. It has an abnormally long face and doubly curved horns.
This is an animals of the plains. Often many of the kind will congregate in large herds in company with Gnus and Zebras. Most of the forms of Hartebeests are of a buffy brown color and stand a little over four feet at the shoulder.
Topi, Tiang, and Korrigum
Close relatives of the Hartebeests are the Topi, Tiang, and Korrigum, which are of a dark chestnut color with a black blaze on their faces. They are more normal in appearance. That is, their heads are more in proportion and their horns less curved.
The Blesbok and the Bontebok are smaller animals, with a white blaze on the face. These are no longer found in the wild state, but occur only on some of the large African ranches in a semi-wild condition. The Bontebok has become very scarce, and unless it is rigidly protected it will soon be extinct.
The Gnus Or Wildebeests
The Gnus or Wildebeests, are odd looking animals with horse like tails, high shoulders and blunt muzzles.
The Brindled Gnu of South Africa and the White-bearded Gnu of East Africa are bluish gray, with more or less vertical dark stripes. The latter is distinguished by its yellowish white throat fringe.
The White-tailed Gnu or Black Wildebeests, is really a dark brown animal, inferior in size to the two preceding, being under four feet in height. It has a flowing white tail and horns which curve forward and downward and then up. A tuft of hair on the nose adds to the strange appearance of the White-tailed Gnu.
In former years this Gnu was found in vast herds on the plains of South Africa, but it is now restricted to a semi-domesticated condition on some of the ranches.
Throughout the forests and brush country of Africa are found groups of small antelopes called Duikers or Duikerbok. There are about twenty species of Duikers and these have been diverged into more than eighty forms. Most of them average about two feet high.
Of these, the most common is the Gray Duiker, represented by forms from the Cape of Good Hope to Ethiopia. It generally lives in bushy country, lying concealed until almost trod upon, when it dashes off after the manner of a rabbit. The Red Duiker also has an extensive range, but it is more partial to forested country.
The largest of the Duikers is the Yellow Backed Duiker, which inhabits the forests of western Africa and is easily distinguished by the rpesence of a long, yellowish patch on its back. It stands about thiry inches at the shoulder.
The Blue Duiker is of a smokey brown color and is much smaller in size, being about fourteen inches high. It is a forest animal and has the habit of hiding among the branches of fallen trees, often several feet from the ground.
The most striking marked of all the Duikers is the banded, or zebra, Duiker. The color is orange red with vertical black bands on the back. This pretty little Duiker is found only in the forests of Sierra Leone.
In the interior of Africa is found a small, grayish fawn antelope with exceptionally large ears, known as the Beira. It is about twenty-one inches high, inhabits the open deserts and is a very rare animal.
The Dik Diks are small, slenderly built antelopes, standing about fourteen inches high. In general color they are gray on the back, with brownish legs and white underparts.
Some forms have a short trunk-like nose. They prefer semi-arid thorn bush country, and when running off remind one more of a rabbit than of an antelope. Thousands of their skins have been exported in the past to make gloves.
The Oribi are found on the grassy plains of Africa. They have a wide distribution.
Generally, they are brownish yellow and stand about two feet high. They have lateral toes, or hooves.
The male has horns which are upright, straight and annulated (ringed).
The Suni And Royal Antelope
The Suni is a small antelope about fourteen inches high, found in East Africa. It inhabits thick undergrowth and is brownish gray in color.
The Royal (or Pygmy) Antelope is about ten inches high. The sharply pointed horns are only about one inch long. This small antelope lives in west-African forests.
The Steinbok And Grysbok Antelopes
The Steinbok, in outward appearance, looks much like the Oribi, but has larger ears and a longer tail. It lacks the small lateral hooves. this is an animal of the grassy plains. It spends the day hidden in the grass, feeding only in the early evening and at night.
The Grysbok is about the size and shape of the Steinbok, but has the lateral hooves. It is a beautifully colored animal, with a rich red coat mixed with pure white hairs. It is confined to South Africa.
Wherever in Africa there are mountains or large outcroppings of rocks, there you are likely to find the Klipspringer, a small rock antelope living from the Cape of Good Hope to Ethiopia. It stands about twenty inches high.
The hair is long and coarse, quite unlike that of any other antelope. Its color is a mixture of brown and greenish yellow.
It is never found away from rocky territory. With amazing, sure-footed agility, the little Klipspringer can climb up and down the steep sides of cliffs.
If You'd Like To Know More!
Information about antelopes for students K-6
- Antelopes - Kenya
- AWF: Wildlife: Hartebeest
- Cape Grysbok | Antelope | Africa...
The Cape Grysbok is a small, shy antelope with a thick-set body and a coarse coat of hair. A mingling of white and reddish hair on the back and sides gives this species a grizzled, reddish...
- Suni antelope