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Interview with Pronking Springbok

Updated on November 13, 2014
Stratford the Springbok
Stratford the Springbok | Source

Interview with Pronking Springbok

My supernatural sensitivity tells me that you may have a couple of questions based on that title … like what is Pronking? and what is a Springbok? Right? So I will no longer keep you in suspense.

On my recent trip to South Africa, I encountered a verbal springbok who consented to be interviewed by means of my telepathic ability. Here is what I learned.

Home Sweet Home in South Africa
Home Sweet Home in South Africa | Source

me – Thank you for taking the time to communicate with me, Mr. Springbok.

Springbok – Happy to do so. You can call me Strat.

me – Strat? That’s an unusual name.

Strat – It’s short for Stratford. My mother was a BIG Shakespeare fan.

me – You were named for Stratford-upon-Avon? William Shakespeare’s birthplace?

Strat – That’s right. But it could have been worse. She could have named me Avon!

[We both laugh]

me – Strat, you are a very handsome animal, if you don’t mind my saying so. What exactly is a springbok?

Strat – We are a type of antelope that has thrived in the severe desert environment of South Africa for more than 500,000 years.

me – And the name, springbok?

Strat –In the Afrikaans/Dutch language, ‘bok’ means male antelope and ‘spring’ means jump. Springbok is jumping antelope.

me – I have learned that your Latin name is Antidorcas marsupialis. What exactly does that mean?

Strat – I haven’t a clue! [laughing]

me – You’re kidding me. Right?

Strat – Right! The description, marsupialis, derives from the Latin word, marsupium, or pocket. We male springboks have them.

me – Are you similar to kangaroos that are known as marsupials? Do female springboks have a pouch or pocket in which to raise their young?

Strat – No. And you cannot see my pocket until I pronk.


me – I beg your pardon.

Strat – Pronking is one of our unique capabilities. Only the most fit and athletic male springboks – like me – have the ability to pronk.

That's me in the photo . . . pronking!

me – What does that word mean?

Strat – Pronking is an Afrikaans word meaning to show off, to boast.

Take a look at this video and you will see springboks pronking.

Springboks Pronking to Intimidate Predators

me – That is amazing. How high can you pronk, I mean, jump?

Strat – Would you believe we springboks can leap more than 6½ feet high and up to l3 feet through the air?

me – Do you pronk only to show off?

Strat – That’s a good question. We males indulge in ‘pronking’ which is also known as ‘stotting’ to display our strength and athletic ability to warn predators that they have little chance of catching us.

We are no slouches at running either since we can reach speeds up to 62 miles per hour.

me – Who are your major enemies?

Strat – Lions, leopards, cheetahs, and hyenas want to have us for dinner. Humans want our skins which make beautiful coats.

Two members of my posse
Two members of my posse | Source

me – It seems that the ability to pronk helps to keep you safe from harm.

Strat –That’s not all it does. When we pronk, we display our pocket-like skin flap which extends along the middle of our back toward our tail. I call that crest of snowy white fur my D.B.T.

me – D. B. T.?

Strat – My Date Bait Trait. Let me explain. When I pronk and display my ability to jump high into the air, the flaps of skin on the pocket on my back appear to turn inside out and reveal a handsome fan of bright white fur.

me – That must really impress the females.

Strat – It’s not just the beautiful white fur that impresses them. It’s the scented secretion from glands beneath my skin that excites them. The scent smells like honey to humans and entices the ladies.

me – I can easily imagine the producers of men’s colognes trying to replicate that scent.

Strat – If you ever manage to bring that idea to market, I’m all in!

There is one more aspect of pronking I should mention. Often, we springbok bucks simply pronk for enjoyment – it is our interpretation of jumping for joy.

me – Fats Waller, an American entertainer, may have been inspired by your pronking when he created the 1937 song, "The Joint is Jumpin'."

Here’s a great spin-off of “The Joint is Jumpin’” with Mickey Rooney, Jose Iturbi (pianist) and Judy Garland: “The Joint is Really Jumpin’ in Carnegie Hall“ (1943).

me – Thank you, Strat, for sharing all this springbok lore. It has been a pleasure to meet you. Mag jy leef en goed. May you live and be well. And keep on pronkin’.

Strat – Ciao. Dankie. Dieselfde vir jou. Thank you, same to you.

For your enjoyment, here is an ‘antelope’ pun Strat shared with me:

Once upon a time, a beautiful young female antelope had a big date with a handsome bok, so she prepared by getting a new dress, makeup, the works.

As she was running across the desert to meet her date, she was stampeded by a herd of wild beasts, and became the first self-dressed, stamped antelope.

I know, I groaned, too.

© Copyright BJ Rakow, Ph.D. 2014. All rights reserved.

Author, "Much of What You Know about Job Search Just Ain't So."

Comments for Interview with Pronking Springbok

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    • drbj profile imageAUTHOR

      drbj and sherry 

      3 years ago from south Florida

      So you are pronking with joy, my dear Martie? I must get a photo of that! Yes. the springboks are special, beautiful animals. It is good to hear from you, too. Sorry that with other stuff on my plate, my visits have become sporadic. But you are still m'luv. :)

    • drbj profile imageAUTHOR

      drbj and sherry 

      3 years ago from south Florida

      Forgive my delay in responding to your most kind and gracious comments, Pamela. Cheetahs and other similar animals are not known for their superior intellect, so I guess they have not yet figured out that what goes up must come down. Lucky for the springboks.

      Thank you, m'dear, for the Up and the sharing and the pinning. Hope your holidays are the happiest.

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 

      4 years ago from South Africa

      Now where were I when you published this awesome hub about my country's National Animal, the Springbok? They are truly too beautiful - living art. Humans, too, want them for dinner. Like the meat of most herbivores, their meat is delicious.

      I haven't seen you in a long time, my dear drbj. Good to see you are still around. I am pronking with joy :)

      Laat dit goed gaan met jou!

    • Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

      Pamela Dapples 

      4 years ago from Just Arizona Now

      I'm so glad I found this to read tonight. It's wonderful. Pronking, my goodness, something we must all become educated about. Thank you for fulfilling this need.

      I am quite surprised, though, that the six-foot high jumps do not put the Springbok into quite a disadvantage when a cheetah figures out that it takes a few seconds for that Springbok to get back down to earth and run some more. I would think a cheetah would be waiting right underneath the bouncing Springbok.

      They are so pretty, these animals. And witty, too! Loved this (and the videos. Perfect. Zing, went the strings of my heart!) Voting way up, sharing and pinning.

    • drbj profile imageAUTHOR

      drbj and sherry 

      4 years ago from south Florida

      Hi, Dianna. I'm kinda fond of that relatively unknown adjective, too. Thanks for enjoying my 'creative wit.' Love that phrase also. :)

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      4 years ago

      Pronking! What a word! I enjoy your creative wit and look forward to articles to come.

    • drbj profile imageAUTHOR

      drbj and sherry 

      4 years ago from south Florida

      Hi, Alicia. Thanks for enjoying my interview with Strat. Strat thanks you, too.

    • drbj profile imageAUTHOR

      drbj and sherry 

      4 years ago from south Florida

      Thank you, Faith, for loving my interview style. Happy I could bring the Springbok to your attention. Thanks for the Up and the kind adjectives. Blessings to you, too, m'dear.

    • drbj profile imageAUTHOR

      drbj and sherry 

      4 years ago from south Florida

      Aha, Mary, seems you might have had Twerking Miley Cyrus in mind when you read my title about the Pronking Springbok. The springbok is a very interesting animal and Strat appreciates your kind words. Me, too.

    • drbj profile imageAUTHOR

      drbj and sherry 

      4 years ago from south Florida

      Thank you, Billy, for having missed my interviews. Nice to know you noticed. Funny yet informative is what I aim to be. Most of the time.

    • drbj profile imageAUTHOR

      drbj and sherry 

      4 years ago from south Florida

      Thank you, Mary, for your most commendable comments. Delighted that you enjoy my interviewing style and info. What more could I ask? The springbok is, indeed, an amazing animal. And thank you, too, for all your votes.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      What a creative way to teach us about the springbok! This is an interesting and enjoyable hub as well as an educational one, drbj.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 

      4 years ago from southern USA

      I truly love your interview style, Dr. Do ... I mean drbj! These are always so creative and fun, plus we learn so much about a beautiful animal. Well, I never heard of the Springbok.

      Up ++++ tweeting, pinning and sharing


    • ocfireflies profile image


      4 years ago from North Carolina

      what a fun way to present info-very much enjoyed and voted as such


    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 

      4 years ago from Florida

      What an interesting animal! When I saw your title I thought you had interviewed some entertainer I'd never heard of!!

      Another great interview!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Not only funny but informative. Like Mary, I have missed these interviews. Good to have you back on a semi-regular basis, my friend.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 

      4 years ago from New York

      I've been missing these wonderful interviews! I don't know what I like more, your creative question and answer style or the facts you throw in. Its just a fun, educational read! Not to mention your sense of humor...Shakespeare really? Loved it.

      The Springbok is a beautiful animal and who knew any animal could survive without drinking water!

      Voted all.


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