Gemsbok – oryx gazella

striking large antelope with rapier like horns

Description
heavily built with a short, thick neck and distinct black-and-white markings on the head body and legs.

The gemsbok has a long, black, horse-like tail.

Body colour greyish-fawn, separated from white underparts by streak along flanks.

Black patches on upper part of legs and along top of rump.

Calves fawn and lack body markings.

Both sexes have the long rapier-like horns with those of the bull being shorter.

Breeding
a single calf is born after a gestation period of about 264 days, generally in summer.
The calf hides and will move with the mother at night to a new resting-place.

Social Behaviour
average herd strength is usually 15 members but groups of 50 – 200 are not unkwown.  Herds are generally mixed with a large number of males
remain solitary.

Feeding
favouring early morning and late afternoons, coarse grass and thorny shrubs make up the bulk of their diet.  These antelope will drink water if available but can survive days or weeks without it, so well adapted for desert conditions.

Life Expectancy
20 years

Enemies
lion – cheetah – hyenas – humans

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