Springbok - Peacock of the Savannah

SpringbokThe Springbok (Antidorcas marsupialis) is a type of gazelle found in treeless arid grasslands of southeastern Africa which gets its name from its boastful and magnificent jumping display, called pronking or stotting. It can leap 3.5 meters (11.5 feet) vertically and 15 meters (49 feet) horizontally at speeds of 80 kilometers per hour (50 miles per hour). As it falls from the height of its leap, the springbok expands a flap of skin along the rear half of its back, displaying the white fur under its tail in a fan-like shape. This behavior is thought to attract mates through the secretion of pheromones or possibly intimidate predators. The term for this display, pronking, means "to boast or show off" in Afrikaans.

The Springbok's reddish-tan back and white underbelly are separated by a thick stripe of dark drown fur. They are usually between 70 and 87 centimeters (28 to 34 inches) tall and grow horns about 35 centimeters (14 inches) long. The Springbok can be found in the savannas of northwestern South Africa, throughout the Kalahari Desert in Botswana and Namibia and into southwestern Angola. Well-adapted to its arid habitat, the springbok meets its necessary water intake with the grasses and succulent plants that comprise its diet. As a result, it can survive for years without drinking water, although it will consume water if it can find some.
The springbok is hunted primarily by cheetahs, although other animals such as hyenas, lions and leopards occasionally attack the young, old, or sick which are too slow to keep up with the herd.

Springboks travel in herds which are smaller in winter and become larger in summer. However, they are not very social animals in that they groom themselves and rarely touch one another. Females can give birth to a single fawn about every 8 months. Male offspring stay with the female herd until they reach one year of age, at which point they separate into "bachelor" herds. During the reproductive season these herds separate and the males become territorial. Female offspring remain with their mothers until they give birth themselves.

The largest herds of mammals ever witnessed were many kilometers long and consisted of millions of springbok. However, since the springbok has been hunted by man since prehistory, these herds have been greatly diminished. Despite this, the springbok is not considered a threatened or endangered animal and in fact is the only species of antelope with a growing population.

Interesting fact: The Springbok is adopted as a nickname or mascot by South African sports teams, most famously by the national rugby union team.

Picture of the Springbok by Bourlingueurs.com © 2004 Aucun droit réservé.

Keywords: brown , white , tail

Which zoos have them?
Artis (Netherlands)

The Springbok is listed as Conservation Dependent (LR/cd), the focus of a continuing taxon-specific or habitat-specific conservation programme targeted towards the taxon in question, the cessation of which would result in the taxon qualifying for one of the threatened categories below within a period of five years, on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species

Some facts about the
Springbok

Adult weight : 39 kg (85.8 lbs)

Maximum longevity : 20 years

Female maturity :213 days

Male maturity : 400 days

Gestation : 168 days

Weaning : 121 days

Litter size : 1

Litters per year : 1

Interval between litters : 365 days

Weight at birth : 4.16 kg (9.152 lbs)

Source: AnAge, licensed under CC

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