in

Antelope Facts

Antelope are related to cattle. Cows, sheep, and goats are all related to them. There are more than 90 different species of antelope. Pronghorn antelopes are found only in North America.

Antelopes are ruminants that live in Africa and Eurasia. Because they are cloven-hoofed ruminants, they are closely related to buffalo and bison.

Antelope Facts for Kids

  • Antelope are herbivores
  • Male antelopes are called bucks.
  • Female antelopes are called does.
  • Antelopes live between 10 to 25 years
  • There are 91 antelope species

Physical Characteristics

Antelopes are mammals with two toes on each foot, horizontal pupils, even-toed hooves, and horns that can grow up to 5 feet long. They have the ability to make a wide range of sounds, from moo sounds like that of cows to whistles and barks.

  • All male antelopes have horns.
  • All female antelopes except Eland lack horns.
  • Their horns are of different sizes and shapes.
  • There are various types of antelope horns, from short, long, and straight to curved or even pointed.
  • Antelopes use their horns to defend themselves from predators and from other antelopes when it’s time to mate.
  • Their horns are made of keratin and are very hard, like bone.
  • Some species can grow horns that are up to 5 feet long.
  • Some species, like the Asian ones, have four horns.
  • Antelopes are ruminants, or “cud-chewers,” just like cows. This means that, like cows, their stomachs let them chew their food more than once.
  • Antelopes, unlike deer, keep their horns and grow new ones all the time.

Scientific Name

Antelope is an informal classification for deer-like animals within the family Bovidae. There are several distinct subfamiliy within the general category of antelopes, but there are still numerous variations.

Antelopes are widespread animals that belong to the family Bovidae and the order Artiodactyla.

Appearance and Behavior

Antelopes have two types: small to medium animals that live in concealed cover in forests and wetlands and large animals that live in open plains and deserts. They tend to congregate into large herds that migrate to new areas in search of food.

Antelopes vary dramatically in size, with the royal antelope weighing only 4 pounds and the eland weighing 1,800 pounds. Males tend to have larger bodies and horns than females.

The antelopes’ bodies are well suited for consuming and digesting vegetation. It has a multi-chambered stomach and molar teeth.

Facts for Kids
Facts for Kids

The antelope’s visual acuity and sense of smell allow it to see predators coming from the periphery of its vision and communicate with other members.

Habitat

Approximately 71 species of antelopes inhabit the African continent, and no known antelopes have ever evolved in Australia.

What do Antelopes Eat?

Antelopes are herbivores and feed on vegetation close to the ground. The gerenuk and dibatags stand on their hind legs to reach leaves in tall trees and break down the plant matter into a usable form.

They are most active during the day and stick to shade during the hottest part of the day.

Types of Antelope

Here’s a list of a few different types of antelope

  • Blackbuck Antelope (Antilope cervicapra)
  • Common eland Antelope (Taurotragus oryx)
  • Gerenuk Antelope (Litocranius walleri)
  • Impala Antelope (Aepyceros melampus)
  • Saiga Antelope (Saiga tatarica)
  • Suni Antelope (Neotragus moschatus)
  • Thomson’s gazelle Antelope (Gazella thomsonii)

Predators and Threats

Antelopes are a common prey animal in Africa, and are often chased by cheetahs, lions, hyenas, civets, pythons, and large birds.

Antelopes have a number of strategies to deal with a dangerous predator, including speed and agility, hiding in water and foliage, and standing their ground.

They are essential to the ecosystems they live in, as they are not apex predators and provide an important food source to many other creatures on the savannah. Humans also play a role in the predation of antelope, by hunting them and mildly domesticating certain species.

Reproduction, Babies, and Lifespan

Antelopes pursue many different mating rituals, including full monogamy and a dominant breeding pair within a herd.

Sexual maturity may occur within one to two years of age. After fertilization, pregnancy usually takes approximately 4–9 months.

The calf is highly vulnerable at birth and is protected by the herd.

The age of maturity varies widely between species, and the lifespan can range from 10 years to 25 years. It is difficult to determine how long antelope live in the wild, but in captivity, wildebeest have lived beyond 20 years old.

Population

Around a quarter of antelope species are threatened by extinction, and many are in decline due to hunting and declining habitats.