9 January 2018
The Overlooked Antelope

 

Often referred to as the "McDonalds of the bush", Impala may be common and plentiful, but by no means are they boring. In fact, just the opposite! Here are some amazing facts about this abundant species of antelope:

  • The name 'Impala' comes from the Zulu word for 'gazelle'.
  • By living in such large herds, they decrease their chances of being killed by predators. When chased, they scatter in all directions which often confuses the attacker.
  • For most of the year, herds are made up of either females and youngsters, sometimes numbering over 8; or bachelor groups of up to 40 animals.
  • You will almost never see Impalas on their own.
  • The males are referred to as rams and have beautiful Lyre-shaped, ringed horns which can reach up to 70 cm. These horns take many years to reach full capacity, dominant males are rams with fully developed horns.
  • A territorial ram publicizes his status by patrolling his ground and roaring, but also by rubbing his forehead and face on twigs and grass as a form of scent marking.
  • At the start of each year the ram’s testosterone levels start rising and they leave their bachelor herds to go and find females and establish territories. The males will fight by clashing horns and pushing one another to establish dominance.
  • Females have the most incredible ability to delay giving birth by up to a month if the conditions are not right. Only once there has been enough rain and food is readily available will they start to drop their young.
  • All the females in a herd will give birth within a week or so of each other, interestingly the ratio of female lambs to males is almost double. Over half of new born Impalas are killed by predators within the first few weeks of their existence.
  • Impalas can jump as high as 3 meters and distances of up to 11 meters.
  • Often, when encountering a predator, they will snort. Instead of fleeing they will actually approach the animal and continue to snort and draw attention to the danger.

 


 

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