Graceful and elegant, antelope are some of the most curious critters you’ll come across. But how much do you really know about these mammals? Here are some fun facts about antelopes that might just help clue you in.
1. There are many different types of antelope out there!
There are over 90 species of antelope, spread across the globe including those in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa.
2. Antelope rely on each other, generally.
Antelope are usually sociable and live grouping together in herds. They are known to roam together, but harmony can be disrupted during the mating season when males compete to mate with females.
3. Antelope aren’t afraid to share space with others.
Antelope can live side by side with some other species. For example, they are often seen grazing with zebras, who do not threaten them. 25 to 40 species of antelope cohabit in Africa, for example.
4. They’re great long-distance trouble-spotters!
Antelope are well equipped to foresee trouble from predators. Most have extremely good eyesight and exceptional hearing! If they detect the approach of a potential predator, they are likely to run away rather than fight.
5. Creatures of all sizes!
The biggest antelope is the Eland, which can weigh up to 1,450 pounds and reach a height of 6.5 feet tall – roughly up to the same size as a cow. Trotting steadily, it can jump up to five feet in the air! By comparison, the Royal antelope is tiny, with a height of between only 10 to 12 inches!
6. What does the antelope like to eat?
Antelopes are herbivores. They dine on what they forage from savannas, forests, woodland, mountains or even deserts! Their diet consists of grass, herbs and shrubs.
7. You may know their relatives!
Antelope are closely related to bovines. They are from the same family as goats and sheep.
8. There are some places antelopes will never breed.
Antelope are not native to Australia or South America.
9. What does the antelope say?
Antelope are known to make several types of noise. These include a type of bark and something similar to the ‘moo’ sound of a cow.
Antelope have two toes on each foot.
11. Their antlers never stop growing.
12. Antler shapes vary, too.
Some antelope antlers are straight, and others are curved or develop into a spiral. The Impala, for example, has spiraling antlers.
13. The natural world’s Usain Bolts.
Antelope are adept long-distance runners! They are also equipped to leap up to 33 feet in distance to outrun predators. They can also jump up to ten feet high to escape from attackers.
14. How long do antelope gestate for?
An antelope pregnancy lasts an average of seven months following which usually a single baby is born. Nursing mothers often group together with their infants.
15. You’d better baa-lieve it!
Female Antelopes are called ‘ewes’, and males are known as ‘rams’. Much like sheep in that sense!
16. You’re unlikely to outpace them.
Cheetahs are the fastest-known animals in the world. However, antelopes are the second fastest, pushing them fairly close!
FAQs about Antelope
Is an antelope a cervid?
No - the antelope is bovine and has more in common with the average cow than a deer! They are often confused with deer, moose and elks. Those are cervids, and one of their main features is that they shed their antlers annually or over a longer period.
What preys on antelope?
Antelope species are threatened by humans for meat and sport, and are also preyed on by cheetahs, hyenas, crocodiles, lions, leopards and pythons. If they can catch them, of course! Only the cheetah in this list can naturally outpace an antelope.
Can antelope swim?
Yes, with the Sitatunga antelope being a particularly adept swimmer! You’ll normally find it in African marshlands.
Do you know any fun facts about antelope? Share them in the comments below!