Gerenuk               Litocranius walleri

Type of Animal:

Dry thornbrush, semi-arid bushland, semi-desert, desert, plains, savanna, grassland, open woodland

Found in Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti, Somalia, much of Kenya, & small part of N. Tanzania. Once found in Egypt & Sudan.

Reddish backside w/ orangish sides & pale underbelly, long slender neck led it to also be called “giraffe gazelle,” only males have horns, males also have more muscular neck.

Leaves, shoots, flowers, fruit, buds, shrubs, creepers, vines, seeds, grains, nuts, thorny shrubs, herbs, blossoms

Status in Wild:

Breeding in zoos, wildlife parks, & breeding centers

Females & young live in small herds almost never numbering more than 12 (average number=3-5 adult females), sometimes accompanied by a male. Other males live alone, in pairs, or in trios.

Additional Info:


Male-68-115 lbs
Female-62-99 lbs
Young-20 lbs

7 months

Life Span:
8-12 years

Male- 2.11-3.5 ft
Female- 2.7-3.3 ft

Body Length:
Male- 5.3 ft
Female- 4.6 ft

Tail Length:
0.98 ft

Main predators of adults are lions, hyenas, wild dogs, leopards, cheetahs, pythons, caracals, jackals, & crocodiles. Servals, honey badgers, & large eagles prey on young.

Declining due to habitat loss, hunting, & competition with livestock.

Sexually mature at a year old.

First described by naturalist Victor Brooke in 1878.

They’re active during the day (diurnal).

Calves/fawns spend 1st few weeks of life hidden.

They buzz when alarmed, whistle when annoyed, bleat loudly when in danger, & females bleat softly to communicate w/ young.

Besides being called “giraffe gazelle,” also sometimes called “Waller’s gazelle.”

Like many gazelles, they have preorbital glands in front of eyes. Males emit tar-like substance from these to mark territory.

After feeding young, mothers clean them up & eat remaining food to lessen chance of detection by potential predators.

Can breed anytime of year.

Courtship starts w/ male approaching female & repeatedly tapping belly/flanks w/ front leg. He also rubs female w/ preorbital glands to deposit scent before mating. This might be mechanism to let other males know she’s taken.

Fun Fact(s):
The word “gerenuk” means “giraffe-neck” in Somali.

Can reach plants 6-8 ft higher than them by getting on their hind legs.

Can go entire life w/o drinking water, since they get it from diet.

Many tribal tales crown them ‘queen of humbleness.’

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