Gerenuk

ANIMAL:
Gerenuk               Litocranius walleri

Type of Animal:
Antelope

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

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

Appearance:
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.

Food/Diet:
Leaves, shoots, flowers, fruit, buds, shrubs, creepers, vines, seeds, grains, nuts, thorny shrubs, herbs, blossoms

Status in Wild:
Stable

Conservation:
Breeding in zoos, wildlife parks, & breeding centers

Lifestyle:
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:

Called:
Male-Buck
Female-Doe
Young-Calf/Fawn
Group-Herd

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

Gestation:
7 months

Life Span:
8-12 years

Height:
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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