Springbok in our view – the rapid graceful animal, ready at any moment to dart away like a gust of wind. And indeed, this image quite correspond almost eighty species of antelope. Especially impala and Springbok with their magnificent grace. However, differences in the antelope weight and size are very important.
The generic name “antelope” comes from the Greek word “antolope”, which means “bright-eyed”. Name is perfectly suited to these animals, however, as the Arabic word “Gazelle”, turned into our “Springbok”. It also means “bright-eyed”. But the eyes of antelope created not to fascinate predators. Due to the special device eyes, antelope sees almost everything around him.
Defending his calf during this period, the mother-gnu fearlessly throws herself between him and the bat-eared fox or cheetah. Smaller antelopes such as gazelles, rely only on cryptic coloring and secluded refuge.
Antelope ancestors first appeared in Central Asia about 23 million years ago. 14 million years later, dozens of different species have settled throughout Asia and Europe. However, about 100 thousand years ago, when the climate became colder, they left the northern region.
Nowadays almost all kinds of antelopes live in Africa, where the habitat for them the most suitable. In Asia, only a few species, but in America – not one. Antelope – one of the most important links in the ecological food chain mammals. Do not be antelopes, almost all African predators would become extinct. After antelope – is the main food of lions, cheetahs and even more than a dozen species of carnivores. On average, each square kilometer of the East African savannah accounts for more than ten antelopes. There lives 28 species of these animals, including 600 thousand gazelles Thompson, 40000 Grant’s gazelle, 450,000 wildebeest and 20,000 Marsh.
Antelope eat mainly grass and leaves – this food enough for all antelopes. And they, in turn, is enough for all predators.
Nature has generously endowed antelope everything you need to survive among predators. These animals have excellent hearing and sense of smell, quick feet long and wonderful camouflaged.
Almost from the moment of his birth antelope lives on the run. Wildebeest calf within five minutes after birth gets to his feet. After another five minutes, he was clumsily running after her mother. The next day, a newborn is no longer lagging behind most swift relatives that can carry at the speed of 55 km / h.
Some species of antelopes live in certain areas. Males mark and fiercely protect them. Oryx antelope, horse and black antelopes against predators sometimes use their horns. But most of all antelope horns used in the fight for territory. Rather, it is the appearance of the battle, but not a serious fight.
It is said that there are fights where involved males who have lost horns in previous battles. Most interesting is that both the male quite seriously mimic battle imaginary horns.