Gazelles are elegant, slender antelopes found throughout Africa and Asia. They are related to goats, cattle, and sheep and look like deer. The curving, ringed horns, tan or reddish-brown coats, and white rumps distinguish gazelles. Their coats frequently have patches or stripes. Their light frames aid agility and allow them to flee from predators.
According to the Integrated Taxonomic Information System, there are 19 species of gazelle. Smaller species, such as the Speke’s gazelle and Thomson’s gazelle, have a shoulder length of 51 to 109 cm. They may weigh anything between 12 and 75 kg. The dama gazelle is the most massive of the gazelles. It weighs 40 to 75 kg and measures 137 to 168 cm in length.
These graceful antelopes are common when sighted on safari but there is so much about them that make them an exciting find. Read on in this article to find out more about this safari animal.
The majority of gazelles reside in Africa and Asia’s hot, arid savannas and deserts. Gazelles reduce their hearts and livers to keep hydrated in these harsh settings, according to a study published in the journal Physiological and Biochemical Zoology. When an animal breathes, it might lose a lot of water. Because the heart and liver of a smaller animal use less oxygen, the animal may breathe less and lose less water.
The only gazelle that dwells in the highlands is the Edmi gazelle, commonly known as the Cuvier’s gazelle. During the winter, it migrates to warmer climates.
To avoid predators, gazelles rely on their speed. Gazelles can sprint up to 60 miles per hour in short bursts and maintain speeds of 30 to 40 miles per hour. Gazelles use a bounding jump known as “pronking” or “stotting,” in which they stiffly launch into the air with all four feet.
These creatures are quite sociable. Gazelle herds can number up to 700 individuals, however some are smaller and gender-segregated. In addition to their young, female Thomson’s gazelles dwell in herds of 10 to 30 females. Males live alone or with other males in tiny groups. A bachelor’s herd is a group of males. During mating season, herd separation is more noticeable.
As it grows older, this gazelle becomes less combative. Grant’s gazelles live in traditional territorial herds commanded by males. Herds in more enclosed settings are smaller and more sexually separated. To establish dominance, male gazelles have developed a number of ritualised postures. Males fight while they are younger, but as they become older, ritualised displays generally take the place of fighting. If neither opponent feels scared, they may face off and clash horns in an attempt to knock the other off balance.
The mating season is frequently scheduled around the rainy season to ensure that the newborn fawns have adequate water.
Before giving birth, gazelles carry their offspring for around six months. At any given moment, they have one to two young. Fawns or calves are the names given to newborn gazelles.
A female gazelle would conceal her calves in thick grasses to keep them safe from predators. While still nursing, the young remain with their mother’s herd. Male calves are switched to the male herd when they are ready to fend for themselves. Gazelles have a lifespan of 10 to 12 years.
The young are born in regions that give some shelter after a seven-month gestation period. When the deer is able to stand and has been suckled, it looks for a good hiding spot. Before going away to graze, the mother keeps a close eye on the situation and memorises everything. Three to four times during the day, she comes to the fawn to milk it and clean the area. The laying-out process might take up to two weeks. The fawn consumes solid food for the first time at one month after being breastfed for six months. Grant is sexually mature at the age of 18 months.
The Grant’s gazelle eats a variety of foods depending on the season. They are browsers rather than grazers, and leaves and stems make up a substantial portion of their diet, however they may also consume herbs, foliage, short grasses, and shoots. Because they are not water-dependent, they travel in the opposite direction as other migratory animals like the wildebeest. Because they can receive the moisture they require from their diet, they can escape competition and thrive on semi-desert plants. They have big salivary glands, which may be an adaptation for secreting fluid in response to a dry diet. In fact, some gazelles may go their whole lives without drinking water, according to “Endangered Wildlife and Plants of the World, Volume 5” (Marshall Cavendish Corp., 2001).
Gazelles come in a variety of fragile and endangered species. According to the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the Cuvier’s gazelle has a population of just 1,750 to 2,950 individuals. The slender-horned gazelle is another endangered species. There are barely a few thousand remaining, according to estimates.
According to the Smithsonian National Zoological Park, the dama gazelle is not only the world’s largest gazelle, but also the rarest. It has a population of less than 500 people and is highly threatened.
Hunting is the most serious hazard to gazelles. According to the IUCN, the Queen of Sheba’s gazelle became extinct after troops killed it for food in 1951.
The word “gazelle” originates from the Arabic word “gazal,” which means “love poetry.”
To warn others of a potential predator, a gazelle would flick its tails or stamp its feet.
The Edmi gazelle’s horns may reach a length of 14 inches (35.5 cm).
The name “goitered gazelle” comes from the big protrusion on their necks. Males have a greater hump. During mating season, it’s a huge area of cartilage that lets them yell loudly to possible partners.
Gazelles can reach leaves high up on tree branches by standing on their rear legs.
— Bronwyn Reynolds, Fizzin