The springbok (Antidorcas marsupialis) is a medium-sized antelope that is primarily found in southern and southwestern Africa. This bovid, the sole member of the genus Antidorcas, was described in 1780 by the German zoologist Eberhard August Wilhelm von Zimmermann.
There are three subspecies: the western springbok Antidorcas marsupialis hofmeyri found in south-west Africa, the South African springbok Antidorcas marsupialis marsupialis and the Angolan springbok, Antidorcas marsupialis angolensis.
The springbok is a slender, long-legged antelope that measures 71 to 86 cm (28 to 34 in) at the shoulder and weighs between 27 and 42 kg (60 and 93 lb). Both sexes have a pair of black horns that curve backward and are 35-to-50 cm (14-to-20 in) long.
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Characteristics of the Springbok
The springbok is a thin antelope with long legs and a long neck. Both sexes reach 71–86 cm (28–34 in) at the shoulder, with a head-and-body length of 120–150 cm (47 and 59 in). Weights for both sexes range from 27 to 42 kilograms (60 and 93 lb).
The tail is 14 to 28 cm (5.5 to 11.0 in) long and has a short black tuft at the end. There are significant differences in the size and weight of the subspecies. The average body measurements for the three subspecies were tabulated in a study. Males of A. m. angolensis stand 84 cm (33 in) tall at the shoulder, while females stand 81 cm (32 in).
Males weigh approximately 31 kg (68 lb), while females weigh 32 kg (71 lb). The largest subspecies is A. m. hofmeyri, with males standing nearly 86 cm (34 in) tall and females standing 71 cm (28 in). Males, weighing 42 kg (93 lb), weigh more than females, who weigh 35 kg (77 lb). However, A. m. marsupialis is the smallest subspecies, with males standing 75 cm (30 in) tall and females standing 72 cm (28 in). Males have an average weight of 31 kg (68 lb), while females have an average weight of 27 kg (60 lb). Another study discovered a link between the availability of winter dietary protein and body mass.
Springbok coats are chestnut brown with a reddish-brown stripe that slopes upward from the upper fore leg the across the flanks to the rump. Longer back legs allows the springbok to leap multiple times in the air up to a height of 6 feet 6 (2 m) which is called ‘pronking’. A white rump, stretches to the belly and inner legs; it’s face is also predominantly white. Long sloping horns that splay outward and then inward are a famous feature of the springbok.
The Behavior of the Springbok
Springbok are most active at dawn and dusk. Springbok activity is influenced by the weather; in hot weather, they can feed at night, while in colder months, they typically feed at midday. These elegant animals seek rest in the shade of trees or bushes and frequently sleep out in the open when the weather is cool.
The springbok’s social structure is similar to that of Thomson’s gazelle. A roughly 3:1 sex ratio is observed in mixed-sex herds or harems. During the mating season, males form herds roam in search of mates. Females live in herds with their offspring, which almost never includes dominant males.
It has been observed that the territorial males gather around female herds that invade their territories and keep the bachelors out; mothers and juveniles can be separated from the harem and bachelor herds in nursery herds. Males enter bachelor groups after weaning, while female juveniles remain with their mothers until the birth of their next calves.
Fanastic Facts About the Springbok
- Springboks perform multiple jumps called pronking where all 4 feet lift off the ground for show when mating or when being persued by a predator.
- The springbok is the emblem of the South african rugby team
- Springbok horns are still used in making lamps and furniture
- Springbok can run at 55mph
Diet and Reproduction of Springbok
Springbok are primarily browsers who occasionally graze; they feed on shrubs and young succulents (such as Lampranthus species) before they lignify (become woody). They prefer grasses like Themeda triandra. Springbok can quench their water requirements through the food they eat and can survive without drinking water during the dry season. In extreme cases, they do not consume any water throughout their lives.
Springbok mate all year, but females are more likely to go into oestrus during the rainy season when food is more abundant. Females can conceive as early as six to seven months, while males do not reach sexual maturity until two years; the rut lasts between five and twenty-one days.
When a female approaches a rutting male, he lowers his horns, keeps his head and tail level with the dirt, and grunts loudly to attract her. The male then urinates on the female’s perineum and sniffs it. If the female is interested, she will urinate, and the male will make a flehmen motion and tap his leg before the female leaves or allows him to mate.
Copulation is characterized by a single pelvic thrust. Gestation lasts between five and six months, after which a single calf (or, in rare cases, twins) is born.
Habitat of the Springbok
Springboks live in the arid regions of southern and southwestern Africa. Their range extends from northwestern South Africa into Namibia and Botswana, via the Kalahari Desert. The Transvaal marks the range’s eastern limit, from which it extends westward to the Atlantic and northward to southern Angola and Botswana.
They are mostly found in the Kalahari Desert in Botswana’s southwestern and central regions. They are found throughout Namibia, as well as the vast grasslands of the Free State and the shrublands of the Karoo in South Africa; however, they are only found in Angola’s the Namib Desert.
Threats and Conservation of the Springbok
The IUCN has designated the springbok as a species of least concern. There are no known major threats to the species’ long-term survival. In fact, the springbok is one of the few antelope species with an increasing population.
Springbok can be found in several protected areas throughout their range, including Botswana’s Makgadikgadi and Nxai National Parks, the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park between Botswana and South Africa, Namibia’s Etosha National Park and Namib-Naukluft Park, Mokala and Karoo National Parks, and a number of provincial reserves in South Africa.
Although numbers are not threatened, Springbok are hunted by humans for their meat. If this continues, it could damage rainforest.
Q & A About the Springbok
Is a Springbok a type of deer?
The Springbok (Antidorcas marsupialis) is a small brown and white gazelle that stands about 75 cm tall. Males can weigh up to 50 kg, while females can weigh up to 37 kg.
What is the springbok known for?
The springbok is one of the few antelope species with a growing population. Moreover, South Africa’s national animal is also the springbok.
What is the lifespan of the springbok?
Springboks live in herds of females and their offspring with only a few dominant males, the mother makes up the majority of the parental contribution. The average springbok has a life expectancy of 7-9 years.
In what family do springbok belong?
Springbok belong in the bovidae family
In what order to springbok belong?
Springbok are even toe ungulates that belong in the Artiodactyla family
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