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bovid family
bovid family
other herbivores
carnivores
primates

wildlife (back to intro)

in this section
Blue Duiker
Dik-Dik
Gazelle tribe
Thomson's gazelle
Grant's gazelle
Gerenuk
Kob antelope
Waterbuck
Sable antelope
Oryx or Gemsbok
Hartebeest
Topi or Tsessebe
Common Wildebeest
Impala
Bushbuck
Sitatunga
Greater Kudu
Bongo
Common eland
African or Cape buffalo
Giraffe
Oryx/Gemsbok: Oryx gazella

Characteristics

Weight and Height
males: wt 367-460 lb (167-209 kg), ht 46-50 lb (115-125 cm)
females: wt 255-414 lb (116-188 kg), ht 46-50 in (115-125 cm)

Horns
Average length, 42 in (105 cm); generally straight or slightly curved

Coat
Short and sleek

Color
Gray to tan with black and white markings on face


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General Locations
Somali-Masai, arid zones in southwestern Africa and in the savannas. Often seen in the Kalahari and Namib deserts. Most commonly seen in: Samburu-Isiolo GR, Sibiloi, Meru and Tsave NP, Kenya; Kalahari-Gemsbok NP, Central Kalahari GR, Botswana; Etosha NP, Namibia.

Habitat
The gemsbok has adapted to many places that most large mammals are unable to live in. Ranging on high sand dunes and mountains, gemsboks are considered grazers/browsers and therefore survive on only tough dry grasses, supplimented with foliage. Gemsboks will drink water when available, but can survive on only water-storing fruits and vegetables. Gemsboks can endure temperatures ranging from 99* F to 113* F (45* C).

Activity
Diurnal and nocturnal. During drought conditions, gemsboks avoid activity during the day and only feed at night or early in the morning. This is when water-saturated plants can easily be found.


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Social System
Gemsboks form large mixed herds in which both sexes are ranked on the basis of age and dominant characteristics. Typically, one or two bulls accompany herds of 75 members or more during the mating season. Normally, however, herds contain about 14 members. If water and food are abundant, 11 to 28% of these members are males.

Ranges vary depending on location and sex of gemsbok. Males in Botswana, for example, have been noted to live year-round in ranges of 3.0 to 6 sq mi (10-16 sq km). Females, however, often circulate within 49 sq mi (127 sq km) ranges. Nomadic females typically travel 1 mi (1.6 km) a day while males only travel about 0.6 mi (1 km) daily.

Reproduction
The gestation period for the gemsbok is 8.5 months. Since most gemsboks live in dry climates, breeding year-round is typical. Females are capable of conceiving by the age of 2 and males mature by 5 years of age.

Predators
Lion, spotted hyena, and leopard.



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