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bovid family
bovid family
other herbivores

wildlife (back to intro)

in this section
Blue Duiker
Gazelle tribe
Thomson's gazelle
Grant's gazelle
Kob antelope
Sable antelope
Oryx or Gemsbok
Topi or Tsessebe
Common Wildebeest
Greater Kudu
Common eland
African or Cape buffalo
Sable Antelope: Hippotragus niger

One of the most handsome antelope species found in Africa. The sable has a powerful build, compact body, and sturdy legs.


Weight and Height
males: wt 517 lb (235 kg), ht 46-56 in (117-140 cm)
females: wt 484 lb (220 kg), ht 46-56 in (117-140 cm)

males: 32-65 in (80-165 cm); massive and curved
females: 24-40 in (60-100 cm)

Short and glossy

Females are usually sorrel to chestnut colored, while males turn black with age. White above eyes and muzzle is divided by dark cheek stripe, white belly and rump.

General Locations
Southern Savanna, specifically Southern Kenya, Eastern Tanzania, and Mozambique to Angola and Southern Zaire. This region is known as the Miombo Woodland Zone. Sable antelope can be seen in the following national parks: Shimba Hills NR, Kenga; Ruaha NP, Selous GR, Tanzania; Kfue and Mweru Wantipa NP, Zambia; Matetsi Safari Area, Hwange, Zambezi and Kazuma Pan NP, Zimbabwe; Kruger NP, South Africa.

The sable antelope's preferred habitat combines savanna woodlands and grasslands during the dry season. Floodplain grasslands produce new growth after annual fires during dry season. Sables are considered grazers and feed on grasses, herbs, and foliage. Most sables must drink water every day or two and also visit salt licks on a regular basis.

Both diurnal and nocturnal. Most sables travel around 1/2 mi (1.2 km) a day. However, during the dry season sable are very sedentary, staying on the same field for weeks at a time, only leaving for water. Sables generally graze until dark because they are vulnerable to predators during the night hours.

Social/Mating System
Herds of females typically have 15 to 25 members (30-75 males and females total) and tend to share the same home range. Home ranges are generally 4 to 10 sq mi (10-25 sq km) while specific male territories make up 1.5 to 3.5 sq mi (3.9 to 9 sq km) of the range. Female sables are very aggressive and as a result, there is a female hierarchy system based on seniority.

The gestation period is 8 to 9 months. Females conceive at 2.5 years and typically reproduce at the end of the rainy season.

Because of their size, sables have few predators. However, young fall prey to hyena and leopard.

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