Impala: Aepyceros melampus
The impala a unique antelope and does not have any close relatives. A graceful, slender build and long neck are characteristic.
Weight and Height
male: wt 117-167 lb (53-76 kg), ht 30-36 in (75-92 cm)
female: wt 88-117 lb (40-53 kg), ht 28-34 in (70-85 cm)
S-shaped and wide-set, found in males only; typically 18 to 37 in (45-91.7 cm), strongly ridged, but very thin compared to most horned animals.
Smooth and shiny
two-toned: reddish-brown back and tan torso; white belly, throat, lip, line over eye, inside ear, and tail. Black stripe down tail and on tip of ear.
The impala can be found from central Kenya and Rwanda to northern Natal, Namibia and Angola, which is considered a savanna region.
Impalas can be seen in the following national parks and reserves: Samburu GR, Nairobi Park, Masai Mara NR, Kenya; Serengeti, Tarangire, and Manyara NP, Tanzania; Hwange NP, Zimbabwe; Chobe NP, Moremi GR, Botswana; Kruger NP, Umfolozi and Mkuzi GR, South Africa.
Impalas prefer short grasslands that border open woodlands. Most of these areas have a well-drained soil, which provides a firm footing. Impala are water-independent, but do typically live near water in spite of the fact that they do not need to drink very often. When grasses are dry, impalas will browse for herbs, shoots, foliage and seedpods, but when the grasses are growing impalas will graze only on grass.
Impalas are nocturnal and diurnal, but are primarily diurnal. Most impalas spend nights resting in open areas and then feed between midnight and 3 or 4 am. Impalas are fairly active on moonlit nights, but social activity and feeding peaks early and late in the day.
Impalas are strictly territorial animals and only the landlords can reproduce. Most herds consist of 50 to 100 members, 6 to 20 of which are females and young.
In Zimbabwe, for example, a herd of 443 impalas was discovered and then studied intensively. It was found that females live in separate clans of 30 to 120 members and graze on 195 to 445 acre (80-180 ha) home ranges.
Territory size varies depending on season, habitat quality, location, and population density. During the mating season, for example, home ranges have about 129-176 impalas/sq mile (50-68/sq km).
The southern impala has a 3-week rut, brought on by the full moon, at the end of the rainy season. The East African impala, however, has a more extended breeding period with most females conceiving late in the rainy season.
Females can conceive at 1.5 years and males mature by the age of 4. The gestation period is 194 to 200 days.
Impalas are vulnerable to almost all large predators.