Gemsbok Facts

Gemsbok Facts
Gemsbok is large antelope that belongs to the bovid family. It can be found in south-west Africa. Gemsbok inhabits wooded savannas, open grasslands, sand dunes, semi-deserts and rocky areas. It is adapted to the life in hot, arid areas with temperature of up to 45 degrees of Celsius. Gemsbok is on a target of many hunters because of its horns. Habitat destruction due to increased human activity and overgrazing negatively affects survival of gemsboks in the wild. Despite these factors, gemsboks are not on the list of endangered species.
Interesting Gemsbok Facts:
Gemsbok can reach 75 to 94 inches in length, 48 inches in height and 220 to 460 pounds of weight.
Gemsbok has light yellowish-brown body with prominent black and white markings on the face and legs and black stripe on lateral sides of the body. Belly is white colored.
Gemsbok has short, muscular neck with mane, strong body and horse-like, black tail.
Both males and females have straight, nearly parallel, lance-shaped horns that can reach 30 inches in length. Males have shorter, but stockier horns than females. Horns provide protection against large predators and play important role in ritual fights between males.
Gemsbok is active during the night (nocturnal animal), when temperature drops for several degrees. It rests in the shade during the day.
Gemsbok is herbivore (plant-eater). Its diet is based on seedpods, fruit (such as melon), tuber, bulbs, roots and grass.
Gemsbok extracts water from fruit and vegetables. It increases body temperature for couple of degrees during extremely hot days and produces concentrated urine to reduce loss of body water.
Main predators of gemsboks are lions, leopards, cheetahs, hyenas and wild dogs.
At the age of 5 to 6 years, males become territorial. They occupy territory of around 10 square miles and mark it with dung.
Males use horns to chase away intruders from their territory. Thick skin on the neck and shoulders prevents serious injuries during the fight.
Gemsbok lives in herds of 10 to 40 animals. Herds consist of one dominant male and numerous females and immature males. Large herds (made of few hundred animals) can be seen when food (fresh grass) is abundant.
Gemsboks can mate all year round. Males detect receptive females via sense of smell.
Pregnancy in females lasts 240 to 285 days and ends with one baby (calf). Baby hides in dense grass during the day and follows its mother during the night. Mother often translocates her baby from one location to another, to avoid predators.
At the age of 6 weeks, calf is ready to join the herd. By that time, its horns have already appeared, which explains popular (but false) story that gemsboks are born with horns. Young gemsbok depends on the mother's milk until the age of 6 months.
Gemsbok can survive around 20 years in the wild.

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