Oryx Facts

Oryx Facts
Oryx is a type of antelope. There are four species of oryx. One species is extinct in the wild due to extensive hunt, but there are still few animals living in captivity (such as zoo). Oryx can be found in eastern and southern parts of Africa, in Oman and Jordan. They live in dry, arid or semiarid areas such as deserts, savannas and steppes.
Interesting Oryx Facts:
Oryx is a large antelope. It reaches 5 to 7 feet in length; 18 to 35 inches in height at the shoulder and weight between 220 to 450 pounds, depending on the species.
Oryx is easily recognized by horse-like neck with mane, white head covered with black triangular patches and long V-shaped horns that can be straight or swept back. Females have thinner horns than males. Horns are usually 2 to 3 feet long.
Oryx is territorial animal which uses its horns to establish dominance in the herd. Dominant male uses its dung to mark the territory.
Oryx lives in herds whose size depends on the available food. When the food is abundantly present (after the rainy season), oryx can be found in herds composed of couple of hundreds of animals. During dry season, when the food is scarce, oryx lives in small herds composed of less than 30 animals.
Oryx is an herbivore which prefers eating grass and thorny shrubs. They eat during the morning and in the late afternoon, when the temperature is lower.
Oryx can survive long period without water (even couple of weeks). Also, certain plants, such as wild melon, underground roots and tuber, can provide enough moisture.
Oryx has unique mechanism which helps it survive in the arid and desert conditions where the temperatures are high most of the time. Unlike other mammals, oryx can rise its body temperature to prevent perspiration and loss of body-water during the day. It also uses specific network of capillaries in the nose to cool down the blood that is traveling to the brain. Cooling of the blood prevents over-heating of the brain.
Oryx has excellent sense of smell. It can detect rainfall 50 miles away. Once the rainfall is detected, whole herd is on the move.
Just like other antelopes, oryx uses its speed to avoid predators. It can reach the speed of 37 miles per hour.
When faced with direct threats, animals in the herd stand sideways to appear larger. If that does not scare the predators - oryx will use its long horns for self-defense.
Typical predators of the oryx are lions, wild dogs and hyenas.
Oryx mates throughout the whole year. As soon as pregnancy ends, female can mate again.
Pregnancy lasts 8 and the half months. Calf can run as soon as it is born, but it stays hidden in the grass for the first couple of weeks of its life, until characteristic body coloration appears.
Young oryx feeds on milk between 6 and 9 months. Oryx reaches sexual maturity at the age of two years. At that time, young males usually leave their herd and join some other.
Oryx lives 20 years both in the captivity and in the wild (if the environmental conditions are good).

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