Gerenuk Facts

Gerenuk Facts
Gerenuk is a type of antelope that belongs to the bovid family. There are two subspecies of gerenuk that can be found in the eastern parts of Africa. Gerenuk inhabits semi-arid areas, deserts and dry bushy savannas. Number of gerenuks in the wild is dropping due to uncontrolled hunting and habitat destruction (as a result of accelerated development of agriculture and overgrazing). Gerenuk is classified as near threatened, which means that it can become endangered in the near future.
Interesting Gerenuk Facts:
Gerenuk can reach 55 to 63 inches in length and 64 to 114 pounds of weigh. Males are larger than females.
Gerenuk has reddish-brown hairs on the back and yellowish-brown hairs on the sides. Bottom parts of the body are covered with white hairs.
Gerenuk has small, wedge-shaped head with large eyes, long ears and small, pointed muzzle. It has long, slender neck, long legs and short, black-colored tail.
Name "gerenuk" is Somali word which means "giraffe-necked". Name refers to disproportionally long and skinny neck of this animal.
Males are equipped with short, ringed, backward curved, S-shaped horns.
Gerenuk is diurnal animal (active during the day). It is mostly active early in the morning and late in the afternoon. It hides in the shade during the hottest part of a day.
Gerenuk is herbivore (plant-eater). Its diet is based on leaves, shoots, flowers and vines. Since it inhabits dry habitats, gerenuk extracts all the moisture it needs from the food.
Gerenuk feeds while it stands on the hind feet. It erects the body to grab leaves from the branches that can be 8 feet away from the ground. Specially modified vertebrae in the spine ensure stability when gerenuk stands on two legs.
Main predators of gerenuks are leopards, lions, cheetahs, jackals and wild dogs.
Gerenuk lives in small groups composed of animals of only one gender.
Males use glands between their eyes to mark their territories and females during the courtship. They aggressively defend their territories and use horns to defeat other, competing males. Bony base of horns prevents serious injuries of head and brain during the fight.
Gerenuk can mate all year round. Females are ready to reproduce shortly after they give birth.
Pregnancy in females lasts 6.5 to 7 months and ends with one baby. Fawn spends first few days of its life hidden in the vegetation. It becomes ready to join the herd with its mother usually at the age of 2 weeks.
At the age of 2 weeks, young gerenuk starts to learn how to feed on two legs (bipedally). It becomes proficient in just one month. Gerenuks reach sexual maturity at the age of 1 (females) to 1.5 (males) years.
Gerenuk can survive 8 years in the wild and up to 13 years in the captivity.

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