Gerenuks gazelle on the African savannah. By kyslynskahal | Shutterstock.com
Gerenuks gazelle on the African savannah. By kyslynskahal | Shutterstock.com

About the gerenuk.

“Gerenuk” means “Giraffe Necked” in the language of Somalia, which is where this species comes from.


Unlike females, males have horns that show multiple rings and a more muscular and robust neck. They are also generally a little larger.


The head of a gerenuk is small in comparison to its body, but its eyes and ears are not, which makes them look proportionally quite large.


These animals live in groups of females and their young or groups made of “single” males. There are also solitary males that are more territorial.


This species is an example of adaptation to the surrounding environment. They can stand vertically on their hind legs and obtain medium-height vegetation with their long neck, out of reach for other gazelles or antelopes.


The gerenuk can live without drinking water. They obtain their moisture from the vegetation, fruit and shoots they eat.


These animals have glands in the front of their eyes that emit a substance similar to tar, with a strong scent, that they use to mark their territory.


Despite being an almost threatened species, these animals have key reproductive advantages: births occur throughout the year, they are very social animals and they don’t need water to survive. This makes them perfect candidates for breeding.


After giving birth, females lick their babies clean and eat the placenta. They also clean them after feeding them milk. They do it to take away any scent that could attract predators.


Fragmentation and habitat loss are the main reasons behind gerenuk’s decline in population.


Its main predators are leopards, lions, jackals and wild dogs.


Gerenuk babies are able to walk shortly after they are born and they start to stand up on their hind legs to eat when they are only two weeks old.

Gerenuk standing upright to reach leaves, National park of Kenya, Africa. By Volodymyr Burdiak | Shutterstock.com
Gerenuk standing upright to reach leaves, National park of Kenya, Africa. By Volodymyr Burdiak | Shutterstock.com
COMMON NAMECONSERVATION STATUS
Gerenuk or giraffe gazelleNear threatened
SCIENTIFIC NAMESIZE
Litocranius walleri140-160 cm (55-63 in)
FAMILYWEIGHT
Bovidae28-52 kg (62-115 lb)
ORDERLIFESPAN
Artiodactyla8-13 years
CLASSGESTATION PERIOD
Mammalia7 months
POPULATIONDIET
95,000 individualsFoliage of medium-height bushes.
HABITATRANGE
They inhabit semi-arid areas with woody vegetation and brush.It is found in the Horn of Africa and the African Great Lakes region.

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