Fun Facts About Gazelles
Known for their remarkable speed and grace, gazelles are a type of antelope. There are more than 19 species of gazelles mostly inhabiting Africa, Central and Southwest Asia. Gazelles are small creatures with reddish or tawny-colored bodies, white underbellies, a short tail and large, ringed horns. They stand about 20 to 43 inches tall (51 to 109 cm) and weigh 26 to 160 pounds (12 to 75 kg). They live about 10 - 12 years in the wild.
A herd of gazelle can contain anywhere from 10 to hundreds of the animals. Gazelles are a major food source for predators and rely on their speed to escape. Although it has large horns, a gazelle prefers to run and leap away when it's being chased. Gazelles can reach speeds up to 60 mph in short bursts and sustain speeds of 30 to 40 mph.
When running, gazelles use a "pronking" or "stotting" technique that involves stiffly springing into the air by lifting all four feet off the ground. Scientists say that while the method usually slows the animal down while running it may be a way to tease or boast to others.
Other facts about gazelles
Their impressive coloring and horns make the gazelle a prized game animal.
Gazelles graze almost constantly but have very little need for water. They are able to extract moisture from the shoots, grasses and leaves they eat.
Grant's gazelle is one of the most common types of the animal. They have a broad white patch on their rump and roam the grasslands of East Africa.
Another common type of African gazelle is the Thompson's gazelle. These animals are much smaller than Grant's gazelle and are easily distinguished by a thick, black stripe on its side.
Gazelles are known for being gentle creatures. The name gazelle comes from the Arabic “gazal,” the term for love poems.
Male gazelles sometimes clash and lock horns to try to throw each other off- balance in a show of dominance.
A gazelle will flick its tails or stomp its feet to warn others of a lurking predator.
A mother gazelle will hide its newborn calf in tall grasses for several weeks after it's born.
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