Klipspringer in exhibit

Klipspringer

Scientific Name

Oreotragus oreotragus

Geographic Range

Sub-Saharan Africa

Diet

Fruit and flowers (less frequent: leaves and lichen)
Klipspringer in exhibit
IUCN Conservation Status: LEAST CONCERN IUCN Conservation Status: LEAST CONCERN

About This Animal

Klipspringers are a small horned antelope species, standing 20 inches at the shoulder and weighing 40 or fewer pounds. They are often gray, brown, yellow, or olive green in color, with hollow hairs. Klipspringers have scent glands in front of their eyes that excrete a gooey substance they use to mark territory. On their legs, the last joint is rotated so these sturdy little antelopes walk on the tips of their hooves. These hooves are the size of a dime and have a slight suction-cup effect. The klipspringer name is derived from the words for “cliff-jumper” in Afrikaans.

These animals spend their days on rocky terrain in arid environments like kopjes, up to 13,000 feet above sea level. They are most active in early morning and late afternoon, resting during the hottest parts of the day. Although very agile, klipspringers remain completely still for long periods of time—probably watching for predators.

Klipspringers are mostly solitary and form monogamous pairs that may include one young offspring. Breeding differs in the up to 11 subspecies of klipspringers; some have strong courtships and breed seasonally, while others wait for favorable conditions. They do not build nests or dens, but following birth after a gestation of six months, young klipspringers stay hidden for the first few months of life.

In general, populations of klipspringers are stable; around 25 percent of their range falls within protected areas, and their mountainous habitats are not considered valuable to humans. However, some subpopulations may be decreasing.

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