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Friday, May 27, 2011

The Antelopes

Beuty Of Animlas | Of The Antelopes The eland is the largest of Kenya's antelope. Some weigh up to a ton and measure six feet tall. As large as they are, they can still jump six feet in the air. They can be distinguished by their tufted dewlap hanging down from the neck.  The greater kudu weighs around 600 pounds and is distinguished by its long spiral horns, over four feet long. Kudus have excellent hearing with ears that can turn in any direction. Long hair grows on their front from the throat down to the chest. They have six to eight white stripes on the flanks over a gray background. 
The lesser kudu is a smaller version with up to fifteen stripes, and lacks the hair on its throat seen on greater kudus. Waterbucks also have long horns over two feet with a glossy brown coat. Usually seen in small herds, a single bull may be accompanied by several cows and calves. They are identified easily by the strong musky smell they give off. The bongo is a broad, chestnut color antelope with vertical white stripes down its flanks. Their lifespan is about 12 years and they live in pairs. Bongos are rarely seen, due to their nocturnal behavior and mountain habitat. 
The topi is a common species in the Maasai Mara. They are known for standing watch on rocks and termite hills, guarding their territory. Dark patches mark their face, legs, thighs and hips. These large, reddish brown antelopes are a prime source of food for the savannah predators. Hartebeest can also be found on the plains. Although there are several species, only the Coke's hartebeest is common. 
Its characterized by humped shoulders with short horns. Males often move in groups togethor, while dominant males may have several females. Grant's gazelles can be seen moving about the open areas in groups of up to thirty. They roam constantly during the day, apparently oblivious to the intense heat. They are typically less than three feet in height and live up to 12 years, capable of living through long periods of drought. Thomson's gazelles are similar, only slightly smaller. 
The only noticeable difference from the Grant's gazelle is the white markings on its rump end below the tail. Abundant in the plains, the Thomson's gazelle moves in herds, often with other animals. Hunted by all the predators, they can jump to great heights from a standstill.  The impala is another prime source of food. Living in herds, impalas are common in Southern Kenya. They stand around 3 feet tall, distinguished by a white rump with black streaks on either side. It survives by leaping and changing course rapidly. 

Their jumps can be over ten feet high and 30 feet long. The bushbuck lives up to its name by hiding in forests and thick underbrush. Its about 3 feet tall with white markings and a short, bushy tail. It's markings provide camouflage from the leopard, which also frequents these areas. Reedbucks get there name from their habit of spending days laying in tall grasses or reeds for cover. They are only seen out as dawn or dusk. Reebucks are two and a half feet tall with a sandy color and a white belly. Below the ears is a unique bare spot. Spotting a reedbuck can be difficult, since they are shy and easily frightened. 

  Kenya has several species of antelopes only a few feet tall or less. Dik-diks are seen in pairs or small groups among the trees and thickets. They are shy and stand just over a foot tall with a gray-brown color. Only the male has horns. Oribis stand two feet tall and have a reddish-brown fur. The oribi is capable of leaping straight up in the air to see over the bushes. Klipspringers are also great jumpers. Measuring 20 to 22 inches tall their fur is a yellowish-brown color. The fur is stiff and cushions them from rocks when they land. These tiny antelope are only found in the hills. 
  Perhaps most unique of the antelopes is the gerenuk. It stands around 3 feet tall, but their necks are unusually long making it easier for them to feed on desert bushes. They have learned to stand on their hind legs, reaching the leaves higher up on trees. Putting their heads down, the gerenuk can run very fast. 
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