What are antelopes?
Antelopes are a large group of four-legged mammals that live in Africa, Europe, and Asia. The antelopes are even-toed mammals from the same family as bovines, sheep, or goats, but with different characteristics.
The word ‘antelope’ is an example of something called wastebasket taxon, which means that it is a word that classifies animals that do not fit into any other similar group.
There are 91 species of antelopes.
Where do antelopes live?
Out of the many species of antelope, most of them can be seen in Africa. They can be found in mountains, grasslands, deserts, or savannahs.
Antelope adaptations depend on their habitat, including their horns, legs, and hooves. For example, antelopes in flat areas have flat claws, while antelopes in rocky or mountainous areas have feet adapted for climbing.
No antelope species are native to Australasia, Antarctica, North America, or South America. However, there are some found in North America as they have been imported to be used in hunting sports.
What do antelopes eat?
Antelopes are grazing herbivores, which means they eat just plants, mainly grass, mulch, or leaves. Some antelope can stand on their back legs and reach up into trees for food, while others live in grasslands, where there is plenty of food for them to eat. As they are herbivores, Antelopes have specially adapted teeth for chewing plants.
How do antelopes protect themselves?
Antelopes have many predators, such as lions, leopards, hyenas, cheetahs, crocodiles, and even pythons! Antelopes have adapted to be able to run extremely fast to escape their predators, and they can also use their long horns for defense. Many Antelopes will gather in large groups, called herds, for protection and can alert each other to danger.
Some species of antelope, such as the Springbok, can bounce on their springy legs to indicate that they are frightened, alerting others to danger and causing them to flee. Other antelope species, such as the Wildebeest, can protect themselves from predators by kicking with their strong back legs.
Are antelopes the same as deer?
Antelopes are not the same as deer. Deer can be found in many places worldwide and can live in colder climates, whereas Antelopes are native to Africa and Eurasia and generally live in warmer temperatures. Antelope antlers are pointed, while Deer antlers branch out. Also, Antelope antlers grow continuously throughout their lives, while Deer antlers are shed yearly and regrow afterward.
Top 10 Antelopes Facts for Kids:
- The horns of an antelope can be straight, short, spiraled, curved, or pointed, depending on the species.
- Some species of antelope have four horns instead of two; these are called Four-horned Antelopes.
- The Impala, an antelope species, is the second-fastest mammal after the cheetah.
- Antelopes have a highly developed sense of hearing to detect predators.
- Antelopes in Africa sometimes follow zebras around to find good grass to eat.
- Some antelopes, like Wildebeest, migrate in groups of thousands.
- Antelopes make many sounds, such as a moo sound like a cow or a bark like a small dog.
- All antelopes have two toes because they are even-toed mammals.
- Antelopes follow the rains to find fresh grass to eat.
- All gazelles are antelopes, but not all antelopes are gazelles.