Antelope (a subfamily of the cow family Bovidae) run with a peculiar bounding stride that makes them appear to be bouncing. All antelope have horns, though in some species only the male is horned. Unlike deer, antelope do not shed their horns. Some species’ horns twist in spirals, others have ridges, and yet others grow in wide curves ending in a sharp point.
Antelope species can be found in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. Nilgai and four-horned antelopes live in India. From Africa come the kudu, sitatunga, bushbuck, bongo, eland, reebok, reedbuck, waterbuck, duiker, gnu, impala, hartebeest, and a number of varieties of dwarf antelope. The sable antelope, roan antelope, oryx, addax are known as horse antelopes and live in Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. Gazelles live in Africa and Asia. From Central Asia come the saiga and the chiru, also known as the Tibetan antelope.
The Pronghorn Antelope in North America is not considered a true antelope and even comes from another family (Antilocapridae).
Antelopes range in size from the royal antelope, which stands about 10 inches (25 cm) high at the shoulder, to the eland, which is about 70 inches (1.78 m). The former weights about 7 to 8 lbs (3.2 to 3.6 kg) and the latter 1,300 to 1,500 lbs (590 to 680 kg). Antelope hooves are split down the middle, dividing the hoof into two “toes.” Different species have differently shaped hooves.
Fun Antelope Facts
- The largest population of pronghorns lives in Wyoming.
- The eland is the world's largest and slowest antelope. However, it can jump an 8 foot fence from a standstill.
- Some antelope horns can grow to almost 5 ft (1.5 m) long.
- The saiga from Asia has a distinctive trunk-like muzzle, with downward-pointing nostrils.
- The only antelope known to become extinct is the South African blue buck, which disappeared around 1800.
- There are about 90 species of antelope.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia
San Diego Zoo