The Impala (Aepyceros Melampusis) is an African antelope, who lives close to water in grassland and near woodlands. Impalas are grazers and browsers. In the wet season they eat young grass shoots. Other times they eat herbs and shrubs. When available, impalas will eat acacia pods and fruit.
Impalas are reddish-brown with white and black markings. Ears, eyes, chin, throat, belly and buttocks are white. From the middle of the lower back to the tail and on the back of each thigh, they have black stripes. On each hind leg above the heel, impalas also have tufts of black hair that cover a scent gland.
Male impalas weigh 117 to 167 pounds and are 30-36 inches high, while females are only 88 to 117 pounds and 28 to 34 inches high. Males warn the herd with a loud, deep-throated raspy “bark.” Herds offer protection from predators.
During mating season, dominant males form harems with the females. The young bachelor males are forced out into their own small herds. Once mating season is over, these herds will intermingle again. Usually only a single impala baby is born.
Fun Impala Facts
- The female impala does not have horns. The male has lyre or S-shaped horns 18 to 37 inches long, which are very thin compared to most horned animals.
- Impalas are both nocturnal and diurnal, although they are more active during the day.
- They are the most common antelope in South Africa.
- Impala young often fall prey to pythons, although any big carnivore is a danger to impalas.
- Known for their leaps, impala can jump about 10 feet high and when running, about 33 feet ahead!
- Impala are an endangered species.
African Wildlife Foundation
BBC Science and Nature
Kruger National Park
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