Nubian ibex

Newborns are fully developed and capable of running and jumping within a day after their birth

Ph.D Netzach Farbiash

The Nubian ibex, a species distinguished by its grace and agility, thrives in the rugged terrains of Northeast Africa and the Middle East. This remarkable creature, with its light tan coat and contrasting white underside, embodies the essence of survival in some of the planet’s most inhospitable environments. The males, adorned with dark brown stripes running down their backs, command attention, but the species’ distinctive long, thin horns genuinely set it apart. These horns, arching upwards before curving gracefully backward and downwards, are not just a striking visual hallmark but also a testament to the Nubian ibex’s place in the natural world. While males boast horns that can reach lengths of up to 1 meter (3.28 feet), providing a formidable tool for defense and dominance, females possess smaller horns, averaging around 20 centimeters (12 inches), reflecting the differences in their roles within the species.

As herbivores, Nubian ibexes maintain a diet consisting primarily of leaves and grasses, supplemented by shrubs, herbs, buds, and fruits. This dietary flexibility allows them to navigate the challenges of their arid habitats, where food sources can be scarce and sporadic. Their feeding patterns are intricately adapted to the harsh conditions they endure. Predominantly nocturnal feeders, they take advantage of the cooler night temperatures to forage, minimizing their exposure to the relentless heat of the day. This behavior not only aids in their quest for sustenance but also in their management of water loss, a critical concern in their dry environments.

The Nubian ibex’s daily rhythms are a study in adaptation. During the day, when the sun’s rays are most unforgiving, these animals seek refuge in shaded areas, resting and ruminating away from the heat. This activity pattern conserves energy and protects them from potential predators and the harsh climatic conditions that characterize their habitats.

Distribution

Country
Population est.
Status
Year
Comments
Egypt
600 – 1,250
Official estimate
VU
2020
Eritrea
2020
Presence Uncertain
Ethiopia
2020
Presence Uncertain
Israel
600
Official estimate
VU
2020
Jordan
480 – 600
Official estimate
VU
2020
Lebanon
19
Official estimate
VU
2020
Reintroduction in Progress
Oman
700 – 1,350
Official estimate
VU
2020
Saudi Arabia
VU
2020
Sudan
2020
Syria
2020
Reintroduced
Yemen
2020

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Terrestrial / Aquatic

Altricial / Precocial

Polygamous / Monogamous

Dimorphic (size) / Monomorphic

Active: Diurnal / Nocturnal

Social behavior: Solitary / Pack / Herd

Diet: Carnivore / Herbivore / Omnivore / Piscivorous / Insectivore

Migratory: Yes / No

Domesticated: Yes / No

Dangerous: Yes / No

Nubian ibex on banknotes

Ethiopia 200 Birr (2012)