Springbok

The national animal of South Africa and even lend their name to a South African rugby team

Yathin S Krishnappa

The springbok is one of Africa’s most recognized antelopes and a symbol of resilience and beauty in the animal kingdom. Native to the southern part of the continent, particularly in countries like South Africa, Namibia, and Botswana, it is celebrated for its incredible agility and vibrant presence on the savannah.

Springboks are medium-sized antelopes with a distinctive appearance. They typically stand about 75 cm tall at the shoulder and weigh between 30 and 50 kilograms. Their coats are a glossy tan or cinnamon color, with a dark brown stripe running from the top of the head down the flank, and a white underbelly. They also feature a unique pocket of skin on their backs which can be opened to display a white crest when they are excited or threatened, a display known as “pronking.”

They prefer open, arid areas and are found in the grasslands and semi-desert regions of southern Africa. They are highly adaptable and can survive in harsh environments thanks to their ability to derive moisture from the food they eat, reducing their need for water. This adaptation allows them to thrive in areas where water is scarce, making them a common sight in both national parks and the vast, open plains.

Springboks are primarily grazers, feeding on grasses, but they can switch to browsing on shrubs and leaves when food is scarce. Their diet flexibility helps them survive the seasonal changes in their arid habitats. Springboks are also known for their remarkable jumping ability – they can leap up to 4 m (13 ft) in the air and run at speeds of up to 90 km/h (56 mph). 

Distribution

Country
Population est.
Status
Year
Comments
Angola
10,000
2016
Botswana
40,000
2016
Lesotho
2016
Presence Uncertain
Namibia
730,000
2016
South Africa
670,000
2016

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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