Facts About Gemsbok

5 Fascinating Facts About Gemsbok (Oryx Gazelle)

Planning a safari in Africa? Include Gemsbok in your wildlife list. Here, we give you 5 fascinating facts about Gemsbok (Oryx Gazelle). They are large antelopes with an attractive look. Tourists love seeing these animals while on safari. Just ensure that you don’t get too close while watching them. They are wild animals. You never know what could happen next. For your safety, watch them from a distance.

About Gemsbok

An Oryx is a large antelope. There are 4 species of Oryx including the Arabian and gemsbok. The Gemsbok is also known as the Oryx Gazelle. It is the largest of the 4 species. They have muscular bodies, thick necks, and short manes. They have black and white markings on their face. 

Gemsbok diet

The Gemsbok diet consists of thorny shrubs and grasses. In the desert, they eat wild melons, tubers, roots, and other plants. When it is hot, some plants collect water. Some plants can increase water content by up to 40%. So, they serve as sources of food and water.

Gemsbok weight

Gemsbok stands tall. They are about 4 feet and 7 inches. They weigh about 230 to 250 kg. Females are smaller. They weigh between 200 and 210 kg.

Where do gemsbok live?

Gemsboks live in brushlands, scrublands, and deserts. They may inhabit open and arid areas or open grasslands. You can spot them in several countries in Africa. You can see them in Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania.

5 fascinating facts about Gemsbok (Oryx Gazelle)

  • They have long horns

This is one of the 5 fascinating facts about Gemsbok (Oryx Gazelle). Both males and females have horns. This makes them almost identical. These horns are sharp, pointed, and long. Female horns are slender and longer. Male horns are thick and shorter. They can be as long as 33 inches.

  • They calve in private

Gemsbok breeds in any season. They give birth at any time of the year. The gestation period is 9 months. At 5 years, males are ready for breeding. Females are sexually mature as young as 2 years. The mother hides the calf in the grass for 2 to 3 weeks. This is different from other antelopes. Other species travel with young ones almost immediately after birth.

Gemsbok visits the baby often to nurse it. Babies suckle for 6 to 9 months. At birth, the babies are brown. They don’t have black-and-white markings on their face. The markings appear when the baby is ready to join the herd.

  • They are social animals

This is one of the 5 fascinating facts about Gemsbok (Oryx Gazelle). They live in herds. A herd can have two or more members. But you can see them in smaller groups. This is common during dry seasons. They split to search for food.

During the rainy season, they are seen in larger groups. You can spot a herd with over 300 members. A territorial male leads the herd. He uses dung to mark his territory. Conflicts occur when an intruder visits their territory. Body bashing and horn clashing are common. Babies engage in games to test their strengths. Where the hierarchy is clear, conflicts become rare. 

Herds are not afraid of large animals. They can kill a lion. Don’t expect them to run away from large predators. But they can run fast. They can outrun horses.

  • They do not need a lot of water

Gemsbok prefers deserts. They have adapted to such areas. They do not drink a lot of water. Most grazers cannot survive in the desert. They can only do so during rainy seasons. Gemsbok can survive longer without drinking water. They tend to rely on moisture from plants such as desert melons. They also have a low metabolism. So, they can survive for a long with minimal water.

  • They survive even in the harshest conditions

During dry seasons, they reduce water loss that occurs through sweat. They allow the body temperature to rise to 45°C. At night, they dispel the stored heat. Blood vessels in their noses avert overheating. The network of vessels cools down the blood being supplied to the brain. This process protects them from deadly temperatures.

Threats To The Gemsbok Survival

Humans are their main threat. Local communities love Gemsbok meat. They hunt large animals for meat. They also use the horns to make spears. Humans have led to the loss of habitat. Gemsbok loses their habitats to roads, homes, and agriculture.

Several measures are being taken to protect the Oryx.  Governments are setting aside space for wildlife. So, you can spot Gemsbok in protected areas. Conservancies are also being built to protect various wild animals.

Africa is great for wildlife viewing. You can see most of the animals you see in films. You can see the Big Five in their natural habitat. You can see smaller animals such as gazelles, ostriches, wild dogs, and Gemsbok among others. But you may not see all these animals in one place. When planning a safari, make a list of the animals you want to see. Then, research where you can spot those animals. We can help you identify the top destinations to find each animal. We are experts in African safari tours. We can give you any info on wildlife. We can also help you book your safari.

In this article, we have provided 5 fascinating facts about Gemsbok (Oryx Gazelle). Contact us for any help.