Mike Unwin
United Kingdom UK
Jun 4, 2014 June 4, 2014

Mike is an award winning wildlife writer, editor of Travel Zambia magazine and author of the Bradt Guide to Southern African Wildlife.

Categories: African Wildlife, Mammals

Klipspringer (Oreotragus oreotragus)

This antelope’s name is Afrikaans for ‘rock jumper.’ And the Klipspringer certainly lives up to this description, leaping around among cliffs and rocky outcrops like a mountain goat. A typical view will be of one individual standing stock-still on top of a rock. Look closer and you will invariably spot its mate nearby. 

5 Fascinating Facts

This small antelope is found in East Africa and South Africa. More of a browser than a grazer, the Klipspringer enjoys fruits, flowers and young plants. It's also an avid, not to mention agile, rock climber. So, what do we know about the Klipspringer?

  1. A klipspringer’s stocky build is due to the thick, coarse fur that cushions and insulates its body. This fur was once much in demand for stuffing saddlebags and led to heavy persecution, particularly in South Africa.
  2. A klipspringer’s hooves are cylindrical and downward-pointing, giving it a tiptoe walk and provide an amazing sure-footed agility on the rocks.
  3. Klipspringers form life-long pairs, each marking out a small territory, where one browses while its mate acts as sentry. If one partner spots danger it gives a piercing whistle – followed almost immediately by its mate’s. Then both will usually bound away a short distance.
  4. A klipspringer’s chief predators are those animals that have the ability to ambush and pursue them on rocky hillsides, namely leopards, caracals. And, from the air, the  black eagles.
  5. In southern Africa, only male klipspringers have horns. In parts of east Africa, however, horns are present in both sexes. This is possibly because these populations experience greater competitive interactions.

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