Sunday, October 3, 2010

About the South African Oryx

The gemsbok is a large African antelope, of the Oryx genus. The name is derived from the Dutch name of the male chamois, gemsbok. Although there are some superficial similarities in appearance (especially in the colour of the face area), the chamois and the oryx are not closely related.

Gemsbok are light brownish-grey to tan in colour, with lighter patches to the bottom rear of the rump. Their tails are long and black in colour. A dark brown stripe extends from the chin down the bottom edge of the neck through the join of the shoulder and leg along the lower flank of each side to the brown section of the rear leg. They have muscular necks and shoulders and their legs have white 'socks' with a black patch on the front of both the front legs and both genders have long straight horns. Gemsbok live in herds of about 10-40 animals, which consist of a dominant male, a few non-dominant males, and females. Gemsbok are about 1.4 metres (4 ft 7 in) at the shoulder, and males can weigh between 230–250 kilograms (510–550 lb) while females weigh 200–210 kilograms (440–460 lb). They can reach running speeds of up to 56 kilometres per hour (35 mph).