SPRINGBOK FACT FILE

13 March 2015 by Wildlife South Africa


SPRINGBOK FACT FILE
Latin Name: Antidorcas marsupialis
Afrikaans: Springbok
 
Distribution in South Africa
 
Springbok are widely distributed throughout South Africa and is also the National Animal of South Africa.
 
There are no Springbok in the Kruger National Park, but Springbok can be found in a number of national parks especially in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park where they have occurred naturally for hundreds of years.
 
Due to game farming, breeding and selling, they are widely distributed on game farms throughout South Africa, even in area where they have never occurred naturally.  
 
 
Habitat
 
Traditionally they prefer the colder inland plato, Karoo and especially the Kalahari region with shrub, bush, open short grassveld and shrubveld, as well as open arid plains. Springbok is very adaptable and they have shown that they readily adapt to most habitats.
 
Habits
 
They are highly gregarious and move around in large herds. In previous times they used to trek in herds of thousands. Herds consist of rams and ewes with young lambs and sub adults and bachelor herds (young and old rams). Territorial rams will try and keep herds of ewes in breeding season and defend them against other rams until they move on away from one ram’s territory to graze in another ram’s territory.
 
Day or night
 
Mainly active by day but in some areas also at night.
 
Difference between male and female
 
Horns of the ram are clearly much larger and thicker especially towards the base. The horns of the ram also have more of a curve inwards than those of ewes. Rams are also a heavier and more robustly built.
 
Mass
 
Male (Ram): Can weigh up to about 41 Kilograms
Female (Ewe): Can weigh up to about 37 Kilograms
 
Breeding
 
Lambs are born mainly in summer and during the rainy season, from November to February in the northern parts of the country and some during July in Cape areas, but it could often be any time of the year depending on the area or region, availability and supply of food and climate. Newly born lambs are hidden away for a few days under tall grass or shrubs.
 
 
Gestation period
 
About 24 weeks (168 days)
 
Lifespan
 
Up to 10 years
 
Diet / Food and water
 
They are not water dependent, but will readily drink water when available. Although they are mainly grazers, preferring short grass, they will also eat herbal shrubs and bushes, leaves and seed pods (of especially camel thorn trees in the Kalahari area), as well as wild fruits young shoots.
 
Enemies
 
Lion, Leopard, Cheetah, Hyena, African Wild dog, Jackal, Caracal, Humans.
 
Interesting Facts
 
The Springbok is one of South Africa’s most successful game farm animals to breed.
 
There are some Springbok that are totally black or totally white. The value of these animals is quite substantial in the private market for trophy hunting.
 
Traditionally Springbok is one of the top 5 most favorite antelope species hunted by local hunters and is sought after for the tender and tasteful meat as well as for their biltong.
 
When disturbed, Springbok commence running and bound and leap (repeatedly) into the air with stiff extended legs, with the males or rams raising the hairs of the dorsal crest extending from the back to the tail (the rams). These bounds may reach 2 to 3 meters and this leaping is known as “pronking”. This “pronking” could also be seen when the rams are rutting and defending their territories and female herds against other rams with the intention to impress the females or ewes.
 
Since the turn of the last century, the Springbok has been and still is the national emblem of the South African Rugby team. The King Protea (South Africa’s National Flower) has been added to the badge during the 1990’s.