STEENBOK FACT FILE

by Wildlife South Africa


STEENBOK FACT FILE
Latin Name: Raphicerus campestris
Afrikaans: Steenbok
 
Distribution in South Africa
 
Steenbok in South Africa are widely distributed throughout the country and occurs in most protected areas except in certain parts of the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu–Natal.
 
Habitat
 
Steenbok prefer more open habitat like bushveld savannah and grassveld, with adjacent bush and shrub to hide in when danger lurks. They do not generally occur in thick forests or in rocky mountains.
 

 
Habits
 
Solitary except in mating season or ewes with a young lamb. They settle in territories which they will defend against intruders (other steenbok) that transgress on their territory. In the heat of day they usually lie hiding in the shade under shrubs or bushes.
 
Day or night
 
Mainly diurnal but sometimes active at night for a while.
 
Difference between male and female
 
Male (ram) and female (ewe):
Rams have horns and ewes don’t.
 
Mass
 
Male: 9 – 13 Kilograms
Female: 11 – 13 Kilograms
 
Breeding
 
Mainly in summer but could be any time of year. The lamb is hidden by the ewe for a few weeks up to a few months and she returns daily to clean the lamb and let the lamb suckle.
 
Gestation period
 
168 to 173 days - about 5 and a half months.
 
Lifespan
 
6- 8 years
 
 
Food and water
 
They are not water dependent and can get enough moisture out of the food they eat but will drink water when available. Steenbok are mainly browsers and eat leaves, shoots, seeds and wild fruits. They seldom eat grass. In some areas they will dig for roots and bulbs with their front hoofs. Feeding takes place mainly in the early morning and late afternoon but they will be active at night in areas where they are disturbed by day.
 
Enemies
 
Lion, Leopard, Hyena, Cheetah, African Wild Dog, African Wild Dog, Jackal, Caracal, Serval, Pythons, large eagles like Verreauxe’s Eagle, Crowned Eagle, Martial Eagle, Humans and their dogs.
 
Status
 
Widely distributed and was plentiful however numbers are dwindling outside of protected areas due habitat destruction by human encroachment and also through persecution by humans and their dogs.
 
Interesting facts
 
Steenbok scrape a hole in the ground where they bury their dung. They defecate and urinate in the small hollow and then rake sand over it with their front hooves.