Terrific Thomson’s Gazelles

Posted in Wildlife A-Z | April 30, 2010 | Comment Now

Gazelles belong to the antelope family. These medium-sized antelopes are found predominantly in Africa and Asia. Small numbers are found far east in Mongolia. There are 19 different species of gazelles.

Gazelles are grazing antelopes and live in herds. The herd may include ten to hundred animals. They form large groups in the plentiful rainy season. These groups may contain thousands of gazelles.

Wide-open spaces and plains serve as the grazing areas for these gazelles. They feast on grass, shoots, and leaves.

Open plains make them vulnerable to predators such as cheetahs and wild dogs. However, gazelles can run very fast. These gazelles can reach speeds of 40 miles per hour.

Some species of gazelles prefer the mountainous landscapes and deserts. They tend to avoid the grasslands.

Thomson’s gazelles are beautiful creatures. They are nimble and lively. Their bodies are adorned with stripes and markings. This accentuates their tan buff coats and white rumps. They also have beautiful ringed horns. These features make gazelles attractive game animals.

Pregnancy in gazelles lasts for six months. Female gazelles give birth to a maximum of a couple gazelles. They hide the young ones in the grasses of the plains. These young gazelles remain in hiding for days or even weeks. They are periodically nursed by their mother, till they are mature enough to be part of the herd. In case of males it the bachelor’s herd.

These gazelles are named after well-known explorer Joseph Thomson. They are also referred as ‘tommies’. They are the most common species of gazelles in East Africa.

Male gazelles are predominantly territorial for most part of their adult lives. Before becoming territorial, males spend their time in bachelor groups. Females, too, form groups. Adult male gazelles engage in combat several times a day. They fight to establish the boundaries of their territories

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