What are the different kinds of antelopes that live in Gabon?
There are an astounding number of separate antelope species found here! These remarkable creatures are very different from each other, each one being uniquely adapted to its specific habitat.
In this article, you’ll find interesting facts, photos, and even range maps so you can learn all about these incredible animals!
4 Antelopes Found in Gabon:
- Kobus ellipsiprymnus
- Adults are 120-136 cm (47-54 in) tall at the shoulder.
- They have shaggy brown-gray coats, large rounded ears, and white patches above the eyes, on the throat, and around the nose and mouth.
- Males have prominently ringed horns that curve back and up and may reach 55–99 cm (22–39 in) long.
The Waterbuck’s appearance may vary throughout its range. There are 13 recognized subspecies, all with slightly different traits! In general, all waterbucks keep their glossy coats with a unique oily secretion. It makes them smell a bit funny to humans, but the scent helps them to find a mate! The oil secretion also serves to help keep their coat waterproof.
These robust antelopes live in grasslands in Gabon and are almost always found near water, as their name suggests. Compared to some more migratory antelope species, Waterbucks tend to be rather sedentary, remaining in valleys with rivers and lakes. This is because their diet depends on access to fresh water along with the protein-rich medium and short grasses that grow in moist areas.
Waterbucks are social animals and usually live in herds of up to 30 individuals. Typically, bachelor males form herds together, and females form separate herds comprised of only females and their young.
Once born, mothers leave their calf hidden in the thicket and only visit to nurse. This helps prevent predators from smelling or finding the calf, though mortality is still quite high.
#2. Bush Duiker
- Sylvicapra grimmia
- Adults grow up to 50 cm (20 in) tall.
- They vary in color and may be chestnut, grizzled gray, or light brown, with an erect tuft of hair on the top of their head.
- Males have small, spike-like horns up to 11 cm (4.3 in) long with grooves at the base.
Bush Duikers are the smallest antelopes in Gabon!
These little animals will adapt to various habitats and live in woodlands, savannas, grasslands, and mountainous areas. They inhabit higher altitudes than any other African ungulate. To help live in these inhospitable conditions, they consume insects and have occasionally been observed stalking and eating birds, rodents, lizards, and frogs.
Bush Duikers are territorial and form monogamous pairs. Both sexes will use threat displays to drive other Duikers of the same sex out of their territory. If these displays fail, battles may ensue! Females will head-butt other females, and males may fight, chase, and stab each other with their horns.
The lifespan of Bush Duikers in the wild is unknown, but they have lived up to 14 years in captivity. This species is listed as one of least concern on the IUCN Red List.
#3. Northern Bushbuck
- Tragelaphus scriptus
- Adults are 65-100 cm (26-39 in) tall at the shoulder.
- Adults may be reddish, yellow-brown, or light brown with various white spots and stripes, which vary over their range.
- Adult males have parallel horns which spiral once and are fairly straight.
These antelopes are highly adaptable in Gabon.
Northern Bushbucks prefer areas with plenty of wooded cover. They spend much of their time on forest edges and in brushy areas near rivers and streams. At night they often head to nearby open areas to feed. Northern Bushbucks are very capable swimmers and will easily cross rivers.
When conditions are good, Northern Bushbucks tend to be selective feeders and show a clear preference for knobbly creeper and sausage trees. That said, they’re excellent survivalists and will browse various plants when necessary, consuming leaves, twigs, flowers, and occasionally some grass.
These small antelopes are a solitary species but aren’t territorial, so sometimes, many animals will live within the same habitat even though they don’t form traditional herds. They’re widespread and plentiful within their range. In fact, unlike many antelopes, they are able to thrive around humans, and in some areas, they are considered a pest.
- Tragelaphus spekii
- Adult males are 81–116 cm (32–46 in) tall at the shoulder, while females reach 72–90 cm (28–35 in) tall.
- Males are chocolate to gray-brown and have spiral-shaped horns that are 45–92 cm (18–36 in) long.
- Females are brown to bright chestnut.
- They have long coats and white markings on the face, ears, body, legs, and feet.
These antelopes have an unusual habitat in Gabon – swampland!
Sitatunga have a few special adaptations that allow them to walk on boggy, marshy ground easily. Their feet are elongated with a wide splay and pad-like pattern. They also have unique flexibility in their foot joints, which helps keep them from getting stuck in the mud.
Sitatungas avoid areas of open water, instead preferring tall, dense vegetation like seasonal swamps, mangroves, and thickets. These habitats provide shelter from predators as well as the Sitatunga’s two favorite foods, papyrus and reed shoots. Oddly, when food is scarce, these antelope will eat elephant dung, which often has undigested seeds!
This species’ social structure varies. You may spot them on their own, in male and female pairs, in bachelor male groups of three or four, or in family groups of up to 15 animals, including females, young, and a dominant bull.
Check out these other guides about animals found in Gabon!
Which of these antelopes have you seen before in Gabon?
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