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Impala Aepyceros melampus

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Names: impala, black-headed antelope.

Area: Kenya, Uganda, Botswana, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia, Southern Rhodesia, Mozambique, Angola, Zaire, Rwanda.

Description: impala - slender, medium sized antelope. The coat is shiny, on the hind legs (above the "heel" of the hoof) there is a bunch of coarse black hair. The head is small. The eyes are big. The ears are narrow and pointed.
In males, thin lyre-shaped pointed horns grow on their heads, which reach a length of 45-91.7 cm. Horns grow back, to the sides or up. Females do not have horns. The tail is long with a white tuft at the end. The legs are thin. The impala has odorous glands on the forehead and back of the legs. Females have four nipples.

Color: varies depending on the part of the range: from bright red to brown. Around the eyes there are white rings, on the hips and tail along one vertical black stripe. The lower parts of the body are white (stomach, chin, lips, inside the ears, bottom of the tail, neck). The tips of the ears are black.

The size: males - body length up to 148 cm, height at the withers up to 91 cm, length of females up to 128 cm, height at the withers up to 86 cm. For tail length - 30-45 cm.

Weight: 40-60 kg.

Life span: up to 15 years.

Vote: Impala (Aepyceros melampus) - 30Kb
During the breeding season, male impala make hoarse grunting sounds and sounds that, on average, somewhat resemble the roar of a lion and a dog barking.

Habitat: predominantly open and shrub savannas (with well-dried stable soil), gallery forest, often near water.

Food: Impalas eat leaves, buds and shoots of shrubs (acacia), grass (after the rainy season). They are fed morning and evening. They do not move far from water sources, but if water is not available, they can last several days on dew.

Behavior: Impala is active in the daytime and in the evening (the highest peak of activity immediately after dawn and before dusk). On moonlit nights active between 3 and 4 hours.
In hot time, resting and chewing gum in the shade of bushes or acacia.
Running away from predators, it can make jumps up to 10 m long and 3 m high, but instead of escaping, prefers to hide in dense vegetation.
When moving the herd in front, an old female walks in front, and the male leader closes the group.
There are slight differences in the behavior of impalas in the southern and eastern parts of the range: in the south, impals gather in herds during the dry season, at this time in the east the animals are very territorial.
Social care includes biting (brushing) the incisors of the head and neck. At first, the pair stands nose to nose, the heads are tilted 45 degrees, each animal is teeth 4-8 times from head to neck.

Social structure: Impal females live in herds with young animals from 15 to 100 animals, the individual territory of such a herd is 80-180 ha.
Young (up to 4 years old) and older males, unable to defend their territorial area, are grouped in separate bachelor herds.
Males of reproductive age live alone, considering any female located on their territory to be their own. Such males collect harems, in which there are usually several females with cubs. The leader drives the growing males out of the harem.
Part of the impals are combined with other antelopes, zebras and elephants, but such alliances are usually short-lived.
In the dry season, females and males hatch in large herds, which number up to several hundred individuals.

Breeding: in the breeding season, the male guards his harem.
Impala males use different methods to protect their territory and protect the females: raising the tail, wrestling, roaring, marking the territory (with the secret of odorous glands, excrement and urine, wiping the forehead against tree trunks). Often the borders of adjacent territories are marked with manure rolls. It happens that there are fights between males.
The male constantly checks the urine of the females to find out if she has estrus or not.
Shortly before birth, the female is separated from the herd.

Breeding season: in different places of the range is different: in South-West Africa, February-March, in East Africa - October-November.

Puberty: females at 1.5 years old, males per year (but until 4 years of age they cannot breed due to competition with older males).

Pregnancy: 6.5 months

Progeny: at noon, the female gives birth to one cub. The mother is reunited with the herd when the baby is a few days old. At this time, the cubs are most vulnerable (half of the cubs die from predators in the first few weeks). Impalas have kindergartens, which are followed by several females. Lactation lasts up to 4.5-6 months. Teenagers relax, frolic and play with each other.
At 5 months, horns begin to grow in males. At the age of 8 months, young males leave the herd.

Benefit / harm to humans: The local population preys on impala for its meat.

Population / conservation status: In Tanzania and Kenya, impala is currently one of the most numerous antelopes.
The species is listed in the International Red Book as a low-risk species, and its subspecies Aepyceros melampus petersi (black impala) is listed in the Red Book as vulnerable.

Credit: Portal Zooclub
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Appearance

Due to the graceful structure of the body for a long time she was ranked as a gazelle, but studies have shown that in a much closer relationship she is with bubals. The growth of an adult at the withers can reach 90 centimeters, weight - 40-60 kg. Tail at impal reaches a length of almost half a meter and ends with a whisk of white hair. On the relatively small and neat head of this antelope, large eyes and ears with black tips stand out. In addition to this, males have horns on their heads that grow in length from 60 to 90 cm, which simultaneously grow to the sides, back and up. A bunch of black hair grows above the base of the hooves of the hind legs at the impala, which is why it is also called the black-heel antelope.

Lifestyle & Nutrition

Often impala settle at watering places, because they can do without water for a very short time. Impals feed exclusively on plant foods, mainly acacia leaves and shoots, and after the rainy season, grass is added to the menu. These animals are most active in the early morning and late evening, they prefer to wait the day heat in the shade of shrubs, chewing gum.

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