CREATURE FEATURE: Gerenuk

The Gerenuk (Litocranius walleri) is an African long-necked gazelle from the antelope family, which is also called Waller’s Gazelle.

Gerenuk means giraffe-necked in Somali. Its neck is not as long as a giraffe’s neck but it is longer than a gazelle’s neck. Its neck is about 60-70 centimetres (23-28 inches) long. It also has very thin legs.

The Gerenuk is 80-105 centimetres (31-41 inches) tall with glossy two-tone fur in buff and reddish colours. Its tail, throat, chin, eye rings, and lips are white. Its head is long and narrow with very large ears.

Gerenuk

male Gerenuk

Only male Gerenuk’s have horns, which are S-shaped, and are about 32–44 cm (13–17 inches) long.

It is a herbivore, eating leaves and twigs. When the Gerenuk wants to reach leaves high on a tree, it will standing on its hind legs. With its powerful hind legs, and wedge-shaped hooves, the Gerenuk is the only antelope that can stand unsupported in this manner.

Gerenuk

a Gerenuk standing on its hind legs

The Gerenuk is a shy animal, living in herds of 2-8 individuals. It is found in the dry region of east Africa from the Serengeti plain of Tanzania north along the coast through Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and into southern Somalia.

Females are pregnant for about seven months before giving birth to a live baby. Gerenuks are polygynous, which means that females breed every one to two years.

Gerenuk

Gerenuks

Gerenuk

Gerenuk

Gerenuk

Gerenuk

 

 

 

Photographer: Martina Nicolls

Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM

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