Impala (Aepyceros melampus)


Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family:    Bovidae
Size:    Height: 30 to 37 inches (75 to 95 cm) to shoulder
Weight: 88 to 176 pounds (40 to 80 kg)
Diet: Grass, plants and berries
Distribution: Southern and Eastern Africa
Young:  1
Animal Predators:  Lions, leopards, cheetahs, wild dogs, pythons, spotted hyenas and crocodiles
IUCN Status: Lower Risk, Conservation Dependent
Terms: Young: Calf   Group: Herd
Lifespan: Up to 17 years in captivity



·       The scientific name is Greek for Aipos—high; keras—horn; melampus black-footed. 

·       Impalas have been known to leap up to 10 feet in the air and 30 feet across when alarmed.

·       Many impalas live in national parks in Africa where they are protected.



Impalas are graceful animals that live in herds. Both the males and females are similar in appearance, with large ears and eyes, reddish-brown fur on the upper half of their body, with a strip of lighter coloured fur along the mid-section, and a white belly. They have black markings on their tail and on the backs of their thighs. The males have large S-shaped horns that can grow up to three feet in length.



Impalas can be found in various southern African countries including Zimbabwe, Angola, Namibia, Botswana and South Africa, as well as in eastern African countries such as Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda. They inhabit areas with plenty of cover as well as a water source. 


Feeding Habits

Impalas are usually active during the day, grazing on grass, plants and berries. 



Mating usually occurs in the rainy season, between March and June. Gestation lasts six to seven months, and the female leaves the herd to find a secluded area where she can give birth. Most births result in one calf of approximately 11 pounds. Within the next couple of days the mother and calf rejoin the herd. Within the herd, the calves stay together so they can socialize. The youngsters are fully weaned by four to six months. Most males leave their mother’s herd at about eight months to join a bachelor herd. 



During the dry season, these animals live in large herds of both males and females, but during the wet season they break up into smaller herds. Males form herds of up to 30, while females and juveniles form herds of up to 200, usually led by a dominant male. Dominant males are extremely territorial, and will mark their area using the scent glands found on their foreheads. When approached by a predator, impalas make sudden leaps as they scatter in various directions, in order to confuse the predator as the herd disperses. They also kick out with their back legs upon landing, to further discourage the predator. 



The black-faced impala, a subspecies, is listed by the IUCN as Vulnerable. 



Impala Wildlife Fact File, IM Pub, US