Klipspringer (Oreotragus oreotragus)  


Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family:    Bovidae
Size:    Height: 17 to 24 inches (45 to 60 cm) at shoulder
Weight: 22 to 40 pounds (10 to 18 kg)
Diet: Grasses, shrubs
Distribution: Africa
Young:  1 lamb per year
Animal Predators:  Leopards, spotted hyenas, black-backed jackals, baboons, caracals, servals and eagles
IUCN Status: Lower Risk, Conservation Dependent
Terms: Young: Lamb
Lifespan: Up to 15 years in the wild



·       The scientific name is Greek, meaning oreos—a mountain; tragos—a he-goat.

·       Besides goats, klipspringers are the only horned ungulates that can stretch both front legs forward and parallel to each other when lying down. 

·       Klipspringer is an Afrikaans word meaning “cliff jumper.”

·       When fearful or distressed, klipspringers make roaring sounds with their mouths open.



Klipspringers have light brown, coarse fur, mixed with salt and pepper colouring, providing them camouflage from predators when they stand motionless against the rocks. They have large, dark eyes and black-and-white ears. In the south, males have four to six inch (10 to 15 cm) upright horns, while in the east, both males and females have horns. 



Most klipspringers live from southern Africa to eastern Africa in scattered populations, but there are also small populations of klipspringers in the Central African Republic and Nigeria. Once an adult male establishes his territory, he and his mate rarely venture off of it. The home range consists of five to 121 acres in arid mountain areas. 


Feeding Habits

Klipspringers eat grass, shrubs, herbs, fruit and flowers. They usually get all the water they need from the juicy food they eat, but will drink water when it is available.



During mating, males hum softly. Females undergo a seven-month pregnancy and give birth in a concealed spot among rocky cliffs. The lamb remains hidden there for its first two to three months. When the lamb comes out of hiding, it still nurses twice per day, while the father stands guards over the lamb and mother. By the time it is five months, the lamb is weaned and eats vegetation alongside its parents. Males begin to grow horns at six months and both females and males are fully grown by 12 months. Males leave their parents’ sides by the time they are one year, while females stay with their parents until they find a mate.



Klipspringers form lifelong bonds, and are almost always seen in pairs—they rarely venture far from their mate. If a single klipspringer is seen, it will usually be a male that has not yet found a female. These small antelopes are extremely agile as they jump over rocky terrain—they walk on the tips of their toes and can stand on a piece of cliff as small as a Canadian dollar coin with all four feet (each hoof is approximately the diameter of a dime). Klipspringers have many predators and are always on the alert. When one of the pair eats or rests, the other one will keep a sharp lookout, whistling through the nose is danger is spotted. When on the move, the female leads and the male follows. They like to lick each other’s faces and they show affection by grooming each other. They sometimes join up with other klipspringers to form herds of six to eight animals, mainly during the dry season when food is not as abundant.



Hunting and diminishing habitat due to human settlement have led to a decrease in population, although the Ethiopia population is reported to be thriving. The subspecies, Western klipspringer (Oreotragus oreotragus porteousi), is listed as Endangered by the IUCN.