Springbok (Antidorcas marsupialis)


Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family:    Bovidae
Size:    Height: 30 to 36 inches (76 to 91 cm) at the shoulder 
Weight: 40 to 100 pounds (18 to 45 kg)
Diet: Grass, roots, leaves and flowers
Distribution: Africa
Young:  1 calf every year or every other year
Animal Predators:  Lions, cheetahs, leopards and hyenas
IUCN Status: Lower Risk, Conservation Dependent
Terms: Young: Calf or Lamb
Lifespan: 7 to 10 years in the wild and up to 19 years in captivity



·       The springbok is the national emblem of the Republic of South Africa.

·       Springboks are also known as “springbucks.

·       They can run at speeds of up to 53 miles (85 km) per hour.

·       A springbok is able to pronk as high as 13 feet (4 m).

·       The Latin name Marsupialis refers to the pouch-like skin fold on their back.



Springboks are related to gazelles, but have been placed into their own genus because they have five pairs of grinding teeth in the lower jaw, while other gazelles have six pairs. Another unique feature of springboks is the stripe of white fur extending down their back, normally not visible. Only when springboks are alarmed do they open and raise the fold. Both male and female springboks have horns. The males grow longer and slightly curved horns, reaching up to 19 inches (48 cm), while those of the female are narrower, straighter and shorter, reaching a maximum of 14 inches (36 cm).



Springboks can be found in Namibia, Botswana, the Republic of South Africa and southwest Angola. They are migratory animals, moving in large herds during the dry season.


Feeding Habits

Springboks eat grass, roots, leaves and flowers. They tend to eat more flowers during the dry season because the flowers contain moisture that helps them to stay hydrated when water supplies are low. 



Females give birth to a single calf approximately six months after mating. Newborn calves (also called lambs) weigh about nine pounds (4 kg) and are able to stand right away. They lay quietly while their mothers graze, hidden by the tall grass and hopefully undetected by predators. Mothers return often to nurse their calf while it remains hidden for the first few weeks. Calves begin to graze at two weeks and will be able to keep up with the herd at one month. Females reach sexual maturity at one year of age, while males reach sexual maturity at two years. 



The name springbok is an Afrikaans word meaning “jumping buck, and comes from their tendency to jump straight up and down when alarmed or when playing. This is also referred to as “stotting or “pronking. They are very alert animals, constantly on the lookout for danger, and will immediately warn the other members of the herd when they spot something suspicious. Springboks are social animals—they live in small family herds of one male, several females and their offspring, but sometimes herds join together to migrate, forming large herds of 100 to 1,500 individuals. They are active in intervals during both day and night, resting during the extreme heat of midday. 



Springboks are at risk due to loss of habitat and hunting. In South Africa, many now live on private reserves. Although they once numbered in the millions, their numbers have reduced over the rest of their range and in 1989 their total numbers were estimated at over 600,000.











Springbok Wildlife Fact File, IM Pub, US