Thomsonís Gazelle (Gazella thomsoni)


Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family:    Bovidae
Size:    Height: 21 to 32 inches (55 to 82 cm) to shoulder
Weight: 30 to 77 pounds (14 to 35 kg)
Diet: Grass, plants
Distribution: East Africa
Young:  1 offspring once or twice per year
Animal Predators:  Lions, cheetahs, jackals, leopards, wild dogs and spotted hyenas
IUCN Status: Lower Risk, Conservation Dependent
Terms: Young: Calf
Lifespan: 10 to 13 years in the wild, up to 15 years in captivity



       They are one of the 10 fastest mammals in the world, at 47 miles (76 km) per hour.

       Thomsonís gazelles are sometimes referred to as ďtommies.Ē

       Thomsonís gazelles are named for Joseph Thomson, a 19th century Scottish naturalist and explorer.  



These small, graceful antelopes have light reddish-brown fur on their backs, with a lighter, fawn coloured stripe underneath and a black stripe leading from the foreleg to the hindquarters. Their undersides are white. Males have long, ringed horns, while females have short, smooth horns or no horns at all. 



They live on the grassy plains and savannahs of Kenya, North Tanzania and southeast Sudan, from sea-level to 19,000 feet.


Feeding Habits

Thomsonís gazelles graze on various grasses and plants, and during the rainy season, can go without drinking for long periods. During dry periods, they need to be near a water source, sometimes travelling as much as 100 miles (161 km) to find one. 



Mating usually takes place in winter, with birth taking place five months later, in spring. Females leave the herd a few days before giving birth. They may stay alone with their baby for up to three months. Weaning takes place after the youngster reaches two months of age, and they become full grown within a year. Young males are then expelled from the herd to go and join a bachelor herd.



Thomsonís gazelles live in either same-sex groups of up to 100, or mixed groups of as many as 700 gazelles. Males mark their territories and will tolerate familiar males in their territories as long as they remain subordinate and do not approach the females. Thomsonís gazelles are most active in the early morning and the evening. When alarmed, they spring stiffly up and down in a manner referred to as stotting or pronking. During migration, herds may number into the thousands, joining up with Grantís gazellesóa similar, but larger gazelle.



Thomsonís gazelle is the best-known and most common gazelle in East Africa. Although their numbers have declined due to hunting and the spread of agriculture, the population is stable. This may be because only cheetahs are faster and can run them down during a chase. Even so, gazelles can turn more quickly than cheetahs, so a chase does not necessarily end in a victory for the cheetah.



Thomsonís Gazelle Wildlife Fact File, IM Pub, US