Sunday, February 27, 2011

Antelope (A herd)

Antelope is a mammal species that is found to be a part of the Bovidae family. However, not all members of Bovidae family are to be considered antelopes. The term ‘antelopes’ refers to a miscellaneous group within the Bovidae family, which consists of species that cannot be categorized as cattle, sheep, buffalo, bison, or goats. Antelopes belong to the even-toed species of ruminant mammals, which are herbivores. There are over 90 species of Antelope in the world and they vary from each other in their appearance, habitat strategy and range. A group of Antelopes can be referred to as a 'herd'. Read on to explore some more interesting facts & amazing information on antelopes.

Facts About Antelope

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Bovidae
Genus: About 30 genera
Species: About 90
Length: 150 cm (59 in)
Weight: 589kg (1,300lbs)
Top Speed: 70km/h (43mph)
Age: 10 years
Diet: Herbivorous (grass, shoots, seeds)
Habitat: Woodlands, forests, savannahs, grassland plains, and marshes.
Number of Offspring: One

Interesting & Amazing Information On Antelopes
There are over 90 species classified under the group ‘antelope’. However, all of them widely vary in appearance, strategy, habitat, and range. In other words, you will find very few of them displaying similar characteristics.
The term ‘antelope’ has been is derived from the Old French antelop, itself derived from Medieval Latin ant(h)alopus, which in turn comes from the Byzantine Greek word anthólops (anthos meaning ‘flower’ and ops meaning ‘eye’).
The ‘antelope’ group has not been taxonomically defined. Rather, it includes all those members of the family Bovidae that do not fall under the category of sheep, cattle, or goat.
Majority of the antelopes are found in Africa, with a few inhabiting parts of Asia and America as well.
You can find the Arabian Oryx and Dorcas Gazelle in Arabian Peninsula, while India is home to Nilgai, Chinkara and Blackbuck. Russia and Southeast Asia are inhabited by the Four-horned Antelope, Tibetan Antelope and Saiga Antelope.
Talking about the physical characteristics of antelopes, all of them have even-toed hooves, horizontal pupils, ruminating guts, and (in at least the males) bony horns.
Though antelopes look a lot like deer, they constitute an entirely different species. And unlike deer, they do not renew their horns annually. Rather, they have strong, permanent horns.
Antelopes use their horns mainly for the purpose of defending their antelope herd or fighting other antelopes.
Since antelopes are hunted by many large animals, they hardly live beyond 8 to 10 years, in the wild.
You will always find antelopes living in herds, which usually consist of 2-4 females and just one male.
About 25 species of antelopes have been rated as endangered by the IUCN, which include the dama gazelle and the mountain nyala.
A few species of antelope can be seen living in the mountains and rocky outcrops, while a few have adapted themselves to deserts (both hot and cold). Then, there are some species that are even semi-aquatic in nature and live in swamps.

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