The springbok (Antidorcas marsupialis), the National Animal of South Africa, is the only gazelle-like antelope which occur in South Africa.


Springbok antelope originally occurred in the drier north-west regions of the Northern Cape and the Free State. It is a smallish antelope (shoulder height: 75 cm) with a distinctive white belly and red-brown upper part. They can reach running speeds of up to 90 km/h, can leap 3.5m high and can long jump up to 15 m.

Springbok are mixed feeders, switching between grazing and browsing seasonally. They graze as long as grasses are young and tender and browse on shrubs and succulents. Springbok can meet their water needs from the food they eat, and survive without drinking water through dry season, or even over years.

When the male springbok is showing off his strength to attract a mate, or to ward off predators, he starts off in a stiff-legged trot, jumping up into the air with an arched back every few paces and lifting the flap along his back. Lifting the flap causes the long white hairs under the tail to stand up in a conspicuous fan shape, which in turn emits a strong floral scent of sweat.

This ritual is known as pronking from the Afrikaans, meaning to boast or show off.

Photo Source: Wikipedia