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Scientific Name:

Oryx Gazella


Gemsbuck are large bovids with very thick, muscular necks, covered in dense, inelastic skin. Oryx gazella is the largest of the Oryx species. The slightly curved, ringed horns range from 60 to 150 cm in length. The horns of females are often shorter and more slender than those of males. Black markings on the face extend down from the base of the horns to above the muzzle, and sweep back in stripes over the eyes and cheeks. Black continues down the neck and around the underbody, forming bands around all four legs. A stripe also runs up the spine, starting at the tip of the tail and ending at a short thick mane of black. There are black markings on the front of all four legs. The lower portion of the legs, muzzle, and underbelly are all white, whereas the body and neck are a gray or tan color. In instances of high productivity grazing, fat deposits under the skin become noticeable. Inidividuals in northern populations have characteristic black tufts on the ears and are generally darker in color with thinner black markings than are individuals from southern populations.


Gemsbok are found at elevations from 900 to 1,200 meters, in wooded grasslands as well as wetter grasslands. They can survive in areas of low productivity. Gemsbok prefer stony plains with at least limited water access, but can subsist in areas of dunes, rocky mountainous areas, and arid habitats with little seasonal water. Gemsbok also frequent open areas more than areas with increased tree density.


The range of gemsbok, Oryx gazella, mostly consists of southern east Africa, though formerly the range included South Africa.


Gemsbok measure 115 to 125 cm high at the shoulder, and have total body lengths between 180 and 195 cm.


Females weigh from 180 to 225 kg, whereas males are slightly larger, weighing between 180 and 240 kg.


The average life span is approximately 18 years in the wild, and 20 in captivity.

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