Oryx are strikingly beautiful antelope with long, straight and slender horns. These horns, carried by both males and females, give the oryx the nickname “spear antelope.” The Arabian Oryx is exceptionally well adapted to life in the desert. It can survive without water for long periods of time by drinking dew and fog water that has formed on the plants upon which it feeds.
The Axis Deer is native to the Indian subcontinent. It is considered to be the most beautiful of deer with a bright reddish coat marked with rows of white spots that persist throughout life. Antlers of males are large but simple, usually with only three points per side and can grow in excess of 38 inches. The axis deer was first introduced into Texas in the 1930s and now occurs in at least 45 counties.
The Blackbuck is an antelope of the same tribe that includes gazelles. What sets the blackbuck apart is the adult male’s horns, which are 20 to 24 inches long, spirally twisted, V-shaped, and covered with pronounced ridges nearly to the tips. Blackbucks are primarily grazers and frequent open short grassland, but they can survive in semi-desert where there is sufficient vegetation.
The Bongo is a herbivorous and mostly nocturnal forest animal and among the largest of the African forest antelope species. Bongos are characterized by a striking reddish-brown coat, black and white markings, white-yellow stripes and long slightly spiraled horns.
Cuvier’s Gazelle has grayish-brown upperparts, making it one of the darkest gazelles. A wide blackish band runs from the hind legs forward to the front legs, dividing the upperparts from the white belly. The rump is white and is bordered on each side by a narrow black stripe. The tail is thin and entirely black.
The Dama Gazelle is the largest species in the family of gazelles. Poaching and habitat conversion into deserts threatens their existence. At this rate, the Dama Gazelle is headed toward extinction. The Dama Gazelle lives in Africa in the Sahara desert and its surrounding grasslands.
East African Crowned Cranes
Crowned Cranes are noted for their spectacular dances, which involve head-bobbing, wing fluttering, leaps and bows. They are named for the striking, straw colored bristle-like feathers on the top of their heads. They are mostly slate gray with white upper and under wing coverts and a black head. They have long legs for “wading” through the grasses. They also have large wings for excellent flying ability.
The Gemsbok is a large antelope of striking appearance with long, spear-like horns often in excess of 40 inches in length. It has a thick, horse-like neck with a short mane and a compact, muscular body. A defined pattern of black markings that contrast with the white face and fawn-colored body are prominently displayed in dominance rituals to emphasize the length of horns and strength of the shoulder.
Both the greater Kudu and its close cousin, the lesser Kudu, have stripes and spots on the body, and most have a chevron of white hair between the eyes. Males have long, spiral horns. The greater Kudu’s horns are spectacular and can grow as long as 72 inches, making 3-1/2 graceful twists. The Kudu is often referred to as the “White Ghost” in Africa because of its ability to virtually disappear.
The Lechwe is an antelope found in Botswana, Zambia, southeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo and eastern Angola. They stand 35 to 39 inches at the shoulder and weigh 150 to 260 pounds. They are golden brown with white bellies. The hind legs are somewhat longer in proportion than in other antelopes to ease long-distance running in marshy soil and spend much of their lives in and around swampy areas.
The handsome slate-brown shaggy coat is marked with white vertical stripes and spots on the flanks. Rams appear more charcoal-grey in color. The rams have long inward curved horns and a white chevroned face. They have a ridge of long hairs along the under parts from behind the chin to between the hind legs.
The Sable is a rotund, barrel-chested antelope with a short neck, long face, and dark mane. Both males and females boast impressive ringed horns that rise vertically and curve backward often times reaching 40 inches in length. When they arch their necks and stand with their heads held high and tails outstretched, they resemble horses. This flexed-neck position makes sables appear larger than they really are.
The waterbuck is a large, robust animal. Males are generally about 25 percent larger than the females. Waterbucks have large, rounded ears and white patches above the eyes, around the nose and mouth, and on the throat. Only the males have horns, which are prominently ringed and as long as 35 inches. The horns are widely spaced and curve gracefully back and up.
The wildebeest is a member of the antelope family. It has a large, box-like head with curving horns. The front end of the body is heavily built, while the hindquarters are slender with spindly legs. They have a gray coat and a black mane as well as a beard that can be black or white.
Zebras are members of the horse family. They have excellent hearing and eyesight and can run at speeds of up to 35 miles per hour. They also have a powerful kick that can cause serious injury to a predator, like a lion, a hyena or an African wild dog. Their hard hooves are designed to withstand the impact of their body weight and to run easily over rocky ground.
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