The gazelle is a species of mammal that is a member of the antelope family of animals. There are 19 known types of gazelle in the world. The habitats of different species can vary, with species found through parts of Africa and Asia.
The gazelle is a plant-eating animal known for its ability to survive in areas with low levels of surface water. The gazelle absorbs water from urine and feces in a similar way to camels to preserve water. The habitat of the many species of gazelle varies from dry grasslands to mountainous forests and in some cases desert regions of the world. There are a number of predators who prey on the gazelle because of the open area used by the animals for feeding, including the jackal, lion and leopard. To avoid becoming the prey of these animals the gazelle is a fast runner, reaching speeds of more than 40 miles per hour and developing excellent eye sight and hearing to detect predators.
Thomson’s and Grant's
Thomson’s gazelle is the most abundant form of gazelle found in the dry plains and grasslands of Africa. In relation to its close family member Grant’s gazelle, Thomson’s is short and stocky, with an appearance characterized by a pale, sandy-colored coat and S-shaped horns. Thomson’s gazelle prefers to feed on grasses of the plains, but will feed on the foliage of shrubs and plants when food becomes scarce. In contrast to Thomson’s, the Grant’s gazelle, which shares the feeding grounds of Thomson’s and often mixes herds, prefers to eat foliage instead of grasses to avoid competing for food. The speed of escape employed by Grant’s gazelle has made it a small link of the predatory food chain, making up only around six percent of the prey of predators such as the lion and cheetah.
The springbok is a member of the gazelle family located in the arid southwestern regions of Africa. The springbok has been dated back to inhabiting the Earth up to 15 million years ago using fossil records. Although similar in appearance to other African gazelles such as Thomson’s and Grant’s, the springbok has a number of anatomical differences including a hollow horn base where other African gazelles have a solid horn base. The springbok also shows differences in its feeding habits by not showing a preference for a certain type of foliage or grass; the springbok will feed on whichever food is plentiful at the time.
The Arabian gazelle is an endangered species found in the Arabian Peninsula, Palestine and the Sinai. The Arabian gazelle differs from African gazelles because of its darker colored coat, with white underparts and a black tail. The Arabian also prefers the habitat of mountains and forests, with days spent in the mountainous regions and nights and early mornings spent foraging for food in small forest areas.
- Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images