Linksfontein Safari Lodge Animals
Springbok Antelope is a small antelope that have a body length between 1.2 and 1.4 m (4 – 4.5 ft), a shoulder height between 74 and 89 cms (29 – 35 inches), a tail length between 15 and 30 cms (6 – 12 inches) and they weigh between 30 and 48 kgs (66 – 105 lbs).
Colour characteristics
Springbok are reddish brown in colour with a pale underside. On each of their flanks they have a dark brown stripe that separates their brown upperparts from their underside. Their head is white and they have a dark brown stripe that runs from each eye down to their upper lip.
They have a pocket-like skin flap that runs from the middle of their back to their tail. If springbok become excited or frightened they can lift this flap which makes the white hairs underneath stand up in a conspicuous crest hat acts as a warning to other Springbok.
Springbok Antelopes have ringed, curved, black horns that are present in both males and females. They can reach lengths of 48 c ms (19 inches) in males, but females have shorter, thinner horns.
Springbok are known to leap up to 4 m (13 ft) in the air in an activity known as pronking. While in the air their body is curved, and their legs are stiff, close together and point downwards. Upon landing they immediately leap upwards again and during this period the crest on their back is raised. It is unknown why they pronk.  It is possible they do it to indicate to predators that they have been spotted.
When required Springbok can reach speeds up to 90 km/hr (56 mph) and they are among the top ten fastest land animals in the world.
Springboks are found in the grasslands and semi-arid regions of southern Africa. During the breeding season females, their offspring and a dominant male are found in herds together and bachelor herds are formed by non-breeding males. Springbok used to migrate in huge herds consisting of over 1 million individuals known as a “trek” or “trekbokken”. Today most Springbok are confined to game reserves and privately owned land but in remote areas of Angola and Botswana groups of 1,500 individuals can still be seen.
Springbok feed on grasses and other vegetation. Their diet changes depending on the season; eating grass when water is available but switching to other more water rich plants, such as flowers, when water is scarce.
Springbok usually mate during the dry season and after a gestation period of 5 – 6 months, 1 young Springbok is born. For the first couple of days the youngster remains hidden in a bush or long grass before they join a nursery herd with their mother.
When they reach 6 months  females wean the babies and will remains with the herd where as young males will join a bachelor herd. Females reach sexually maturity at a year old and they will reproduce every second year. Males reach sexual maturity at 2 years of age.
The main predators of Springbok are humans cheetahs, leopards and lions.
Interesting Facts
The South African national rugby union team is called the “Springboks”
The name Springbok in Afrikaans and Dutch means:
spring – jump
bok – antelope, deer or goat
The Latin name “marsupialis” is derived from the pocket-like skin flap on their rump.
Springbok are mainly active around dawn and dusk. Weather influence behaviour and springbok can feed at night in hot weather, and at midday in colder months. They rest in the shade of trees or bushes, and often bed down in the open when it is cooler. The social structure of the springbok is similar to that of the Thomson’s gazelle.
Mixed sex herds or harems have a roughly 3:1 sex ratio; bachelor individuals is observed. In the mating season, males generally form herds and wander in search of mates. Females live with their offspring in herds, that very rarely include dominant males. Territorial males round up female herds that enter their territories and keep out the bachelors; mothers and juveniles may gather in nursery herds separate from harem and bachelor herds. After weaning, female juveniles stay with their mothers until the birth of their next calves, while males join bachelor groups.
A study of vigilance behaviour of herds revealed that individuals on the borders of herds tend to be more cautious; vigilance decreases with group size. Group size and distance from roads and bushes are found to have major influence on vigilance, more among the grazing springbok than among their browsing counterparts. Adults are found to be more vigilant than juveniles, and males more vigilant than females.
Springbok in the bushes are more vulnerable to predator attacks. . Another study calculated that the time spent in vigilance by springbok on the edges of herds is roughly double that spent by those in the centre and the open.
Springbok are more cautious in the late morning than at dawn or in the afternoon, and more at night than in the daytime. Rates and methods of vigilance vary with the aim of lowering risk from predators.
Springbok locking horns in a fight
During the rut, males establish territories, ranging from 10 to 70 hectares (25 to 173 acres), which they mark by urinating and depositing large piles of dung. Males in neighbouring territories frequently fight for access to females, which they do by twisting and levering at each other with their horns, interspersed with stabbing attacks. Females roam the territories of different males. Outside of the rut, mixed sex herds can range from as few as three to as many as 180 individuals, while all-male bachelor herds are of typically no more than fifty individuals. Harem and nursery herds are much smaller, typically including no more than ten individuals.
A pronking springbok
In earlier times, when large populations of springbok roamed the Kalahari desert and Karoo, millions of migrating springbok formed herds hundreds of kilometres long that could take several days to pass a town. These mass treks, known as trekbokken in Afrikaans, took place during long periods of drought. Herds could efficiently retrace their path to their territories after long migrations.
occasionally in Botswana, though on a much smaller scale than earlier.
Springbok often go into bouts of repeated high leaps of up to 2 m (6 ft 7 in) into the air – a practice known as pronking (derived from the Afrikaans pronk, “to show off”) or stotting.  In pronking, the springbok performs multiple leaps into the air in a stiff-legged posture, with the back bowed and the white flap lifted. When the male shows off his strength to attract a mate, or to ward off predators, he starts off in a stiff-legged trot and leaps 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 scent of sweat.
Although the exact cause of this behaviour is unknown, springbok also exhibit activity if they are nervous or excited. The most accepted theory for pronking is that it is a method to raise alarm against a potential predator or confuse it, or to get a better view of a concealed predator; it is also used for display. Springbok are very fast antelopes, clocked at 88 km/h (55 mph).
As a  result carnivores generally ignore them unless they are breeding. Caracals, cheetah, leopards, spotted hyenas and wild dogs are major predators of the springbok. African wild cats, black-backed jackals, black eagles, martial eagles and tawny eagles target juveniles.
Springbok and all other springbok  are generally quiet animals, though they may make occasional low-pitched bellows as a greeting and high-pitched snorts when alarmed.

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