This article will discuss the question “what do antelopes eat”? It will tackle the information that you need to know about antelope’s diet.
An antelope is an animal belonging to a wide variety of horned mammals of the Bovidae family. The antelope looks like a deer and is commonly found in Asia, Africa, and parts of the Americas.
There are a lot of antelope species and range in size from the large Giant Sable Antelope to the tiny Royal antelope that stands as tall as a rabbit.
The antelope is found in a broad range of habitats, usually woodland, Savannah, grassland plains, marshes, and forest.
Some species are known to survive in deserts (hot and cold) and are somewhat semi-aquatic and live in swamps.
What Do Antelopes Eat?
So, what do antelopes eat? These animals are mainly herbivores and eat only plant life. Some Duiker species have been seen to eat birds, insects, and small mammals. Antelopes eat tree shoots, fallen leaves, and juicy plants.
What they eat depends on their height and includes foliage, medium-length grass, and herbs especially those that grow near termite mounds. Tree leaves comprise 90% of antelopes’ food.
Antelopes are diurnal animals meaning they are most active during the daytime but are less active during the hottest part of the day, which also means, they eat during the daytime.
The giant sable antelope have a ruminant digestive system like that of cows. Some antelopes like the oryx eat fruits like melons, rough grass, and thorny shrubs.
Antelopes have a preference for certain plant species over others depending on the habitat that they are in.
Most of the time they choose high protein and low fiber content which could include root crops and tubers. Antelopes also eat flowers and prefer younger leaves.
How Do Antelopes Eat And Graze?
The kidneys of antelopes are designed to minimize the loss of water through urine and they only sweat when their body temperature exceeds a certain temperature, in the case of an oryx, 116 degrees Fahrenheit or 46 degrees centigrade.
Antelopes eat vegetation that collects dew and provides both food and water. Most antelope herds are led by the eldest male in their group. Herds encompass large ranges and move slowly at the pace of trotting.
The keen sense of smell of antelopes lets them sense when rain is falling in a certain area and will head towards the rain to feed on the new growth of vegetation. Herds move to different areas when seasons change.
Some antelopes are territorial while others are not. Those who are territorial tend to mark their areas with their dung. Those who are not territorial live in herds of females and their youngs.
Antelope herds of 10-40 are quite common but this number could be as large as 200 members especially in Eastern Africa.
Other Facts About Antelopes
- All antelopes have even-toed hooves, horizontal pupils, stomach adapted for re-chewing food (ruminants), and bony horns.
- Bony horns vary in shape and size. They could be spiral, curved, straight, or twisted.
- Antelopes don’t replace their horns annually. They continuously grow in the course of their entire life.
- Antelopes have well-developed senses that could help them detect predators as they have time to escape.
Now that you know the answer to the question about what do antelopes eat, you can browse our website to know more about wild animals’ diets. You can also find fantastic information here on how to tame wild animals and keep them as pets!