The Gerenuk is a tall, thin, gazelle-like antelope that has a long giraffe-like neck.
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Name: Gerenuk
Scientific name:Litocranius walleri
Range: Throughout eastern Africa from Somalia to Kenya
Habitat: From the flat thorn bush of the Savanna to the dry desert
Status: Not threatened 
Diet in the wild: leaves, young shoots of trees and thorny shrubs
Diet in the zoo: horsefeed, herbivore pellets, alfalfa hay
Location in the zoo: African Hoof Stock Exhibit
Physical Features

Head-body length: 4-5 ft. 
Tail length: 8-13 in. 
Shoulder height: 3-3.5 ft. 
Horn length: 12-17 in. 
Weight: 63-114 lb.. 
Coat: reddish brown above with a dark back, belly is white and there is white around the eye.


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General Information

Social Unit: Not a herd animal, roams about in small groups 1-5 individuals. 
Reproduction: Mates any time, a single young is born at about 6.5 lb.. Gestation is about 7 months. Females reach sexual maturity at 1 year and males at 1.5 years. 
Longevity: 8 years in the wild and more than 13 years in zoo environment 


Special anatomical, physiological, or behavioral adaptations

The Gerenuk is very selective about their food. They eat only the juiciest most nutritious plants, this allows the Gerenuk to go long periods of time without water. Unlike any other antelope, the Gerenuk can stand on it's hind legs for a long periods of time, allowing them to feed on higher leaves. A minor adaptation in the skeleton and muscles of the limbs and vertebral columns enable this behavior.


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Personal Observations

Upon observing the Gerenuk in its zoo environment I was fascinated by the tone and muscle structure of the animal. As it began to walk about the yard the animal did become aware of my presence as it began to feed on hay. I wondered if there were any other in the yard but I did not see any. I also noticed that it was male because it had horns. 


Information from Zoo Keeper

The Ft. Worth Zoo currently houses 2 male Gerenuks. Ages are 10 and 4. They were both born in captivity. The Gerenuks are kept apart from each other because they don't get along, therefore, they are rotated through the viewing yard. The Gerenuks are not endangered, but are considered rare in captivity.

Sources and Links

Encyclopedia of Mammals, Edited by Dr. David Macdonald 

Gerenuks at ThinkQuest:

Gerenuk at Wild Lives

Page Author: Matt Leo
Questions or Comments Please Mail Me
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