Hi Horse Pals ~
Happy New Year! Hope you all are having a great 2011 so far!
Here's a story I wrote for the paper I thought you animal lovers might like:
Our friend reported that her favorite wild animal is the Gazelle so I've decided to highlight this amazing animal this week! It has been a lot of fun learning more about the Gazelle! I was most impressed by their leaping abilities. I watched some online footage of them running and leaping and jumping and they are so graceful and beautiful.
Here are some fun facts and interesting information about the Gazelle ~
Fact #1 Gazelles are antelopes of the genus Gazella. They are generally small, delicate herbivores with tawny coloring, white underbellies, and heavily ringed horns. Most of the 19 species of gazelles inhabit Africa, but some can be found in Southwest and Central Asia. The majority of gazelles prefer open, grassy plains, living in herd sizes as small as 8 individuals to hundreds of animals. Their diet of grass, scrub and leaves keeps them constantly grazing and they have little need for water, being able to extract moisture from their food.
Fact #2 Even with all of the many predators, the Thomson's Gazelle and Grant's Gazelle thrive with impressive numbers. The Grant's Gazelle inhabits a wider range of territory in Africa while the Thomson's Gazelle has a larger population. Both species share grazing ground and the herds frequently intermingle. Even so, to tell them apart is fairly simple. The Thomson's Gazelle or Tommie, is smaller and has a striking black band, stretching from shoulder to hip, bisecting their tan and white coloring. Tommys are exceptionally alert and rely heavily upon their impressive senses of hearing, sight and smell to detect any threat.
Fact #3 Some gazelles, especially those that live in desert regions, are critically endangered. The Sand Gazelle, Cuvier's Gazelle and Dama Gazelle are among those who have seen their populations drastically decline in the last few decades. Drought, habitat destruction and poaching are all to blame. Laws and regulations have been passed to protect these species, but they are infrequently enforced so these gazelles continue to reduce in number.
Fact #4 The Sand Gazelle is not a leaper, but instead eludes predators with incredible bursts of speed, sometimes reaching 60 miles per hour.
Fact #5 Most gazelles give birth to one fawn, but it is not uncommon for the Cuvier's Gazelle to have twins.
Fact #6 The Dama Gazelle is the largest of the species, weighing about 190 lbs and standing about 42" high at the shoulder.
Fact #7 Characterized by their long slender legs, gazelles are medium-sized antelope. They are swift runners and jumpers, and when nervous or excited, will exhibit a behavior called pronking, a method of locomotion where the animal jumps vertically into the air with an arched back and lands on all four rigidly straight legs. Why gazelles do this is not clear. Some theories suggest that by making themselves more noticeable, they are signaling to predators that they are aware of the danger, or they may be showing off their fitness and strength to intimidate animals on the prowl for a meal.
Fact #8 Speke's gazelles have three to five folds of skin around their nose. It can be inflated to create a warning sound resembling a honking noise.
Fact #9 These grazing antelopes live in herds, which can consist of as few as ten or as many as several hundred animals. During the plentiful rainy season, thousands of animals can be seen gathering in large groups.
And fact #10 Gazelles typically frequent wide-open spaces and plains, where they browse on grasses, shoots, and leaves.
I hope you learned as much as I did! Also, if you what to see the cutest wild animal babies then go to http://www.zooborns.com/zooborns/page/1/ to see baby animals from all around the world! I love the site!