Oryx (Gemsbok)



Oryx stand about 120 cm / 48 inch at the shoulder and have a mass of about 190 kg / 419 lb.. They are one of our most handsome species with their long, diverging, almost straight horns which, seen from the front, rise in a V-shape, their distinctively marked faces and bodies, and the long flowing black hair of their tails.

The facial markings are characteristic. The background colour is white with a black patch between the horns., joined to a broad black patch on the top of the muzzle by a thin black line. A broad black band on the flanks contrasts with their white under parts of the body. The upper parts of the limbs are black, the lower parts are white.

Arid bush-grass savannah, even semi-desert and desert.

In the central north, in western, north-western and southern Namibia.

Main food:
Oryx are essentially selective grazers (aristida, schmidtia), but they also feed on wild melons and cucumbers, and on bulbs and tubers. Not dependent on water.

Rutting period:
December - January

Calving period:
Throughout the year, peak period August/October.

Both sexes carry horns. Cows often have lighter and longer horns. Bull's horns up to 110 cm / 44 inch and the cow's horns are up to  120 cm / 47 inch.

Oryx are gregarious, occurring in herds of 30 - 40 or more. Old bulls are often solitary. Oryx drink when water is available. They have a preference for salt-lick and brackish soil. When disturbed they can crawl through a fence at high speed. They are an aggressive and belligerent species. Sick and injured animals are dangerous since they will attack people and dogs. Oryx are extremely adaptable to even extreme climatic conditions, being the reason why Oryx survive droughts more successfully than other species. In spite of their large populations, Oryx are not always seen. They tend to undertake long walks, especially at the beginning of the rainy season, since they have a particular liking for fresh grass.

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