IMPALA - Aepyceros melampus

SIZE: Shoulder height (m) 0,9 m, (f) 0,8 m; mass (m) 50 kg, (f) 40 kg. Only males have the lyre-shaped horns.

COLOUR: Shining reddish brown coat, with clear division to fawn on the flanks turning paler to pure-white undersides. White patch on throat. Bushy tail, with white underside.
GESTATION PERIOD: 6 months

RECORD LENGTH OF HORNS: 70 cm
MOST LIKE: Springbok, but lack the latter's dark brown flank stripe separating upperparts from underparts.
HABITAT: Lightly wooded or bushed country close to water.

Impala are gregarious, and usually form herds of 6 - 20, or, they may form herds of several hundred, especially in winter. During the mating season from January to May intense rivalry builds up between males, and, with loud snorts and grunts, they will resort to threatening displays, horn-thrusting, and, occasionally, fatal duels with each other. Those males that are not old enough to defend territories form bachelor herds. Single young are born, usually in early summer: all of the impala young are born within a period of a few weeks, the timing varying with the locality.

Calves are able to join their mothers in the herd within two days of birth, which favours their chances of eluding predators such as lions, leopards, cheetahs, wild dogs and hyaenas.
Impala are the most common antelope in the Kruger National Park, and are found in large herds, particularly south of the Sabie River.

DISTRIBUTION
Impala are one of the most beautiful and graceful of the antelopes, with their shiny reddish coats and long slender legs. This bronzed prancer of the wild has the grace of a ballet dancer and, with its elegant, bounding leaps is capable of clearing heights of three metres and distances of up to 12 m at a time. Alert and extremely elusive, this gentle, fox-coloured buck will let out a quick, high-pitched snort when alarmed, taking off with astonishing leaps over long grass, bushes and small trees. They are associated with woodland, as adequate cover is essential to them. Impala are mixed feeders, as they graze and browse, depending on food availability.

WILDLIFE PARKS
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