Gerenuk (Litocranius walleri)
aka Giraffe-necked Antelope or Waller's Gazelle

Appearance
Gerenuk are a very long-legged and long, thin-necked Antelope. Thus its alternative name "Giraffe-necked Antelope". Its upperparts are a red-ish beige, with pale grey sides. Its underparts are white. Their tails are short and tipped with black. The small head looks 'pinched' when viewed front-on. Huge dark eyes are ringed with white. Its ears are large ovals, pointed at the end, with black inside. Only the rams have horns, which grow longer and are more ringed as they age and sweep backwards, before tilting forward at the tips.
Gerenuk are up to 39" (1 metre) at the shoulder and 77" (1.95 metres) total length. They weigh up to 110lbs (50kg).

Resident
Gerenuk are endemic to Africa and the most important populations are found in Kenya, particularly in Tsavo, Meru and Samburu National Parks. They favour arid thorn scrub and thickets.

Longevity
After a gestation period of 210 days, a single lamb is born, weighing 7lbs (3kg). Gerenuk plan births to coincide with the rainy season, ensuring sufficient food. Females reach sexual maturity at 12 months, males at 18 months. In the wild, Gerenuk live for up to 10 years.

Predators
Gerenuk are preyed on by Lion, Leopard, Cheetah and Jackal.

Behaviour
Gerenuk are often found on their own, but small groups with a dominant ram are also common, as are groups of ewes and their lambs or batchelor groups. A group can be several metres apart from one-another. Rams are very territorial, fighting off any intruding Rams. A ram may not aquire their harem until 3 - 4 years of age. Their territories typically cover 4 square kilometres. Female Gerenuk groups are found to wander across the territories of several males.

Diet
When feeding, Gerenuk's long legs and necks enable them to reach their food easily and can also stand on their hind legs for additional reach. Gerenuk favour Acacia, but also eat a range of buds, tips of fresh twig growth and flowers. Gerenuk do not drink water, gaining sufficient liquid from their food.

Other Gerenuk Facts
The Gerenuk's long legs enable it to run very fast and their predators often need to ambush, rather than run after these Antelope.
Gerenuk have scent glands in front of their eyes, that provide a thick substance that they deposit on twigs and branches around the perimeter of their territory. Other scent glands are on their knees, covered by tufts of black hair and others still between their hooves.

Photographs
Images taken in Kenya's Meru and Tsavo East National Parks.

Categories & Keywords
Category:Animals
Subcategory:Wildlife
Subcategory Detail:
Keywords:animal, antelope, gazelle, gazelle, gerenuk, giraffe-necked antelope, kenya, waller's, wildlife

Gerenuk ~ Female, Running

A female Gerenuk, running from our approaching vehicle in Kenya's Tsavo East National Park.

Gerenuk ~ Female, Side Profile

Female Gerenuk, standing side-on to the camera in Kenya's Meru National Park.

Gerenuk ~ Male, Facing Camera

Male Gerenuk (Giraffe-necked Antelope), standing sideways, with head turned, facing the camera.

Gerenuk ~ Male, Pair

Two male Gerenuk, facing the same way, heads raised, in Kenya's Meru National Park.

Gerenuk ~ Female, Facing Camera

A female Gerenuk, standing side-on to the camera, with head turned, in Kenya's Meru National Park.