Grant's Gazelle (Gazella granti
Grant's Gazelle have fawn-coloured upperparts and outer leg surfaces & white underparts, including the inner surfaces of their legs. They have black stripes each side of their white buttocks. An often indistinct grey / black stripe runs across the top of the belly and above the line separating the upper and lower colours. A black 'stripe' goes over the eye, which is surrounded by white and the white runs down to their nose. A black 'saddle' over the otherwise rufous snout. Rams have extremely thick necks, used often in intimidation of younger males.
The ram has the largest horns, which are up to 30" (75cm) and slope backwards, then outwards. Horns are heavily ringed.
Grant's Gazelle are the largest Gazelle in East Africa, males standing up to 37" (95cm) at the shoulder and 72" (1.82 metres) total length. They weigh up to 176lbs (80kg). Resident
Grant's Gazelles are seen in Kenya's Turkana, Samburu, Meru, Nairobi, Masai Mara, Amboseli and Tsavo National Parks. They are often seen in open grass plains or bushy savannas, avoiding areas of high grass, because of the possibility of predation. Longevity
Courting begins with a ram following a doe, waiting for her to urinate, upon which, he uses the 'Flehmen response' (inhales with the nostrils closed, transferring pheromones into an organ located above the roof of the mouth), to determine if she is in oestrus. If she is, he will follow her, waiting for her to lift her tail, signalling she is ready to mate. After a 7 month gestation period, a single Grant's Gazelle fawn, weighing approximately 6 kilos, is dropped and the mother eats the afterbirth, both for nourishment and to allay any scent attracting predators. The fawn can stand within a short space of time and suckles, before finding a hiding place. The mother suckles the fawn, on average, four times a day, returning to the hiding place each time. This continues for approximately 2 weeks, until the fawn gains sufficient strength to be able to run. It doesn't take any solid food for the first 4 weeks of its life, but continues to suckle for around 6 months. At 18 months, the youngster will become sexually mature and rams join bachelor herds. Grant's Gazelles live up to 12 years in the wild. Predators
Grant's Gazelles are predated by the big cats; Lion
and occasionally, Leopard
. They are also taken by Hyena
and African Wild Dogs. Jackal
will predate the young Gazelles. Man has long been associated with killing Grant's Gazelle, for the meat, skins and horns, for trophies. Behaviour
Males have harems of 10 - 25 females and are very territorial, although many females 'escape' and wander through neighbouring males territories. Males deposit urine and dung around the perimeter of their territory, using exaggerated squatting and stretching, while doing so. Batchelor herds fight, when young, but also take up the posturing exercises, as they grow older, seeming to learn that this is a better method than confrontation. Grant's Gazelle can run very fast, up to 50mph (80kph). Diet
Grant's Gazelles are herbivorous, mostly grazing on grass. During times of drought, they also browse on foliage. These Gazelles do not require water, gaining most of the liquid requirements from their food. Other Grant's Gazelle Facts
Grant's Gazelle and Thomson's Gazelle
are very similar in markings. Grant's are substantially larger and lack the distinct black stripe that separates the upper and lower parts. Grant's have a white patch above the tail and Thompson's have an all black tail (Grant's has white at the top).
Grant's Gazelles have large saliver glands, storing liquid from their food for later use to quench their bodies.
Grant's Gazelle were named after Lt. Col. James Augustus Grant (1827 - 1892), a Scottish explorer, the only animal or bird named after this person. It does, however, have six sub-species, each named "Gazella granti [xyz]".
The species Robert's Gazelle (Gazella granti robertsi), male's horns are sweep backwards and then outwards and have downward pointing tips. Robert's are seen only around Kenya's Loita Plains. They are seen with Grant's and sometimes one horn will be Robert's and the other, Grant's, indicating some possible interbreeding. Photographs
Images taken in Kenya's Olare Orok Conservancy.