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The diurnal gerenuk requires very little water, and may not drink at all during its life. The gerenuk is exclusively a browser. To reach leaves on taller trees, the gerenuk stands on its hind legs, resting its forelegs on the branches of the tree to steady itself. From this position, it plucks the tender leaves from the branches with its long upper lip and tongue. When a gerenuk sees a strange object, it freezes and hides behind a bush, looking over the cover with the help of its long neck. When startled, the gerenuk runs off in a crouched trot with its head held level with its body. Population densities average about 0.6 animals per square kilometer. Home range sizes vary from 1.5-3.5 square kilometers, with the edges overlapping. Mature males become territorial, marking their areas with urine, feces, and glandular secretions.
The smooth coat is a reddish fawn, with the underparts and front of neck being white. Along the back is a darker band or saddle, which reaches partly down the sides. The neck is long and slender - only 18-26 cm / 7-10 inches in diameter - and has led to the gerenuk’s name of ‘giraffe-gazelle’. The skinny body is supported by long, slender legs. The head is wedge-shaped and is somewhat flattened. There is a ring of white around the eye, and the ears are long and skinny.
Family group: Solitary or in single sex groups of up to 10 animals.
Diet: Leaves of bushes and trees, shoots, buds, fruits, and blossoms.
Main Predators: Cheetah, leopard, lion, Cape hunting dog, hyena.
Other posts with photos by njwight:
Cape Hunting Dog
Little Bee Eater
Yes…these are my own ears.