Tanzania: Serenegeti NP – Klipspringers
Klipspringer is another antelope I haven’t seen before and it also probably wins the award for cutest. Klipspringer literally means “rock jumper” in Dutch/Afrikaans. These little antelopes are specialized to live in the rocks and are found in the kopje rocks of the northern part of the Serengeti National Park. Unlike most other antelopes, the klipspringer has a thick and coarse coat with hollow, brittle hairs that are used as both insulation and shock absorber when they jump and fall off rocks (or rocks fall on them). They spend most of the day resting or standing on top of kopje rocks and occasionally reaching out to a bush growing around the rocks for food. Klipspringer diet consists mostly of succulent plants growing around the rocks, as such the antelopes don’t need water. Another feature unique to the klipspringer is that it walks on the tips of its cylindrical hooves that look like rubber providing an amazing sure-footedness and allowing the animal to literally spring and jump on rocks. When they walk it appears like a tiptoe walking. Sometimes klipspringer are called “dancing antelopes” or “African ballerinas”. Klipspringers hold records for highest jumping antelopes – being less then a meter tall they can jump up to eight meter (yes it’s not a typo, 8 meters high, I double checked!). Klipspringers are monogamous (unlike most other antelopes) and mate for life.