NOT YOUR FATHER’S IMPALA
This particular impala does not have wheels, but it sure can move!
Let’s take a look at this graceful mammal. It is an iconic animal of Africa. I have always been fascinated by how it leaps and pronks. A pronk is a leap typical of the impalas, gazelles and springboks in particular, and it is distinguished by an arched back.
Photo Credit: Wikipedia – Springbok pronking
Impalas are one of the fastest animals on the planet. They can go from a standing position to a leap of more than ten feet, and they can reach speeds of up to 50 miles an hour. While in a full run, the Impala can leap more than 32 feet. Their lightweight frame enables them to reach such heights and speeds. Thus, the Impala has adapted to living successfully among such hunters as lions, cheetahs, and leopards, which are sprinters and not long distance runners.
The male Impala is significantly larger than the female and can weigh up to 130 pounds. The female will average 80 pounds. They have a varied diet. During the wet season, they enjoy grazing on grass. When the land begins to dry, they will begin munching on shrubs and bushes. Impalas will also enjoy fruits when they are available. The fact that they have this varied diet makes it easy for Impala to obtain food throughout the year. As a result, Impala do not make massive migrations for food, as other African mammals will. They can be found in Africa from South Africa to Kenya, Namibia to Mozambique.
The Impala has some very unusual and distinctive markings, on both the face and the hindquarters.
There are a number of subspecies of Impala. The common Impala that we have been discussing is not threatened, but the Black-Faced Impala is endangered, and nearly extinct in certain areas of the continent.
Photo credit: http://travel4wildlife.com/destinations/southern-africa/namibia-wildlife-travel-guide/
Photo Credit: Iris Braun www.irisbraun.com
The Impala and the Red-billed Oxpecker have an unusual relationship—it’s called mutualism. Both the Impala and the Oxpecker benefit from this unusual relationship. The Oxpecker loves to eat ticks, and it can eat up to 100 ticks and 1000 larvae a day. They spend a lot of time eating the ticks and larvae off of the Impala. Basically, the bird keeps the Impala free of nasty bugs.
Photo credit: gerdavs
I hope you enjoyed and learned a bit from this short post. If you would like to learn more about Impalas, visit:
To learn more about Red-billed Oxpeckers, visit:
Thanks for visiting, and please return again next week.
Jeanne E. Rogers, Award Winning Author
The Sword of Demelza and The Gift of Sunderland
Middle Grade Fantasy Where Endangered Animal Heroes Roam the Pages!