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Klipspringer

The Ballerinas of African Wildlife: The Klipspringer (‘rock jumper’ in Afrikaans) is a small African antelope that lives on rocky outcrops from the Cape of Good Hope all the way up East Africa and into Ethiopia. Known for their remarkable jumping ability, klipspringers live singly or in life-long monogamous relationships – in which pairs spend most of their time within a few metres of each other. The males are fiercely territorial.

Leopard, Jackals, and Spotted Hyena prey on Klipspringer. Lambs are vulnerable to Eagles and Baboons. Because Klipspringers must often leave their refuges to forage, they are very alert to predators and to alarm signals of other species. They react by fleeing to higher ground with or without first calling, the female leading. Once safe, they give whistling alarm calls in duet.

Klipspringers have specially adapted hoofs for living in their rocky territories. They stand, walk, leap, and land on their tiny hoof tips like ballerinas constantly on tip toe. Their hooves are the consistency of hard rubber, absorbing the shock of their huge leaps. They have remarkable dense, coarse coats consisting of hollow hairs that rustle when shaken or touched. This unique quality hair helps to cushion their bodies from any abrasion from sharp rocks.