​Size

Gemsbok stand approximately 1.2 m at the shoulder.

Weight

Males weigh between 220-300 kg and females weigh 100-200 kgs.

Habitat

Originally, various oryx species were found in all of Africa's arid regions. One species that occurred on the Arabian Peninsula was exterminated recently but has now been reintroduced into the wild from captive stock. Well adapted to the conditions of their hot, arid habitats, oryx can live as long as 20 years.

Diet - Herbivores

Oryx typically feed in early morning and late afternoon and sometimes on moonlit nights. Their diets consists mainly of coarse grasses and browse from thorny shrubs. In desert areas they consume thick leaved plants, wild melons, as well as roots and tubers they dig out of the ground. Gemsbock may drink if water is available but can survive days or even weeks without it.

Plants growing in arid areas inhabited by oryx have also adapted to the hot, dry conditions and either store water or have mechanisms to prevent excess loss. Plants collect dew, gradually releasing it during the hotter parts of the day. Some plants increase their water content by 25 to 40 percent, so when oryx feed late at night or early in the morning, it provides them with both food and water.

Socialisation

Gemsbok are gregarious animals congregating in groups of 50 to 200, although the average number is 14. In larger groups you will usually find more females than males, but herds are mixed. A large proportion of males remain solitary and defend a territory. Several hundred eland sometimes gather, and males may spend a few hours or even weeks with a female group before becoming solitary again.

Reproduction

The female comes into heat soon after giving birth. The more frequent estrus cycles enable females to produce calves at 9-month intervals.

Gestation

Gestation is 8.5 months.

Life Expectancy

18 years in the wild, up to 20 years in captivity.

Predators

Humans
Lions
Cheetahs
Spotted hyenas