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Springbok in Etosha National Park, Namibia

Springbok grooming

Antidorcas marsupilis

Springboks are able to 'split' the fawn coloured hair right up the centre of their back from their rumps, revealing underlying white hair which they can 'puff up'. They do this when pronking, but not exclusively then. You can see a small tuft of these white hairs sticking up just in front of this Springbok's nose. Apparently (according to Kingdon's Field Guide to African Mammals these white hairs are saturated with scent from the glands that line the spinal pouch, so the animal gives off olfactory messages as well as visual ones.
It's incredible how Springbok can survive on what seems to our eyes to be 'next to nothing' - it has modified teeth to cope with coarse plants on dry, winter 'pastures'. Young Springbok
Springboks grappling Again according to Kingdon, more frequent head-butting than is usual in other gazelle species, the Springbok has "developed hollow backward-swept horns which are better able to absorb the force of heavy blows and so better insulate the brain".
These Springboks, however, seem more intent on contemplating the inner significance of the bolus.
More Etosha images:
Travel Diary Sossussvlei Birds Swakop/Walvis Bay Hobatere Himba People Home
Welwitschia Cape Cross Etosha Moon Landscape Okonjima Twyfelfontein Misc
Images and text © Liz Leyden 2008.
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