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Mammals of Southern Africa

Large Mammals   Smaller Mammals 

The "Big 5": Lion LeopardElephant Buffalo Rhino

A Guide to the: Klipspringer - Oreotragus oreotragus

The Klipspringer walks on the tips of its hooves, and is often sighted poised on a high, projecting rock. The hooves are cylindrical with blunt tips, and are the consistancy of hard rubber, absorbing the shock of its leaps and making it an adept climber among rocky ledges.


The name is derived from the Afrikaans (literally: 'rock leaper'), and is fully descriptive of the way in which they are able to bound up steep rock faces. The hairs of its coat are coarse, hollow and springy, which helps to cushion any abrasion from rocky projections. It has a pepper and salt colouring and this offers excellent camouflage.

When the Klipspringer senses danger, it lets off a shrill snort, and this warning is often initiated by the male and echoed by the female in a duet. These sounds can carry for up to 700 m. Their enemies include leopards, hyaenas, baboons and large birds of prey. They browse on a wide variety of shrubs and other plants, mostly within the mountainous territory it prefers, but on occasion they will forage on flatter ground. Klipspringer are found most commonly in pairs, as solitary individuals or in small family groups, although slightly larger groups may congregate temporarily at preferred feeding sites. A single lamb is born, at any time throughout the year.

More facts about Klipspringers

Kruger National Park
(South Africa)
Pilanesberg National Park (South Africa)k
Mountain Zebra National Park
Golden Gate Highlands Park
Augrabies Falls National Park
Karoo National Park

Learn more about the mammal species of Southern Africa with Wildlife Campus. This includes in-depth information about habitat, spoor, droppings, ecology...

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