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Mammals of Southern Africa

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A Guide to the: Steenbok - Raphicerus campestris

The Steenbok is a graceful little buck, with large ears, long, slender legs, a slim body and a tiny tuft of a tail. It gets its name from the Afrikaans steen (meaning 'brick'): a reference to the overall colour of the species. It is often sighted feeding at the side of a newly constructed road, grassland clearing or firebreak (wherever there is fresh, new vegetation), particularly in the early morning or evening. Steenbok are mixed feeders, preferring a rich diet of easily digestible forbs and grasses. When frightened it lies down quietly in the grass, but if disturbed it zig-zags through the undergrowth with its head forward. Occasionally it may hide in an aardvark hole.

The steenbok has many enemies, including jackals, wild dogs, leopards, cheetahs, martial eagles and pythons. When the steenbok is distressed it emits pitiful screams. Steenbok establish well-defined but overlapping territories, which both sexes will defend against trespassers, and mark their territory using glands between the hooves on the front and back feet, a gland between the two halves of the lower jaw, and with glands just in front of the eyes. Steenbok are normally solitary, except when a mother is with her young or when a male and female are courting. A single calf (rarely twins) is born at any time of year.

More facts about Steenbok

Kruger National Park
(South Africa)
Pilanesberg National Park (South Africa)
Hluhluwe-Umfolozi National Park
Kalahari Gemsbok National Park
Golden Gate Highlands National Park
Mountain Zebra National Park
Augrabies Falls National Park
Bontebok National Park
Vaalbos National Park
Langebaan 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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