This large, graceful-looking gazelle is remarkable chiefly for its long neck (gerenuk means giraffenecked in Somali) and for its long legs. It has a small, narrow head, large eyes and mobile lips, there are tuffs of hair on the knees, and the short, almost naked tail is held close against the body except in flight, when it is curled up over the animal’s back. The male has horns and is larger than the female.
Gerenuks are usually found in pairs or family parties consisting of a male and 2 to 5 females with young. They are browsers, living almost entirely on leaves and young shoots of thorny bushes and trees, which they reach by standing against the trunk on their hind legs, using a foreleg to pull down the branches, and stretching their necks. They feed morning and evening, standing still in the shade at midday. They are quite independent of water. Their main predators are cheetah, leopard, lion, hyena and hunting dog.
A single young is born, usually in the rainy season, after a gestation of about 6 1/2 months.
Range: Africa: Somalia, Ethiopia to Kenya, Tanzania.
Habitat: Dry thornbush country, desert.
Size: Body: 4 1/2 - 5 1/4 ft (1.4 - 1.6 m); Tail: 9 - 13 3/4 in (23 - 35 cm).