Klipspringers are agile little antelopes that live on or around rocky outcrops in dry parts of eastern and southern Africa. They are commonly seen on cliffs and in rocky highland areas. However, the fragmented nature of their habitat means that they live in relatively small populations.
The name klipspringer means “rock jumper” in Afrikaans. The antelopes are well suited to life in steep habitats. Most antelopes have long, extended legs to allow them to run quickly across the open savannah. However, klipspringers' legs are short and robust compared to other antelopes, which makes them more sure-footed and able to withstand jumps on to hard surfaces.
Male klipspingers have horns, which are short and spike-like. However, the females are slightly larger.
The klipspringer's hair is unique among the antelopes and other bovine animals because it is hollow and only loosely connected to the skin. This makes it much more similar to the hair of deer and the unusual pronghorns of North America. Klipspringers live in monogamous pairs, which defend a territory together, using their droppings and scent marks from a gland on their faces to advertise their claim to the land. The couple are seldom far from each other. Each year they produce a single calf after a gestation (pregnancy) of about five months. Only half the calves survive their first year.
Distribution: Eastern and southern Africa from southern Sudan and Ethiopia to Namibia and most of South Africa.
Habitat: Rocky terrain in dry areas.
Food: Leaves and fruits.
Size: 75 - 90 cm (2.5 - 3 ft); 10 - 15 kg (22 - 33 lb).
Maturity: 1 year. The young are forced out of their parent's territory at the age of 7 months.
Breeding: A single calf born each year. Twins are produced on rare occasions.
Life span: 14 years.
Status: Lower risk.