Sable Antelope

Antelope, Sable

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  • Information
  • Conservation
  • Lifestyle

Description

Sable are stunning antelope sporting a glossy black-brown coat from which they get their name. Males and females are sexually dimorphic with the males becoming darker at around 3 years of age. Both males and females have majestic, curving horns that reach 2-3.5 ft (60-100 cm) in females and 2.5-5.5 ft (80-165 cm) in males.

Classification

Class
Mammalia
Order
Cetartiodactyla
Family
Bovidae
Genus
Hippotragus
Species
H. niger
Conservation Status
Least Concern

Key Facts

Height
4-4.7 ft (~117-143 cm)
Weight
420-595 lb (~190-270 kg)

The IUCN Red List describes Hippotragus niger as a species of Least Concern with a population of 75,000 individuals. One sub-species, the giant sable (H. n. variani) is found only in Angola and is listed as Critically Endangered due to habitat loss and trophy hunting.

Social Life
Sable are active throughout the day, preferring to feed in the early morning and evening. They form herds of 10-30 females and their young led by a dominant male. Subordinate males form small bachelor herds and larger mixed herds have been observed containing over 100 individuals. Males fight for dominance by dropping to their knees and wrestling with their horns. The females also have a dominance hierarchy with one female leader that fights for the position. Males are also subordinate to the dominant females until they are large enough to challenge them. Juvenile males stay with the herd until around 3 years of age and are then exiled. Female calves typically remain in the herd. During the mating season males set up territories in the best grazing areas to attract females, only a few dominant males will be able to hold these territories. If threatened sable will run away from the threat for a short distance, then stop to look back. When pressured, they can run up to 35 mph (57 kph) for considerable distances. When wounded or cornered, sable antelope ferociously defend themselves with their saber-like horns.

Habitat and Range
Sable are found in woodlands and grasslands of south-eastern Africa from Kenya to Angola. They avoid open plains and usually only remain in an area foraging for food for several weeks before moving on to a new area.

Diet
Sable are primarily grazers feeding on grasses and herbs, though during the dry season they will browse if needed. They must visit water at least every other day and rarely travel more than 2 mi (3.2 km) from a permanent water source.

Lifespan
In the wild sable antelope can live up to 16 years and in captivity have been documented reaching over 19 years of age.

Predators
Full grown adult sable have few predators due to their size. The young, elderly and sick are susceptible to predation by lions, leopards, spotted hyenas, painted dogs and crocodiles.

Reproduction
Sexual maturity: Male: 2.5-5 years, Female: 2.5-5 years
Mating Season: May to July
Birth Season:    January to April (Wet season)
Gestation:          9 months
No. of Young:     1

Information

Description

Sable are stunning antelope sporting a glossy black-brown coat from which they get their name. Males and females are sexually dimorphic with the males becoming darker at around 3 years of age. Both males and females have majestic, curving horns that reach 2-3.5 ft (60-100 cm) in females and 2.5-5.5 ft (80-165 cm) in males.

Classification

Class
Mammalia
Order
Cetartiodactyla
Family
Bovidae
Genus
Hippotragus
Species
H. niger
Conservation Status
Least Concern

Key Facts

Height
4-4.7 ft (~117-143 cm)
Weight
420-595 lb (~190-270 kg)
Conservation

The IUCN Red List describes Hippotragus niger as a species of Least Concern with a population of 75,000 individuals. One sub-species, the giant sable (H. n. variani) is found only in Angola and is listed as Critically Endangered due to habitat loss and trophy hunting.

Lifestyle

Social Life
Sable are active throughout the day, preferring to feed in the early morning and evening. They form herds of 10-30 females and their young led by a dominant male. Subordinate males form small bachelor herds and larger mixed herds have been observed containing over 100 individuals. Males fight for dominance by dropping to their knees and wrestling with their horns. The females also have a dominance hierarchy with one female leader that fights for the position. Males are also subordinate to the dominant females until they are large enough to challenge them. Juvenile males stay with the herd until around 3 years of age and are then exiled. Female calves typically remain in the herd. During the mating season males set up territories in the best grazing areas to attract females, only a few dominant males will be able to hold these territories. If threatened sable will run away from the threat for a short distance, then stop to look back. When pressured, they can run up to 35 mph (57 kph) for considerable distances. When wounded or cornered, sable antelope ferociously defend themselves with their saber-like horns.

Habitat and Range
Sable are found in woodlands and grasslands of south-eastern Africa from Kenya to Angola. They avoid open plains and usually only remain in an area foraging for food for several weeks before moving on to a new area.

Diet
Sable are primarily grazers feeding on grasses and herbs, though during the dry season they will browse if needed. They must visit water at least every other day and rarely travel more than 2 mi (3.2 km) from a permanent water source.

Lifespan
In the wild sable antelope can live up to 16 years and in captivity have been documented reaching over 19 years of age.

Predators
Full grown adult sable have few predators due to their size. The young, elderly and sick are susceptible to predation by lions, leopards, spotted hyenas, painted dogs and crocodiles.

Reproduction
Sexual maturity: Male: 2.5-5 years, Female: 2.5-5 years
Mating Season: May to July
Birth Season:    January to April (Wet season)
Gestation:          9 months
No. of Young:     1

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Antelope, Sable