Photo: Thomson's gazelles running

In addition to running at high speeds, Thomson's gazelles also use a bounding leap, called "stotting" or "pronking," to avoid predators.

Photograph by A & M Shah/Animals Animals—Earth Scenes

Map

Map: Gazelle range

Thomson's Gazelle Range

Fast Facts

Type:
Mammal
Diet:
Herbivore
Average life span in the wild:
10 to 12 Years
Size:
Height at the shoulder, 20 to 43 in (51 to 109 cm)
Weight:
26 to 165 lbs (12 to 75 kg)
Group name:
Herd
Size relative to a 6-ft (2-m) man:
Illustration: Gazelle compared with adult man

Gazelles are medium-sized antelopes found in Africa and in Asia as far east as Mongolia. There are some 19 different species of gazelles.

These grazing antelopes live in herds, which can consist of as few as ten or as many as several hundred animals. During the plentiful rainy season, thousands of animals can be seen gathering in large groups.

Gazelles typically frequent wide-open spaces and plains, where they browse on grasses, shoots, and leaves.

Open plains make them visible to predators like cheetahs or wild dogs, but gazelles are fleet of foot. The Thomson's gazelle can reach speeds of 40 miles (64 kilometers) an hour.

Some gazelle species eschew the grasslands for mountainous landscapes or even deserts. During the dry season some grassland gazelles will even take to the African bush in search of water.

Gazelles are nimble and beautiful animals, with a variety of stripes and markings that accentuate their tan buff coats and white rumps. They also boast a impressive, ringed horns. These attributes make many gazelles attractive as game animals.

After a pregnancy of about six months, female gazelles give birth to one or two young and hide them in the plains grasses. These infants will remain out of sight for days or even weeks, being periodically nursed by their mother, until they are old enough to join the mother's herd, in the case of females, or a bachelor herd.

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