klipspringer, klipbokkie [Afrikaans]; Klippspringer [German]; oréotrague
[French]; ngurunguru, mbuzi mawe [Swahili]; igogo [isiNdebele] [isiZulu]; kololo,
kome [Sepedi]; kome, sekome [Sesotho]; kololo, mokabaowane, mokabaeyane [Setswana];
ngururu [Shona]; ligoka, inyamatane, ligoga [siSwati]; ngululu, xemi [Xitsonga]; || Khaises [Nama] [Damara]
Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Deuterostomia >
Chordata > Craniata > Vertebrata (vertebrates) >
Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates) > Teleostomi (teleost
fish) > Osteichthyes (bony fish) > Class:
Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fish) > Stegocephalia
(terrestrial vertebrates) > Reptiliomorpha > Amniota >
Synapsida (mammal-like reptiles) > Therapsida > Theriodontia
> Cynodontia > Mammalia (mammals)
> Placentalia (placental mammals) >
Laurasiatheria > Ferungulata > Cetartiodactyla (even-toed ungulates and cetaceans)
> Ruminantia (ruminants) > Family:
Bovidae (antelopes and buffalo) > Subfamily: Antilopinae
The common name is derived from Afrikaans and means “rock
jumper”, as the klipspringer is extremely agile at moving across rocky outcrops
and steep rocky slopes. A member of the dwarf antelopes this small stocky
antelope has a distinctive coat coarse, hollow, spiny hair. The black tips of
the hairs give the coat a grizzled appearance with the basic colour yellow-brown
to grey-brown. The underparts, the chin and the muzzle surrounding the lips are
almost white. The stocky appearance is the result of the hair that stands almost
erect rather than lying flat as in a typical coat. The ears are large and
rounded with black hair bordering the inner edge. Only the ram carries short,
vertical horns, which are spiraled at the base. There is a black ring around the
top of the hooves. The females are slightly larger than the males and hornless.
Klipspringers have a characteristic stilted gait with a bouncing motion and walk
on the very tips of their peg-like hooves. The hooves have a long sole and are
blunt at the tips.
Shoulder height 60 cm; weight 10 kg (ram), 13 kg
(ewe); average horn length 8 cm.
I C P M =
Distribution and habitat
Wide but patchy distribution throughout the southern
African subregion; always associated with rocky habitats with thick scrub-bush.
Klipspringer are only found in rocky habitats, the
inaccessible nature of the habitat and the sheltering crevices provide
protection from predators. They are active in the early morning and the late
afternoon, and throughout the day on cool days. They occur in pairs or small
family groups. Rams are territorial and territories are marked using communal
dung piles and secretions from the well-developed preorbital gland in front of
For a long time it was thought that the hollow bristly hair
had a cushioning effect if the klipspringer should fall and knock itself against
rocks, but it is now accepted that it has a function in regulating the
temperature of the antelope. It insulates them against extreme cold and heat,
and reflects the heat from their surroundings during the hotter times of the
day. Years ago their hair was prized for stuffing saddles.
Predominantly a browser but will graze on grass
After a gestation period of about 210 days, a single lamb
is born, at anytime of the year. The lamb remains hidden for the first 2 – 3
months after birth. The young are weaned at 3-4 months. Life span: 14 years –
Predators, parasites and commensals
caracal and large birds of prey.
The conservation of the klipspringer is rated as “lower
risk”, but is dependant on their protection within conservation areas.