The name klipspringer comes from the Afrikaans language and describes the mammal’s ability to jump from rock to rock or its capability to climb up steep rock faces.
This distinctive antelope has a dark-grey bristly coat and an almost speckled appearance.
Klipspringer is a stocky antelope with a short neck and large hindquarters, which help it jump from rock to rock. Its ears are rounded and large, and it has a small and rudimentary tail. The hoof structure is unique because the last joints of the digits are rotated so that the klipspringers can walk on the tips of their hooves.
Walking wears down its hooves, giving them a cylindrical shape suitable for a lifestyle on the rocks. Klipspringers secrete pheromones from their preorbital glands, which are narrow black slits in the corners of their eyes.
The scent glands are more developed in males than females.
Klipspringers are active both day and night, but most are active early in the morning and late in the afternoon. Throughout the remainder of the day, they tend to hide in the shade to avoid the heat. When temperatures are cool, klipspringers will remain active throughout the day.
When a klipspringer invades another klipspringer’s territory, the male tactically chases the intruder away. If the intruder is persistent, the Klipspringer will display aggressive behaviours, such as dominance displays, defensive displays, and fighting as a last resort.
A dominance display includes horn presentation without lowering the anterior part of the body. In contrast, a defensive display involves lowering the head with the chin out while biting the intruder.
Males that fight will lower their horns and butt heads, whereas females will bite and rip each other’s fur out.
Where to find them
Klipspringers are restricted to rocky habitats, including rocky hills or outcrops, koppies, and gorges with rocky sides.
They can be found on rocky mountains as high as 4000 meters tall. Klipspringers will also travel up to 10 km along flat land between isolated koppies.
In Uganda, the Klipspringer lives in the Kidepo Valley and Lake Mburo National Parks.