In this lesson, we’ll learn about the impala, an antelope that lives in the African savanna and woodlands. Find out what these animals eat, about their life cycle, and the amazing way they protect themselves.
What is an Impala?
When we talk about animals in Africa, most people think of majestic lions, tall giraffes, and striped zebras.
The impala may not be as well known, but it is a strong animal with some awesome abilities.Impalas are a kind of antelope that live in the eastern and southern parts of Africa. Impalas have tan coats with white and black markings and a tail. When full grown, impalas are about 3 feet tall at the shoulders and weigh 88;167 pounds. The males look even larger because of their wide horns, which are longer than those of other antelopes in the area. Only the males have these horns.
During the rainy season, impalas eat grass. They change what they eat and travel in the dry season when there isn’t as much grass. Impalas are herbivores because they eat plants. Impalas live in the woodlands and the savanna; their ability to eat a variety of plants helps them survive.
As humans build roads and communities in their land, we affect where impalas can live and move.
The Leaping Impala
Can you imagine having to defend yourself against a lion, one of the fiercest and most powerful animals in Africa? Impalas face lions and other predators, animals that want to eat it, like cheetahs, leopards, and hyenas.Impalas live in herds or groups in the rainy season. In some ways, being in a group makes it easy for predators to find them, but impalas have a trick when they’re attacked: one impala will jump up and make a loud noise or signal that tells everyone to run! As the impalas run all over the place and make huge, long jumps, the predator gets mixed up.
Impalas can jump 33 feet long and 10 feet high!
The Impala’s Life Cycle
Although impalas can be born anytime during the year, most are born late in the dry season. For the first few days of their lives, baby impalas or fawns hide out. When they join the group, they tend to stay with other fawns. Impalas are mammals, a type of animal that drinks milk made in the mother’s mammary glands. Mammals also have hair and are warm-blooded, which means their body temperature stays at a warm temperature regardless of the environment.Male impalas use their big horns to fight each other.
The winner will keep a group of females in a herd away from other males. He mates with the females to have babies. Female impalas are pregnant for about seven months and usually have one fawn at a time. The average impala lives to be about 12 years old.