Antelope, a horned mammal of Africa and Asia. It is related to cattle, sheep, goats, and buffalo. Like other ruminants (animals that chew their cud), antelopes have cleft, or divided, hooves. There are 31 genera of antelopes and more than 90 species. Antelopes range in height at the shoulder from one to six feet (0.3 to 1.8 m). The smallest species is the pygmy, or royal, antelope and the largest is the giant eland. In most species, both sexes have horns. Some horns are short and straight; others are long and curved, in a spiral or in the shape of a lyre.The eland has long, spiraled horns and is the largest African antelope.
Most species of antelopes live in grassy plains and savannas, some inhabit desert regions, and others are found only in dense forests. Some species congregate in herds of 15 to more than 100 animals. In some species, the leader of the herd, which is always a male, marks the herd's territory with a musky hormone secreted by scent glands. Antelopes are swift runners and one group, the gazelles, are particularly noted for their speed and graceful leaps.
The pronghorn, or American antelope, is not a true antelope.
Antelope are hoofed mammals with horns. But their horns do not all look alike. Some kinds of antelope have short, straight horns. Others have long, curved horns that sometimes spiral in a twist. Some antelope horns are smooth, while others have ridges on them.
In many kinds of antelope, both males and females grow horns. But the horns of the males are usually bigger.
Antelope may look like deer, but they actually belong to the same family as goats, sheep, and cattle. Antelope horns, unlike deer antlers, grow once and last for life. Also, antelope horns never fork out in a tree-branch pattern, as do antlers. Instead, they form around a single bony core.
Antelopes make up the subfamily Antilopinae of the family Bovidae. The pygmy antelope is Neotragus pygmaeus; the giant eland, Tragelaphus derbianus.