Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

Thomson's Gazelle

        Animals | Hoofed Mammals

Thomson's Gazelle
Thomson's Gazelle
Jeff Foott/DCI

Thomson's gazelles are mainly grazers, feeding on grasses, herbs, and leaves of plants in the open plains.

Their herds, which are composed of a dominant male, females, and their young, contain anywhere from five to fifty individuals.

The dominant male marks off his territory with urine and feces and regularly patrols its perimeter to keep his herd together. When he meets another male, they go head to head and push each other to establish rank.

Thomson's gazelles are known for a behavior called stotting: They bounce on all fours in a stiff-legged fashion that propels them up into the air, providing them with a better view of approaching danger and making them less vulnerable to attack.

Animal Facts:

Name: Thomson's Gazelle (Gazella thomsoni)

Family: Bovidae (Cattle and Relatives)

Range: Kenya, Tanzania, southern Sudan

Habitat: Grassy plains to brushy forests

Diet: Short grasses, seeds and shrubs

Head and Body Length: 31 to 43 inches (80 to 110 cm)

Tail Length: 7.5 to 11 inches (19 to 27 cm)

Shoulder Height: 22 to 26 inches (55 to 65 cm)

Weight: 33 to 66 pounds (15 to 30 kg)

Life Cycle: Mating January to February and in July; gestation 160 to 180 days, one (rarely two) calves born; sometimes two births per year

Description: Fawn or cinnamon back; black flank band; white underside; white eye-rings; black cheep stripes; dark, ringed horns; black tail

Conservation Status: Lower Risk (Conservation Dependent)

Major Threat: Hunting

What Can I Do?: Visit the African Wildlife Foundation for information on how you can help.