Visible Male/Female Differences
Only males have horns.
Habitat and Distribution
Open woodland. Dependent on water and
stays within 8-15km from water.
A very selective grazer and browser. Eats flowers, fruits, pods, bark and fallen
leaves. Grass is preferred.
Single lambs weighing 5 kg, is born after a gestation of 194-200 days.
Lambs lie hidden for a day or two. Breeding stimulated by shorter day length, peaking at the dark phase of the moon in
autumn. Breeding and birth seasons are short, but occur at
different times in different localities. Females first lamb at 2 years; males are sexually
mature at 13 months, but do not breed until 4-5 years old, when they establish
territories. Lifespan 12 years. Males fight during the rutting season and utter
loud, short roars. When fighting the tongue flickers in and out of the mouth
with simultaneous contractions of the testicles. Territory holders
advertise their status by 'roaring', which sounds like a mixture of cough and belch, with
the neck stretched forward and the head tipped upwards, and parading with the penis
Behavior and Habits
Active during the day. Females and young live in breeding herds, usually of about
6-20, which may include a few adult
males. In January bachelor
herds split up as males' testosterone levels escalate and fighting becomes more frequent and intense.
Males thrash bushes with their horns, urinate and defecate in large middens and scent mark by rubbing their foreheads on
twigs and grass. Intruders are deterred by snorting, chasing and threats with the horns.
Unrepentant intruders are attacked with charges and fencing with locked horns,.
Skirmishes are short but serious and injuries such as broken horns and death are not uncommon.
Alarmed impala will scatter in all directions, run away fast interspaced with graceful leaps up to 3 m
high and 12 m long.
The incisor teeth are loose in their sockets and used for
grooming. They are also the
only one of the medium and small antelope that usually have oxpecker birds on them. Reciprocal
grooming between herd members is an important social time and removes ticks from areas that
individual cannot reach. Territorial rams are too busy to groom and they carry
six times more ticks.
A roar followed by a series of snorts. A snort is the alarm call and a soft
grunt is made when undisturbed.
Dung and Field sign
During the rut, horned bushes, middens. The dung pellets are 1,5 cm long, tapered at
one end, blunt or hollow at the other.