Sable Antelope (Hippotragus niger)


Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family:    Bovidae
Size:    Length: 6 to 9 feet (1.8 to 2.7 m)
Weight: 330 to 661 pounds (150 to 300 kg)
Diet: Grass, leaves
Distribution: Africa
Young:  1 calf per year
Animal Predators:  Lions. Hyenas and leopards prey on juvenile sable antelopes
IUCN Status: Lower Risk, Conservation Dependent
Terms: Young: Calf  Group:  Herd
Lifespan: Up to 20 years



·            The blue buck, a related species, became extinct around 1800. 

·            The scientific name, Hippotragus niger, means black horse-like goat. 



Both males and females have stout, heavily ringed horns.  Adult males are predominantly black, while females and juveniles are chestnut in colour.  Their fur is short and glossy and their undersides are lighter in colour. Sable antelopes have a short, upright mane and a long tail with a tufted tip. They have four chambered stomachs and like cows, they chew their cud, which means they regurgitate recently-eaten food, then chew it and swallow it again.



Sable antelope are found in the savanna woodlands and grasslands of southern Kenya,eastern Tanzania, Mozambique to Angola, southern Zaire and South Africa. They need to drink daily, so they never move more than 2.5 miles (4 km) from water. 


Feeding Habits

They mainly eat grass, but may eat leaves as well, during the dry season.



A female can begin to reproduce at two years of age.  The gestation period ranges from eight to nine months.  Births usually occur at the end of the rainy season. Calves weigh 24 to 40 lbs. (13 to 18 kg) at birth. Calves are weaned at six to eight months. When they reach three to four years of age, young males leave the herd to join bachelor herds. 



Sable antelopes live in herds of 25 to 100 antelopes. Herds are made up of one adult male, several females, and their offspring. During the rainy season, the herd will break up into smaller groups. They run when approached by a predator, at speeds of up to 35 mph (57 km per hour). When cornered, a sable antelope will use its horns to protect itself.



A subspecies, Hippotragus niger variani, which is a giant sable antelope, is listed as Critically Endangered by the IUCN. Habitat destruction and poaching are threats to the sable antelope.