Most young impala are born around mid-day as this is the safest time to give birth since most of their enemies are resting. Half of newborn are killed by predators within the first few weeks of life.
Amazing Facts About the Impala
- The impala is one of the most common and most graceful of all Africa’s antelopes. A slender, agile creature, it can clear formidable obstacles and run at speeds faster than 60km/h. They are fleet runners who can leap up to 10m in length and 3m in height. They use their tremendous speed and agility to avoid predation, and seemingly for pure enjoyment.
- Males are known as rams, while females are referred to as ewes and have no horns. Male impalas have Lyre-shaped and ringed horns, up to 75cm long. The male’s horns can take many years to reach full length, which is why young animals are unlikely to establish a dominant position and breeding territory.
- Male impalas produce a scent from a gland on their foreheads to advertise their status to rivals. When he loses his rank, a male produces less scent. Males will fight for status and territory throughout the mating season, using their antlers as weapons.
- Most young impala are born around mid-day as this is the safest time to give birth since most of their enemies are resting. Half of newborn are killed by predators within the first few weeks of life.
- Mothers can delay giving birth for a month if the weather conditions are harsh, such as during the wet season. The sex ratio among impala is weighed in favour of the female, with twice as many females born each year.
- Impalas decrease their chances of attack when living in herds. They leap and scatter in all directions when being attacked to confuse the predator.
- As they also must drink every day and knowing that predators, such as the lion, frequently lie in wait around waterholes at dusk, they often drink during the hottest part of the day. At this time, the predators are at their most sluggish.
- The impala is rarely seen on its own. Females and young animals form herds of up to 100 individuals, while males live in a bachelor group of about 60 animals. They occupy a large range and make seasonal migrations from high to lower ground according to the availability of suitable food.
- Predators include lions, leopards and cheetahs. Like other antelope, the impala is constantly alert to danger and has extremely acute senses of hearing, sight and smell. They can release a scent from their glands on their heels, which can help them stay together. This is done by performing a high kick of their hind legs.
- The name ‘Impala’ come from the Zulu language meaning ‘gazelle’.
- Type: Mammal
- Diet: Herbivore
- Lifespan: Around 12 years
- Size: 75-100 cm high
- Weight: 40-80 kg
- Habitat: Wooded savannah and bush-land
- Range: Southern and Eastern Africa
- Scientific name: Aepyceros melampus