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What Jumps When It Walks But Sits When It Stands?

The Springbok: South Africa’s National Animal

The springbok is a species of antelope found in southern and southwestern Africa. It is also the national animal of South Africa, where it has come to symbolize resourcefulness, hardiness and resilience. The springbok’s defining characteristics are its distinctive white fur with black markings and its habit of leaping into the air when running – an action known as pronking.

Origin Of The Name ‘Springbok’

The word “springbok” comes from Dutch settlers who arrived in South Africa in the 17th century. They observed that when the antelopes ran away from them they would leap high into the air, giving off a loud “boing!” sound as they did so. This inspired them to name these animals “spring boks” or “jumping bucks”.

Physical Characteristics Of The Springbok

The springbok stands about 70 cm tall at the shoulder and weighs between 25-45 kg (55-100 lbs). Both sexes have horns but those on males tend to be longer than those on females. Its coat ranges from light fawn to reddish brown with distinctive black stripes along its flanks and back legs. Its face has two dark patches around each eye which can be used for facial recognition purposes by other members of their herd.

Habitat And Diet

Springbucks prefer open grasslands or savannahs but can also be found in semi-arid areas such as deserts or scrubland habitats where water is scarce. Their diet consists mainly of grasses supplemented by berries, seeds, leaves, bark and flowers depending on what’s available within their habitat range during different seasons throughout the year..

Behavioural Traits Of The Springbuck

When threatened by predators springbucks will usually flee rather than fight though some males may stand their ground if necessary while others perform flea jumps – a quick succession of multiple leaps up to three metres high -which confuse attackers long enough for them to escape danger safely . These animals are highly social creatures living together in herds ranging anywhere from 10-50 individuals led by dominant males who control access to resources like food and waterholes through strength displays similar to stotting behaviour seen among gazelles . Herds often form mixed gender bachelor groups too where young adults learn important life skills while waiting until they reach sexual maturity before joining another breeding group .


In conclusion ,the unique jumping gait exhibited by this elegant creature is one of many reasons why it was chosen as South Africa’s national animal . As well as being an iconic representation of this country ,it serves as an emblem for all things wild ,free spirited & full of life !

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