Cape Grysbok, Raphicerus melanotis

The cape grysbok (Raphicerus melanotis) is native to the Western Cape area of South Africa. Its range stretches from Albany to the Cedarberg mountains. Its preferred habitat lies within the “Fynbos biome”, or Cape Floristic Region, where it inhabits dense shrub lands. It will sometimes browse for food in orchards and vineyards and has been seen along the edges of urban sites in the Cape Peninsula. In southern Karoo, it has been spotted within reed beds and along riverbeds.

The cape grysbok can reach an average height of 21 inches at the shoulder, and can weigh up to twenty pounds, making it one of the smaller antelopes. Typically, it is tawny red in color with white spots flecking the entire body. These small spots occur less around the neck, head, and limbs, and these areas are often more yellow in color as well. White occurs on the underbelly, in the ears, and on the mouth and eyes area. The tail is not often seen, reaching a length of only 3.1 inches, although the fur around the tail is sometimes puffed out in order to make the grysbok appear larger. Males bear short, piercing horns.

It is though that because the cape grysbok is most often seen alone that it is a territorial species that is most active at night. After a pregnancy of up to six months, one young grysbok is born and will mature quickly. The cape grysbok will browse for vegetation to eat, and from this food, it will receive the majority of its water. The cape grysbok appears on the IUCN Red List with a conservation status of “Least Concern”.

Image Caption: Raphicerus melanotis. Credit: Jimfbleak/Wikipedia(CC BY-SA 3.0)