Suni, Neotragus moschatus

The suni (Neotragus moschatus) is an antelope that can be found in southeastern areas of Africa. It prefers to inhabit areas with abundant underbrush, but does not seem to require a significant amount of water. When frightened, the suni will wait until a predator is about to attack it, and then spring into nearby underbrush for protection. Common predators include snakes, lions and birds of prey.

The suni is small, reaching an average height between twelve and twenty-seven inches at the shoulder, with a weight between ten and twelve pounds. It is usually reddish brown in color with white fur on the underbelly, chin, and inner legs. The fur on the outer legs and back is typically darker. Males grow short horns that reach an average length between three and five inches, while females to not grow horns. The species makes two types vocalizations, which consist of whistles and short barks.

The suni is typically active during the night, and is very timid. It is typically a social creature, but males do hold a territory of around 7.4 acres. These territories are claimed and held by secretions released from the preorbital glands. Occasionally, there will be a communal dung pile left on the boundaries one of these territories. Males typically only have one mate, although many females may reside in his territory. After a pregnancy period of up to 183 days, one calf is usually born. The diet of this antelope consists of flowers, fungi, leaves, and fruits. The suni appears on the IUCN Red List with a conservation status of “least Concern.”

Image Caption: Suni in Mnemba, Zanzibar. Credit: Olivier Lejade/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 2.0)