Klipspringers Foil Wild Dogs by Hanging Out on an Impossibly Steep Rock

Written by Alan Lemus
Published: October 23, 2022
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The klipspringer is a small African antelope that lives in rocky terrain. Its name means “high-leaping” in Afrikaans. The klipspringer is mainly found in Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, Angola, and Namibia.

Klipspringers leave their rocky sanctuaries to search for food. Their diet comprises grass, herbs, forbs, flowers, seeds, vines, succulents, and various evergreen shrubs. 

Mala Mala Game Reserve rangers captured an incredible video of wild dogs hunting klipspringers on the edge of a cliff. During their hunt, the 21 wild dogs encounter and corner the small antelopes on a massive rock. In the clip, you can see that the young wild dogs seem more interested in the antelopes than the adults.

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A klipspringer lives in rocky areas and has pointy hooves for agility and mobility. Their habitats protect them from attack by larger predators.

Wild dogs are not known to climb, so they are unlikely to hunt in such areas. The dogs in this footage never slipped or fell, which makes it so impressive.

Aside from wild dogs, crocodiles, cheetahs, and lions are the main predators of klipspringers. In the past few years, however, more klipspringers have been killed by poachers who target them for their horns and skin.

jumping animals - klipspringer

A klipspringer lives in rocky areas and has pointy hooves for agility and mobility.

©mhenrion/Shutterstock.com

What Makes Klipspringers Unique?

Klipspringers are a highly social animal species that live in family groups. However, they are also territorial so they will defend their territory against other klipspringers and species.

Klipspringers are one of the few African antelopes that can jump on rocky terrain. They have long back legs and short front legs, which help them jump. They also have tough hooves, which protect them from pain when they land on hard surfaces.

The word ‘klipspringer’ comes from Dutch words meaning ‘rock jumper‘ because these animals can jump up to 16 feet (five meters) from rock to rock while traveling through mountainous areas.

Adaptations of the Klipspringer

The klipspringer’s hooves are strong and have stiff soles, which protect it from the rough ground it often walks on. The hooves also help the klipspringer climb steep slopes and rocky areas.

The klipspringer’s coat is thick and wooly, which keeps it warm when temperatures drop below freezing point. The thick coat also protects it from thorny bushes and other sharp objects.

The klipspringer’s ears are long and move independently, so they can hear what is happening around them without turning their heads all the time, as most animals do. This helps them find food more quickly when they hide in tall grass or behind rocks where predators can’t see them but can still hear anything that moves nearby.

A klipspringer has large nostrils, which help it breathe easily in hot weather because there is less air pressure at high altitudes than at sea level, so oxygen molecules spread out further apart (a process known as diffusion). In addition, the lungs of this animal are tiny but efficient because they have a low surface area compared to their volume, so heat does not get trapped inside them quickly (through convection).

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The photo featured at the top of this post is © iStock.com/Uwe-Bergwitz


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About the Author

Alan is a freelance writer and an avid traveler. He specializes in travel content. When he visits home he enjoys spending time with his family Rottie, Opie.

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