Animals

Bontebok Facts You’ll Never Forget

Read to learn more bontebok facts about this mammal.
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Bonteboks are a renowned subspecies of the antelope (Damaliscus pygargus) found in the Lesotho Republic of South Africa, and Namibia. Bonteboks have two subspecies. One is the bontebok, also called Damaliscus pygargus pygargus, who occur naturally in some areas belonging to the Western Cape and the Fynbos. The other is the blesbok, also called Damaliscus pygargus phillipsi, who live within the range of Highveld. The majority of the blesbok population is found in eastern and central South Africa.

Bonteboks are chocolate brown in color, with a white undersurface and stripe going right from their forehead to the tip of their nose, though there's a tan stripe right across the white close to the eyes in most blesbok. The bontebok also has a distinctive white patch around their tail (hence the Latin name), whereas this patch is a lighter shade of tan for the blesbok. The horns of these animals are U-shaped and precisely ringed. The horns are found on males and females. Bonteboks and blesboks share a similar adult-colored pattern wherein the dark dorsal hairs contrast with the high, white stockings and posterior. Bonteboks have dark, shiny, brown-purple dorsal hair, whereas blesbok dorsal hair is boring and chromatic. Blesboks have darker fur on their rumps, whereas bonteboks have a white patch around the tail. The gestation period of this species is around seven to eight months.

After they were on the brink of becoming Extinct, which was due to excess hunting and encroachment, the Bontebok National Park was established in 1931 for their conservation. At that point, only 17 bonteboks existed within wildlife. Currently, bonteboks are Extinct from wildlife and are presently raised on game farms. Due to previous conservation efforts, the population of this white and brown species has recovered to 2,000 members living on varied reservations throughout South Africa. Blesboks were also seriously Vulnerable due to overhunting within the 19th century, reducing the massive population of the blesbok species to around 2,000. The population of blesboks has recovered and currently appears stable. Each bontebok and blesbok are taken care of appropriately.

If you liked reading about these facts, you could also read facts about Masai giraffe or plains zebra.

Bontebok

Fact File

What do they prey on?

Plants

What do they eat?

Herbivores

Average litter size?

1

How much do they weigh?

110-342 lb (50-155 kg)

How long are they?

47-83 in (120-210 cm)

How tall are they?

31-39 in (80-100 cm)

What do they look like?

Brown colored with a distinctive white underside

Skin Type

Short fur

What are their main threats?

Humans

What is their conservation status?

Least Concern

Where you'll find them

Grass plains

Locations

South Africa

Kingdom

Animalia

Class

Mammal

Scientific Name

Damaliscus pygargus

Family

Bovidae

Genus

Damaliscus

Bontebok Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a bontebok?

Bonteboks are the renowned subspecies of an antelope (Damaliscus pygargus) found in Lesotho, the Republic of Namibia, and South Africa.

What class of animal does a bontebok belong to?

The class of animals to which the bontebok animal belongs is mammals.

How many bonteboks are there in the world?

The population of bonteboks, as of now, is roughly 3,500.

Where does a bontebok live?

Bontebok antelopes live in South African grasslands and some protected African pastures.

What is a bontebok's habitat?

Bontebok habitats aren't too varied, but consists of Bontebok National Park in South Africa and Western Cape in South Africa. Currently, bonteboks are Extinct in the wild and are presently raised on game farms.

Who do bonteboks live with?

Bonteboks live in packs that range between 40 and 70 other bonteboks. These packs consist of all males, all females, or they are sometimes mixed. As they are farmed animals, they are taken care of by people.

How long does a bontebok live?

The average lifespan of a bontebok is around 17 years, but some cases of 23 years are not uncommon.

How do they reproduce?

Little is understood regarding the mating system of bonteboks and blesboks. They breed between January and March. Throughout the breeding period, males attract females by performing a wooing ritual during which the male lowers his head and lifts his tail over his head. Females give birth to one calf once the gestation period (seven to eight months) is over. While the peak period of mating for blesboks is in April, both subspecies gestation periods remain identical. Calves are born developed and are ready to run right after birth. They are weaned at four months and become reproductively mature at around two to three years.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of bonteboks is currently the Least Concern, but they were once on the brink of Extinction. Major conservation efforts helped to bring the population of the bontebok and blesbok species back from the brink of Extinction. Blesboks are now Extinct from their natural habitat but they are extensively raised on game farms.

Bontebok Fun Facts

What do bonteboks look like?

Bonteboks have dark, shiny and purple dorsal hair. They look very majestic and are one of the worlds rarest antelopes.

Bonteboks have dark and shiny, purplish-brown dorsal hair and are one of the world's rarest antelopes.

How cute are they?

Bonteboks are cute, but beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder. Young bontebok and blesbok are especially cute, as the contrasting colors of tan, brown, and white as well as the horns of blesbok and bontebok look really great on the young ones.

How do they communicate?

Bonteboks communicate similarly to that of other antelope, usually through grunting and snorting. This species use their unique markings to communicate with the rest of their herd members. Bonteboks also possess scent glands on their hind legs, which are usually used for marking territory. Animals of both subspecies mark objects with secretions from a preorbital secretory organ, these secretions are deposited on grass stalks as they are stroked with the horns.

How big is a bontebok?

Bonteboks are a tall, medium-sized species of antelope. They usually stand around 31-39 in (80-100 cm) high at the shoulder and are 47-83 in (120-210 cm) from head to tail. Their long tails will vary from 12-24 in (30-60 cm). Body mass will also vary from 110-342 lb (50-155 kg). Males are slightly larger and perceptibly heavier than females. Bonteboks, on average, are 17.6 lb (8 kg) lighter than blesboks, which helps in distinguishing between the two. Bonteboks are around as big as humans, but they can weigh twice that by full growth.

How fast can a bontebok run?

Bonteboks are quite fast animals. They can run at a speed of 37 mph (60 kmph).

How much does a bontebok weigh?

This tan and white species body mass will vary from 110-342 lb (50-155 kg). Males are slightly larger and perceptibly heavier than females.

What are the male and female names of the species?

These animals don't have specific male and female names of species.

What would you call a baby bontebok?

A really young bontebok or a baby bontebok can be called a calf.

What do they eat?

Bontebok and blesbok like to eat the short grass that is abundant in the grasslands of South African national parks.

Are they aggressive?

Aggressive interactions between males involve horn clashes that might be fatal.

Would they make a good pet?

They won't necessarily make good pets as they belong to the wild and need wide pastures of grasslands which is quite difficult for regular people to provide.

Did you know...

Below, you will read the difference between bontebok and blesbok. This bontebok vs. blesbok comparison will clarify your doubts about the two.

Blesbok and bontebok have similar diets. They are herbivores and mostly eat grass.

Bontebok National Park is in the Western Cape province of South Africa.

Bonteboks, on an average, are slightly lighter than blesboks, which helps to distinguish between the two.

Currently, bonteboks are Extinct from the wild and are presently raised on game farms.

How do you pronounce bontebok?

Phonetically it is pronounced as 'bon-tuh-bok'. It is also pronounced as 'bon-tee-bok'.

Why can't bonteboks jump?

Most of Africa's antelopes are well-known for their ability to jump dramatically. One of the examples can be springbok, as they can jump 156 in (13 ft) within the air. Other species such as koudou and antelope have related athletic talents. Even a fence would not be considered an obstacle for these animals. This is not the same for the bonteboks. They can jump very few leaps. However, they cannot clear even a simple livestock fence.

Alexander van der Bijl, a Dutch farmer, designed a fence to surround the last 17 bonteboks on his open farm. He performed a search and found that the bontebok did not escape. At the same time, many of the other African ungulates would have quickly removed themselves from this easy enclosure that the bontebok could not jump.

This ability to leap would have certainly been a big leap into permanent Extinction.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other mammals, including lowchen, or woodchuck.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one of our Bontebok coloring pages.

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