Screwhorn Antelope Facts
- The most noteworthy fact about the Screwhorn Antelope remains its distinctively curved horns, from which the name derives. Yet this animal has far more than that to offer those who find the species fascinating.
- The IUCN classifies this animal as Critically Endangered, and concerns mount over its uncertain future. The majority of its remaining numbers remain concentrated in one small area, yet rare stragglers do occur.
- This species also ranks as one of the first animals known to have been domesticated by early man. Archaeological evidence indicates that domestication of the species first began more than 4,500 years ago.
- Its extreme hardiness stands as one of the reasons this species was domesticated so early in history. Most of its endemic habitat consisted of extremely arid desert regions, and water was understandably scarce.
Screwhorn Antelope Physical Description
Arguably, the Screwhorn Antelope has a unique set of horns. These display two or three sharp twists and average up to 31 in (80 cm) in length. As a matter of fact, in exceptional individuals, these may reach lengths of as much as 43 in (110 cm).
This species also displays sexual dimorphism. Females average slightly less in mass and height than the males. While females remain slimmer, both genders average a head and body length of 51 in (130 cm).
Males average shoulder height of 45 in (115 cm) while females remain slightly shorter. Males weigh as much as 275 lb (125 kg), yet females rarely exceed 200 lb (90 kg).
The coats also vary in color with the seasons: gray-brown in winter and almost white in summer.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Mammalia
- Order: Artiodactyla
- Family: Bovidae
- Genus: Addax
- Species: A. nasomaculatus
Screwhorn Antelope Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
While the Screwhorn Antelope has a very limited distribution in the wild today, it once roamed a much larger area of much of the Saharan region of Africa. Unfortunately, now it remains limited to a fraction of that area. Sadly, the only known self-sustaining population in the wild today lives in what now forms the Termit Massif Reserve, in Niger.
Its natural habitat consists of both sandy and stony deserts, along with other arid regions, such as thorn scrub. Scattered individuals occasionally roam into other regions.
It also typically forms small herds of 5-20 individuals that usually follows the oldest female.
This species primarily consume grasses and the leaves of any shrubs it can find, including bushes and herbs. It also has the ability to survive for extended periods of time without water.
Finally, its principal natural predators include cheetahs and leopards.