Gerenuk: No Not a Giraffe!

The Gerenuk looks as if you combined a Giraffe and Gazelle together. It has a long slim neck and limbs with s-shaped horns (only in males) that resemble a common Gazelle. Reaching heights between 3-3.5 feet and weighing up to 90 pounds, these animals are found in the horn of Africa and the dry regions of East Africa. The diet of these animals is herbivorous and consists of shoots, leaves, flowers, plants, fruits, and blooms. Although there are no animals in the Gerenuk diet, this does not mean they are not in the diet of other animals. They are meaty meals for many animals on the safari including Lions, Leopards, wild dogs, and Jackals.

When living in the heart of Africa it may become hard for some animals like the Gerenuk to find and safely access freshwater. Oftentimes, lakes and rivers that are good sources of water are surrounded by predators of the Gerenuk. Over thousands of years, the Gerenuk has adapted their body to obtain almost all of their water needs from the plants and fruits it eats. This reduces the number of dangerous encounters the Gerenuk will have by a significant amount.

Another adaption of the Gerenuk is their long neck and unique vertebrae. These adaptions allow this animal to reach foliage and food sources that many other herbivorous organisms can not. The reason their vertebrae are so unique is because of their ability to allow the Gerenuk to stand on two legs. With the long neck and ability to stand upright the Gerenuk can double its height up to eight feet!