The Story Of Wild Animals:
Sacred Monkeys Of India.
Story Of The Antelope
Gnu, Or Wildebeest
Pala Or Roy-bock
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( Originally Published Early 1900's )
Under the title of oryx are five species of antelope, found throughout the desert regions of Africa, and also in Arabia and Syria. In South Africa the best representative of the oryx family is the gemsbok, which stands about four feet in height, is greyish in color, becoming white beneath. A black stripe on the flanks divides the grey of the sides from the white below, and there is also a black surface on the haunches extending as a line on the back, and continued over the whole of the tail. In addition to this, there is also black on the upper parts of the limbs, on the front of the legs above the fetlocks, and along the throat; the throat-stripe dividing and running up the sides of the head nearly to the ears. On the face a black stripe runs from each horn through the eye nearly to the muzzle, which is connected by a narrow stripe with a broad black patch on the center of the forehead. The longest male horns of this species I ever saw measured were 42 inches in length, while those of the female may reach 46 1/2 inches. Horns have been recorded measuring 471 inches.
Gemsboks are generally met with where the country is either completely open or covered with stunted scrub. They thrive and attain high condition in barren regions where it might be imagined a locust would not find subsistence; and, burning as is the climate, they are perfectly independent of water, which, from My own observation and the repcated reports both of the Boers and aborigines, I am convinced they never by any chance taste The flesh ranks next to the eland. The gemsbok is by no means fleet, and it can be run to a standstill by a hunter on foot.
In Abyssinia and Somaliland as well as on the Red Sea littoral near Suakin, the gemsbok is replaced by the beisa, readily distinguished by the absence of the tuft of hair on the throat, and by the black patch on the front of the face being completely separated from the stripe running through the eye. The horns are shorter than those, of the gemsbok. The sabre horned antelope differs from the others of the oryx family in its recurved scimitar-like horns, and whitish color which sometimes shows a reddish tinge.