Watercolour on Visual 200gsm – 10″ × 8″
Springbok (Antidorcas marsupialis) silhouetted against the setting sun in the African Bushveld, settling a territorial dispute – South Africa
These animals can fight fiercely with their horns – more so than most other antelope species. They often clash and lock their horns and wrestle ferociously to pull their opponents off balance. These fights occur when the males establish their territories. They mark their territories by thrashing and picking up vegetation with their horns. This give them sometimes a “head dress” of tangled vegetation that looks quite funny.
The Springbok (Afrikaans and Dutch: spring = jump; bok = antelope or goat) (Antidorcas marsupialis) is a medium sized brown and white gazelle that stands about 70 to 87 cm (28 to 34 in) high.
The Latin name marsupialis derives from a pocket-like skin flap which extends along the middle of the back from the tail onwards. When the male springbok is showing off his strength to attract a mate, or to ward off predators, he starts off in a stiff-legged trot, jumping up into the air with an arched back every few paces and lifting the flap along his back. Lifting the flap causes the long white hairs under the tail to stand up in a conspicuous fan shape, which in turn emits a strong floral scent of sweat. This ritual is known as pronking from the Afrikaans, meaning to boast or show off.
“Die grootwild jaag uit die vlakte,
hulle dam op die bulttop,
wyd rek hulle die neusgate
en hulle sluk die wind;
en hulle buk, om haar fyn spore in die sand te sien.
Die kleinvolk diep onder die grond hoor die sleep van haar voete,
en hulle kruip nader en sing saggies;
“Ons Suster! Ons Suster! Jy het gekom! Jy het gekom!”