Gerenuk - Encyclopedia




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GERENUK, the Somali name of a long-necked aberrant gazelle, commonly known as Waller's gazelle (Lithocranius walleri), and ranging from Somaliland to Kilimanjaro. The long neck and limbs, coupled with peculiarities in the structure of the skull, entitle the gerenuk, which is a large species, to represent a genus. The horns of the bucks are heavy, and have a peculiar forward curvature at the tips; the colour of the coat is red-fawn, with a broad brown band down the back. Gerenuk are browsing ruminants, and, in Somaliland, are found in small family-parties, and feed more by browsing on the branches and leaves of trees and shrubs than by grazing. Frequently they raise themselves by standing on their hind-legs with the fore-feet resting against the trunk of the tree on which they are feeding. Their usual pace is an awkward trot, not unlike that of a camel; and they seldom break into a gallop. The Somali form has been separated as L. sclateri, but is not more than a local race. (See ANTELOPE.)

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