Saturday, March 1, 2008

Leaping Animals

Gazelles and Antelopes are beautiful and graceful leapers. Being able to jump is their best defense against cheetahs, lions and other African hunters.

Both gazelles and antelopes perform a leap called "Stotting." This is a stiff-legged gait that has the animal jumping vertically and landing in the same location. It looks like the antelope is on a pogo stick. Although the young perform this leap during play, most adults stott during the mating season or when being chased by a predator. This seems counter-productive in the case of predation because stotting actually slows the gazelle down, making it easier to catch. Scientists believe stotting is used as kind of a boast, to show prospective mates, as well as enemies just how fit the gazelle really is. Whatever the reason, it must work as cheetahs will break off a hunt when a gazelle stots.

To learn more about either of these lovely leapers, click on The Jungle Store animal facts pages listed below:
Gazelle Facts
Antelope Facts

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