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Impala


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The impala is a medium-sized African antelope that has long, ringed horns. These mammals live in huge herds in southeastern and south-central Africa in open forests, grasslands, and shrubby areas. Red-billed oxpeckers often perch on impalas, eating fleas, ticks, and other parasites on the coat.

Leaping: Impalas are amazing leapers. They can jump up about 10 feet (3 m) into the air. While running, they can cover up to 30 feet (9 m) in a single bound. These abilities help them escape predators.

Anatomy: These lightly-built antelopes are roughly 33-39 inches (84-99 cm) tall at the shoulder; they weigh from 88-165 pounds (40-75 kg). The short, glossy fur is chestnut brown; the belly is white. There are distinctive dark stripes on the tail and haunches. Impalas have very large ears and big eyes; they use their keen sense of sight and hearing to detect predators. Male impalas have long, twisted, ringed, backswept horns; females have no horns. Like all horns, they are not shed, but continue to grow throughout the impala's life.

Diet: Impalas are herbivores (plant-eaters). They eat grasses, shrubs, herbs, young shoots, and leaves. They spend most of their time browsing.

Predators: These high-jumping mammals are preyed upon by lions and packs of wild dogs.

Classification: Class Mammalia (mammals), order Artiodactyla (even-toed ungulates), family Bovidae (antelopes, bison, buffalo, cattle, goats, and sheep), genus Aepyceros, species A. melampus.

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