Dorcas Gazelle Facts!

Dorcas Gazelle Facts!

Dorcas gazelle – taken at Marwell Wildlife on 30th October 2010. Image credit: Marie Hale cc2.0

Dorcas gazelles, also known as ariel gazelles, are one of the best-adapted of all desert species. If water is available, they will drink it, but they can actually go without water for their entire lives, getting all the moisture they need from the food they eat. Their diet consists of flowers, seed pods, leaves and bark, preferably from acacia trees, as well as the stems and tubers of lillies. They can withstand very high temperatures, but when it is extremely hot they become more active during the cooler hours from dusk to dawn.

When threatened, they make a high, bouncing leap with legs down straight and head held high (called stotting), which serves both to startle a predator and also to alert any other nearby gazelles. They can maintain a steady speed of 30 miles (48 kilometers) per hour, and have been known to reach speeds of over 50 miles (80 kilometers) per hour.


Gazella dorcas at Munich. By Altaipanther PD Image

They usually live in pairs, but when conditions are more favorable (like after a rainfall) they’ll join together in large herds. In the breeding season, adult males get more territorial and mark their area with dung heaps. Females usually give birth to just one fawn, but rarely there are two. After birth, the mother hides her fawn, to keep it safe from predators, but a young gazelle grows up quickly. Within about an hour, it is already learning to stand, and at about 2 to 3 months, it is fully weaned. Both females and males have horns, but the females’ horns are shorter and less curved.

Dorcas Gazelles are featured in the following books:
25 Desert Animals
101 Facts… Desert Animals

The YouTube video playlist below contains a video about Dorcas Gazelles. Details of the videos featured are underneath.

The Playlist:

  1. Dorcas gazelle in Neveg desert near Mitzpe Ramon, Israel by Mathieu Woldhuis
  2. Zoo Stuttgart Wilhelma Dorcas-Gazelle gähnt by QuiekerKanal
  3. dorcas gazelle by wwwCHESSINGTONcom
  4. Safi Sidi Chiker2 by rivages2safi



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