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Kidadl Team

AUGUST 06, 2021

Royal Antelope: 15 Facts You Won’t Believe

Learn interesting royal antelope facts here on Kidadl

The royal antelope (Neotragus pygmaeus) is the world's smallest West African antelope and is of the family Bovidae. Their coat is reddish-brown. Carl Linnaeus, a Swedish zoologist, first described this species in Systema Naturae in 1758. Only the male royal antelope has horns. These animals are herbivores. The name royal antelope was given to these species due to a statement 'the king of the harts' by locals described by Willem Bosman, a Dutch West India company merchant. Peter Simon Pallas, a German zoologist, recognized Antilope pygmaea and Tragulus pygmaeus, which were found to be the same type as the royal antelope. Now, these are known as synonyms of Neotragus pygmaeus. Neotragus had two Greek elements, néos meaning 'new' and trágos meaning 'he-goat.' Pygmaeus is a derivative of Greek pugmaîos meaning 'pygmy, fist-sized' The genus Neotragus was previously confused with the dwarf antelope genus Nesotragus (Greek nêsos-'island'). The Neotragini consists of a variety of dwarf antelopes except for Neotragus. This tribe is paraphyletic. This antelope species had ancestors related to klipspringer and duikers (subfamily Cephalophinae).

If these royal antelope facts are interesting, you can also check out these spiral horned antelope facts and duiker facts.

Royal Antelope Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a royal antelope?

The royal antelope (neotragus pygmaeus) of the family Bovidae and Phylum Chordata is the world's smallest antelope. They are also the smallest African ungulate. The royal antelope has nocturnal behavior and is quite alert, secretive, and shy. They have also shown activity during the day. There is only a little information about their behavior. They mark their territory with dung as their preorbital gland (scent-marking) is relatively smaller. When these animals are alerted by predators, they seek immediate hiding place and when they feel the danger close by, they flee. They sprint fast by either running by lowering their body to the ground or taking a huge leap using their strong and slender hind legs. They can leap up to a height of 22 in (55.8 cm) and can reach up to a length of 9.2 ft (2.8 m).

What class of animal does a royal antelope belong to?

The royal antelope (neotragus pygmaeus) belongs to the class Mammals and subfamily Antilopinae of animals.

How many royal antelopes are there in the world?

The population of the shy royal antelope is more than 62,000.

Where does a royal antelope live?

The royal antelope is a native animal of West Africa. This smallest antelope population covers a range of forest regions in Ghana, Sierra Leone, Côte d'Ivoire, Liberia, and Guinea. The range of these animals extends from eastward Kounounkan Massif in southwest Guinea through Côte d'Ivoire, Liberia, and Sierra Leone to the Ghana Volta river.

What is a royal antelope's habitat?

The royal antelope covers forest regions of West Africa with dense and fresh undergrowth. They occupy warm and moist lowland forest, secondary forest, and forest fringes. Their habitat also expands into the northern forests of western Africa that include savannah habitats.

Who do royal antelopes live with?

The royal antelope live pairs or alone and as they are shy creatures, they tend to mark their territories with dung. These pairs will mostly stay together for life.

How long does a royal antelope live?

The average royal antelope life span is 6.8 years.

How do they reproduce?

Royal antelopes are monogamous and sometimes polygamous animals. The breeding pairs mostly stay together for life. This species reaches sexual maturity at around six months of age. Females give birth to one calf per year. Young ones are born in November and December. The offspring born is delicate and the gestation period is not known. Young ones of this species get weaned around two months. These young ones weigh around 2.2 lb (1 kg). The young ones are similar to the adults in color.

What is their conservation status?

The tiny royal antelope population is listed as Least Threatened by the IUCN. The Rod East of the IUCN SSC Antelope Specialist Group in the year 1999 predicted the population of these antelopes to be around 62,000. However, this number probably is an underestimate. Habitat destruction and human expansion of settlement are a threat to these antelopes. Also, hunting for bushmeat causes decline in their population. Antelopes are the main source of bushmeat in Côte d'Ivoire. People in Sierra Leone and Liberia rarely go hunting for bushmeat. As their population is decreasing today, they are now found in many protected areas like Haut Bandama Fauna and Flora Reserve, Tai National Park, Kakum National Park, and more.

Royal Antelope Fun Facts

What does royal antelopes look like?

Although the west African royal antelope is nocturnal, it is observed that they eat throughout the day
* Please note that this is an image of the common duiker, not a royal antelope. If you have an image of a royal antelope, please let us know at [email protected]

This tiny nocturnal royal antelope has cinnamon, light brown, or russet upper body. Their legs and heads are darker brown-colored than their body. The chest, chin, inside of the rear legs, throat, and belly are white-colored in sharp contrast with the body. These antelopes have slender hind legs that are longer than the forelegs. These hind legs are raised giving their body a tapered shape. Their tail tapers down to white tuft. The male develops small spiky horns that are around 1 in (2.5 cm). They have small translucent ears, slim muzzles, large gray pink rhinarium, and dark brown eyes. The young ones have the same coloration as adults.

How cute are they?

The royal antelope is a small creature and they are considered cute.

How do they communicate?

Royal antelope communicate using sounds. As these animals have smaller scent-marking glands, they mark their territories using dung.

How big is a royal antelope?

The royal antelope head-and-body length is around 16 in (40 cm). Their thin tail measures up to 2-3 in (5-8 cm). Males are slightly smaller than females. This species is the size of a rabbit. Bate's pygmy antelopes have shorter muzzler, bigger mouth, and bigger cheek muscle than royal antelopes. The saiga antelopes are three times larger in length than this species.

How fast can a royal antelope run?

The exact speed of the royal antelope is not known. They are fast and antelopes can run up to 40 mph (64 kph).

How much does a royal antelope weigh?

The royal antelope weighs around 5.5-6.6 lb (2.5-3 kg). Its offspring can weigh about a third of the adult antelope's weight.

What are the male and female names of the species?

The royal antelope males are called a buck and the royal antelope females are called a doe.

What would you call a baby royal antelope?

The royal antelope baby is called a calf.

What do they eat?

These animals search for food at night around dense cover. The royal antelope diet includes fresh grass cover, fungi, fruits, and shoots. Their diet also includes flowers, buds, and weeds. Due to their features, they can not completely digest lignified growth.

Are they dangerous?

This west African royal antelope species are not dangerous.

Would they make a good pet?

The royal antelope does not make a good pet. They do well in the wild. They prefer the dense grass covers in the wild. There is a however few royal antelopes for sale.

Did you know...

The family Bovidae consists of the biological family of ruminant and cloven-hoofed vertebrates.

The family Bovidae consists of water buffalos, sheep, antelopes, goats, muskoxen, and domestic cattle.

This species is called 'the king of the harts' by the local people

Hunting of these animals occurs in dense undergrowth in the dark using flashlights. Usually, hunting is done is using a shotgun due to the undergrowth in the forests.

Are royal antelopes endangered?

The royal antelope  population is not endangered or threatened. As a result of hunting, the population is decreasing. there are many species of antelopes that are on the endangered list.

What survival mechanism does the royal antelope have?

The predators of these small antelopes are birds of prey and giant snakes. To avoid being detected by their predators, this species will crouch and crawl into the dense undergrowth. If the predator gets close to them, they try to flee through dense grass and over obstacles until they are safe. This species can run fast but not faster than a cheetah. They can escape cheetahs by taking sharp turns and twists. Also, right after birth, they move to the protection of the herd.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these kudu facts, or key deer facts.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our royal antelope coloring pages.

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