Rhebuck

© Roger de la Harpe

Name

Grey Rhebuck [Pelea capreolus]

Appearance

The grey rhebuck weighs up to 30 kg, with a shoulder height of 700-800 mm. They have a brown woolly coat with white underparts.

They are medium-sized antelope with have long, narrow ears, a bulbous nose and are long-necked. Rams grow straight, spiked horns that are 150-250 mm in length and ringed at the base.

Grey Rhebuck Diet

The grey rhebuck are browsers and feed on shrubs and forbs found in the bushveld areas around South Africa. They also eat selected fruits, seeds and flowers during the seasons between June to October.

Grey Rhebuck Breeding

The grey rhebuck are seasonal breeders with mating occurring between February and April in South Africa. The gestation period for the grey rhebuck is eight months.

Three days before the calf is to be born, the female leaves the herd to birth her calf in a hidden location. For six weeks, the newborn calf is kept hidden and weaned before joining the herd.

Grey Rhebuck Behaviour

The grey rhebuck have a complicated social system, but predominantly live in small groups of about 12 individuals. The group consists of a ram, a few ewes and their lambs. The rams are solitary and very territorial in nature.

The grey rhebuck are known for the snorting, groaning and hissing sounds that can be heard out in the wild of South Africa. They are active during the day, but take refuge during the heat of the day. They are excellent jumpers and run with a unique rocking horse motion.

Grey Rhebuck Habitat

The grey rhebuck live in mountainous areas, grassveld plains with rocky and stony outcrops found around South Africa.

Where They Are Found

The grey rhebuck are found throughout South Africa with populations inhabiting the Eastern and Western Cape, suitable areas westward of the Cape Peninsula, Mpumalanga and Northern Province, high-lying areas of Lesotho, Free State, and the higher Drakensberg areas of KwaZulu-Natal.

Predators

The grey rhebuck fall prey to many big predators in South Africa. These include the lion, leopard, hyena, Cape hunting dog, python and jackal.

Field Notes

Did you know the grey rhebuck is the origin for the popular sports shoe brand, Reebok? The brand chose the name based on the grey rhebuck’s ability to climb the difficult mountainous terrains of South Africa.