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Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Bovidae
Subfamily: Antilopinae
Genus: Oreotragus
A. Smith, 1834
Species: O. oreotragus
Binomial name
Oreotragus oreotragus
(Zimmerman, 1783)
Klipspringer Oreotragus oreotragus distribution map.png
Klipspringer range.[2]

The klipspringer (Oreotragus oreotragus) is a small species of African antelope.


The word klipspringer literally means "rock jumper" in Afrikaans. The klipspringer is also known colloquially as a mvundla (from the Xhosa umvundla, meaning "rabbit").

Distribution and habitat[edit]

The klipspringer lives from the Cape of Good Hope, where it is found in mountain fynbos, through the rest of Southern Africa, where it is found in rocky koppies in woodland and savanna, north to East Africa and into the highly mountainous highlands of Ethiopia.


A pair of klipspringers

Reaching approximately 58 cm (23 in) at the shoulder, klipspringers are smaller than most other antelopes. They stand on the tips of their hooves and can fit all four hooves on a piece of cliff the size of a Canadian dollar coin (Loonie), roughly 30 mm in diameter. Male klipspringer horns are usually about 10–15 cm (3.9–5.9 in) long. Female klipspringers in eastern African populations also have horns.

With a thick and dense, speckled "salt and pepper" patterned coat of an almost olive shade, klipspringers blend in well with the koppies (rock outcrops) on which they can usually be found. Additionally, their hair is hollow, which aids them in regulating their temperature.[3] However, their agility on rocks and crags is so extreme that their most dangerous enemies are eagles and humans, so camouflage is not as important to them as to most other antelope.


Klipspringers are preyed upon by leopards, caracals, eagles and humans.


Klipspringers are herbivores, eating plants growing in mountainous habitats and rocky terrain. They never need to drink, since the succulents they consume provide them with enough water to survive.


Klipspringers form breeding pairs rather than herds. The pairs mate for life and will spend most of their lives in close proximity to each other. When one klipspringer is eating, the other will assume lookout duty, helping to keep the pair aware of any predators.

The mating season for klipspringers is from September through January. The gestation period is about 214 days.


  1. ^ IUCN SSC Antelope Specialist Group (2008). Oreotragus oreotragus. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 29 March 2009.
  2. ^ IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) 2008. Oreotragus oreotragus. In: IUCN 2015. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. http://www.iucnredlist.org. Downloaded on 18 July 2015.
  3. ^ "Trophy Klipspringer Hunting In South Africa". Big Game Hunting Adventures.