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What are some facts about the Dorcas gazelle?

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Quick Answer

Dorcas gazelles can reach speeds up to 22 mph, sounding a barking alarm call when they spot a lion, cheetah, leopard or other predator. When they are being pursued they employ "stotting," leaping straight up into the air to warn other gazelles and demonstrate their physical fitness to the predator. Found in the African deserts or savannas, the species is considered vulnerable to extinction.

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Full Answer

Pale-colored with a white underbelly and dark stripes, Dorcas gazelles are born once a year, weaning after three months and becoming independent after 12. They reach sexual maturity at about two years, though males mature faster in that regard. The calves are raised by their mothers in a harem guarded by the male. Males can also travel in bachelor herds. Although they are diurnal, Dorcas gazelles can become nocturnal when faced with high numbers of predators during the day. They feed on flowers, fruits and leaves and dig holes for access to flower bulbs. Their coloration depends on the region; in the northern Sahara they are an ochre color with darker stripes, but near the Red Sea their coats are a reddish-brown with lighter stripes. Compared to mountain gazelles, their horns are much more curved. The males have longer horns than the females.

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