By Alexa, age 10

gerenuk-150x300Can you guess what animal this is?

It’s not a baby giraffe, and it’s not a gazelle. It’s a… gerenuk! What do you think a gerenuk is?

The gerenuk is similar to a gazelle, but has a long neck. This is also why it is called a “giraffe gazelle”. It is an herbivore that eats trees, shoots, herbs, flowers, and fruits. It uses its long neck to reach higher foods. They even use their strong hind legs to push themselves upwards while they eat. They can reach food up to 6 or 8 feet high. This allows them to have a larger variety of diet because they can eat both up high and down low.

The gerenuk lives in Ethiopia, Somalia, and a little bit of Kenya and Tanzania which are parts of Africa. It is in the genus Litocranius and the species L. walleri.

Did you know that gerenuks can go their entire life without drinking water? I didn’t before I did some research. The plants they eat give them all the water they need. Imagine not needing to drink! Since the gerenuk can go without drinking water, they can survive in a dry desert area and scrublands.

Also, gerenuk babies have very protective moms. They clean the babies after each feeding. They even (GROSS OUT ALERT!) eat the “waste” to get rid of the scent so that predators won’t be able to track them. (I wouldn’t do that if I was a gerenuk mom!)

Unfortunately, the species is near threatened and there are only 95,000 estimated to be left across 4 countries. 😦