Addax Fact File
The addax is most noticeable for its large spiral shaped horns. These horns measure between 76 and 109 cm (30–43 in) long. The horns are colored brown. Both males and females have the horns with those of females being lighter.
Their coat will vary in color throughout the year. The summer coat is a sandy or white color which reflects the intense heat of the sun in their arid habitats. During winter this will turn to a grey-brown color to help absorb heat.
On the tail, underside and hindquarters they are white. This color is also on the face. They have a dark tuft on the forehead. Under the throat is a small brownish beard.
The hooves of an addax are well adapted for walking across sand. They splay which helps prevent them sinking in to the sand. Their legs are also shorter than most antelopes which gives them a lower center of gravity and helps them to walk across sand easier.
At the end of the body is a tail which measures 25-35cm (10-14in) long.
An average addax will measure 1.5-1.7m (5-5.5ft) long and weigh 60-125kg (130-280lbs). At the shoulder they stand 95-115cm (3.1-3.8ft) tall.
The addax is a herbivore. Their diet includes grasses, seeds and the young shoots of scrubs and succulents. They seek out melons which provide a good water source.
One way they can survive in their arid environment is because they obtain most of their water from the food they eat. If they do find water they will drink.
Wild 19 years
Captive 25 years
Africa is the native habitat of the addax. The species is highly threatened and some estimate that they have already gone extinct.
Their range previously covered Algeria, Chad, Egypt, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Sudan, Tunisia and Western Sahara. Currently the last remaining populations are thought to be in Niger and Chad.
The addax is well adapted to life in the desert. They are one of only two antelopes which can survive in the Sahara desert year round.
Outside of the most mountainous areas they occupy almost all areas of the Sahara.
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Breeding takes place throughout the year with a peak during winter and early spring.
Females give birth after an 8.5 month gestation period. A single calf is born.
The mother will leave the herd and give birth to the calf in a shallow scrape or among vegetation. The calf is left here while she goes to feed.
After two weeks the calf is ready to join the herd and roam with them. It will drink milk from mom before being weaned at 23-39 weeks old.
A female calf will reach sexual maturity by 1.5 years old with males not maturing till 3 years old.
During the day they will rest against large boulders in a depression which they dig in the ground. This protects them from wind and the sun.
They form herds which consist of between 2 and 20 members. These are led by a dominant male. Previously they would gather in larger herds after a heavy rain.
Addax are thought to be one of the slowest runners within the antelope family.
These animals are able to raise their daytime body temperature to help combat water loss. If they are still too warm they will resort to nasal panting.
Most of their activity occurs at night allowing them to rest during the heat of the day.
Predators and Threats
Natural predators of the addax include African lions and hyenas. Calves may be taken by golden jackals.
Humans have led to the near extinction of this species mainly through poaching including for trophies. They were also persecuted by farmers as they compete with livestock for food.
Another increasing threat is oil explorers opportunistically shooting them.
Currently their survival is only assured due to captive populations in zoos across the world. Some have been reintroduced from these populations to protected reserves.
The name Addax means wild animal with crooked horns.
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Burnie, D., 2011. Animal. 3rd ed. London: DK
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