Beisa Oryx Adapted to a Dry Climate

September 29, 2011
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The hot, arid bushland that visitors traverse on a Kenya safari is exactly the type of habitat the Beisa oryx likes. Once found all across the drier regions of Africa, about 33,000 oryx are now found in Eastern Africa from Ethiopia to northeastern Uganda and Kenya, 25,000 of which are Beisa oryx.

The antelope species is well adapted for its environment, and can live up to 20 years, making it a good example of a mammal that adapted to harsh conditions including dry heat, little or no water, and food that can be hard to come by, according to the African Wild Life Foundation. They survive on course grasses of the region, and those in desert conditions dig for roots and tubers and eat wild melons.

The defining characteristic of the oryx is its long, spear-like horns. The Beisa oryx has a fawn colored body with black markings and a white face.

Perhaps one of the reasons the oryx has adapted so well is its reproductive cycle. Females come into heat quickly after giving birth, which allows them to produce calves every nine months.


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