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Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Species Fact Profile: Addax (Addax nasomaculatus)

Addax nasomaculatus (Blainville, 1816)

Range:  North Central Africa (Historic Range North Africa)
Habitat: Desert, Semi-Desert
Diet:  Grasses, Leaves
Social Grouping: Male-led herds of 5-20 animals
Reproduction:  Breed year round, one calf born after 257-264 day gestation period, calves weaned at 23-39 weeks, males are sexually mature at 2 years, females by 3 years
Lifespan: 25 Years (Captivity)
Conservation Status: IUCN Critically Endangered, CITES Appendix I


  • Body length 1.5-1.7 meters, shoulder height 0.95-1.2 meters, weight 60-125 kilograms (males are slightly larger than females); both sexes have spiral horns about 75 centimeters long
  • The hooves are wide with flat soles to help the addax walk on loose sands
  • The short, glossy coat is sandy or white in the summer, darkening in the winter; there is a black tuft of fur on the forehead, a white X-shaped marking on the face, and a scraggly beard of long hair on the throat
  • Addax differ from the closely-related oryxes through their large, square teeth (more like cattle) and by their lacking facial glands
  • Most active at night, they will often dig "beds" in sand under boulders or bushes; they spend most of their lives without access to water, receiving their moisture from the plants in their diet
  • Males establish territories and try to keep fertile females within the boundaries of those territories
  • Addax cannot achieve a very high running speed, and cannot maintain it for long; they tire quickly and will die of exhaustion if they are chased for too long, which has made them very vulnerable to human hunters in jeeps (their natural predators are lions, leopards, and hyenas)
  • Traditionally migratory, they once formed aggregations of over 1,000 animals; the population now stands at fewer than 500 animals in the wild, due to desertification and hunting
  • Kept as a semi-domesticated animal by the ancient Egyptians around 2500 BC, based on evidence of tomb carvings
  • There are possible efforts to reintroduce the species into the wild using the large captive population (it is commonly kept as a game animal in hunting ranches in the United States)

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