The Royal antelope according to MammalMAP
With a maximum height of 30 cm and a maximum mass of around 3 kg, this tiny ungulate is believed to range only in the West African forests of Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ivory Coast and Ghana. Royal antelopes are so small that an average-sized calf can fit comfortably into a person’s hand! Like many of their larger antelope counterparts, the males grow horns (albeit a miniature sized pair) that are around 2.5cm long.
There is remarkably little known about these antelopes, with only a handful of ecological studies ever having been conducted, and there are no recorded observations of these animals in the wild (or at least, none have been published). For more information visit the MammalMAP virtual museum or blog.
Habitat and Ecology
Life History and Behavior
Lifespan, longevity, and ageing
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
- 1996Lower Risk/near threatened
Although affected by habitat destruction it can persist in relatively small forest patches within agriculturally developed areas.
The royal antelope (Neotragus pygmaeus) is a West African antelope, only 25–30 cm (10–12 inches) high at the shoulder and weighing only 3.2–3.6 kg (7–8 lb) — it is the smallest of all antelopes. Their calves are small enough to fit into the average person's open hand. It is light brown in colour, with a paler underbelly and slightly darker heads and flanks. The male has small, spike-like horns, about 2.5 cm (1 inch) long.
Royal antelopes live in dense forests in West Africa, feeding on leaves and fruit in the undergrowth. They are mostly nocturnal and are very shy, reputedly able to leap 2.5 metres in one bound if disturbed. They are not gregarious, living on their own or occasionally in pairs.
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