Arabian Oryx Facts

There are many fun Arabian oryx facts – Once extinct in the wild, this species (Oryx leucoryx) is a reintroduction program’s success story.

Arabian Oryx Facts – Life span

Up to 20 years.

Arabian Oryx Facts – Statistics

160cm long, standing 81-102cm at the shoulder and with a 45-60cm tail.

Arabian oryx prefer to range in gravel desert or hard sand, where their speed and endurance will protect them from most predators, as well as most hunters on foot. In the sand deserts in Saudi Arabia, they used to be found in the hard sand areas of the flats between the softer dunes and ridges.

Arabian oryx have been reintroduced to Oman, Saudi Arabia, Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Syria, and Jordan. A small population was introduced on Hawar Island, Bahrain, and large semimanaged populations at several sites in Qatar and the UAE. The total reintroduced population is now estimated to be around 1,000. This puts the Arabian oryx well over the threshold of 250 mature individuals needed to qualify for endangered status.

Arabian Oryx Facts – Physical DescriptionArabian Oryx Facts

The Arabian Oryx is a horse-like antelope with a white coat, black markings on the face, legs dark chocolate brown and with a tawny line across the flanks. Horns nearly straight and with ridges.

According to wikipedia, an Arabian oryx stands about 1 m (39 in) high at the shoulder and weighs around 70 kg (150 lb). Its coat is an almost luminous white, the undersides and legs are brown, and black stripes occur where the head meet the neck, on the forehead, on the nose, and going from the horn down across the eye to the mouth. Both sexes have long, straight or slightly curved, ringed horns which are 50 to 75 cm (20 to 30 in) long.

Arabian oryx rest during the heat of the day and can detect rainfall and move towards it, meaning they have huge ranges; a herd in Oman can range over 3,000 km2 (1,200 sq mi). Herds are of mixed sex and usually contain between two and 15 animals, though herds up to 100 have been reported. Arabian oryx are generally not aggressive toward one another, which allows herds to exist peacefully for some time.

Other than humans, wolves are the Arabian oryx’s only predator. In captivity and good conditions in the wild, oryx have a lifespan of up to 20 years. In periods of drought, though, their life expectancy may be significantly reduced by malnutrition and dehydration. Other causes of death include fights between males, snakebites, disease, and drowning during floods.

Arabian Oryx Facts – Distribution

Formerly across the Arabian and Sinai peninsula. Recently reintroduced into Oman, Israel, Jordan and Saudi Arabia after extinction in the wild.

Arabian Oryx Facts – Habitat

Arid regions.

Arabian Oryx Facts – Diet

The diets of the Arabian oryx consist mainly of grasses, but they eat a large variety of vegetation, include buds, herbs, fruit, tubers and roots. Herds of Arabian oryx follow infrequent rains to eat the new plants that grow afterward. They can go several weeks without water. Research in Oman has found grasses of the genus Stipagrostis are primarily taken; flowers from Stipagrostis plants appeared highest in crude protein and water, while leaves seemed a better food source with other vegetation.

Arabian Oryx Facts – Behavior

Arabian Oryx FactsOryx, despite being grazing antelope, have become adapted to particularly dry areas of desert vegetation. Unlike other grazing antelopes, these desert animals live in small herds of mixed sex which don’t tolerate newcomers easily. A dominance hierarchy is established within the herd by strange, posturing displays, which avoid the danger of serious injury that their long, sharp horns could potentially inflict. Males and females use their horns to defend the sparse territorial resources against incomers. The herds use eyesight to keep in contact with each other.

Arabian oryx are extreme desert specialists. They form herds of about 10 animals, reaching 30 in good times, and occasionally dig scrapes with their horns in order to rest during the heat of the day.

Arabian Oryx Facts – Reproduction

Only the dominant male breeds. Gestation is 8.5-9 months after which one calf is born. Weaning takes place after 3.5 months, and sexual maturity is reached after 1.5-2 years.

Arabian Oryx Facts – Conservation status

Once hunted to extinction in the wild, being pursued by hunters in four-wheel drive vehicles, the Arabian oryx has been reintroduced to the wild twice. The first reintroduction took place in 1982 and for 14 years the population grew and was a success story for conservation. Unfortunately in 1996 poaching started. This was halted in 1999 and it is hoped the population will recover again. A second reintroduction in Saudi Arabia has proved successful so far.

Arabian Oryx Facts – History

The first artiodactyls (also called the ‘even-toed ungulates’) were present in the Eocene forests. The horned ruminants (deer, giraffe, antelope & cattle) first appear in the Miocene, taking advantage of the opening plains. The grazing antelopes like the oryx evolved to take advantage of all the grass-dominated environments in Africa.

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