The klipspringer is a small antelope found in eastern and southern Africa.
They are restricted to rocky habitat including rocky hills or outcrops, koppies, and gorges with rocky sides.
Klipspringers can be found on rocky mountains as high as 4,500 meters (14,800 feet) tall.
The lifespan of the klipspringer is up to 15 years in the wild and up to 17 years and 10 months in captivity.
This small antelope reaches from 43 to 60 centimeters (17 to 24 in) at the shoulder and weighs from 8 to 18 kilograms (18 to 40 lb).
Adaptations for its specialized niche include a stocky build with massive hindquarters, a short neck, a vestigial tail, a dense undercoat with brittle, air-filled guard hairs, and the ability to stand on tiptoes of its truncated hoofs.
Its coloring—shades of grizzled tan, gray, and brown, which vary with location—conceals the klipspringer from predators; it has no contrasting markings except its large, rounded ears, which are white inside and have black margins.
The horns, short and spiky, typically measure 7.5 to 9 centimeters (3 to 3.5 in).
Like other African antelope, the hairs of the klipspringer are hollow and smoothed flat. Their hair assists with the reflection of radiant heat, provides insulation from thermal extremes, reduces moisture loss, and protects them from injuries.
Klipspringers are active both during the day and the night, but are considered most active early in the morning and late in the afternoon. They will spend between 15 and 40 percent of their day feeding.
They will travel up to 10 km (6 mi) along flat land between isolated koppies.
Primarily a browser, the klipspringer prefers young plants, fruits and flowers. Grasses, eaten mainly in the wet season, form a minor portion of the diet.
Klipspringers communicate with whistles when alarmed. They stand still and erect for long periods of time, presumably watching out for predators. They use scent to communicate with outsiders, marking territory with dung piles and excretions from a preorbital gland, a dark, slit-like area beneath each eye.
Klipspringers are found solitary, in monogamous pairs, or as a family group with a male, female, and their offspring.
After breeding, the female gives birth to a single offspring about six months later. Births occur at any time of the year, with peaks during the rainy season. The newborn is carefully hidden for up to three months to protect it from the view of predators. The calf is weaned at four to five months, and leaves its mother when it turns a year old.
While it has been oft repeated that the klipspringer can jump 7.6 meters (25 feet) straight up in the air, it is now thought that is an exaggeration—3 to 3.6 meters (10 to 12 feet) is more accurate. But the name klipspringer is Dutch for “rock jumper.”
Its Kiswahili name “goat of the rocks” is apt, although it more closely resembles Eurasian goat antelopes such as the chamois and is radically different from other dwarf antelopes of its tribe, Neotragini, of the family Bovidae.
According to The Handbook of the Mammals of the World, there are 11 different species of klipspringer, based on where they live in Africa.
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) classifies the klipspringer as Least Concern.
The klipspringer is hunted for its meat, leather and hair.