Thomsonís Gazelle (Gazella thomsoni)


Family: †††††††††††††††††† Bovidae.

Status:†††††††††††††††††††† No special status.

Size:††††††††††††††††††††††† Shoulder height 23 to 28 inches (58 to 70 cm); weight 30 to 60 pounds.

Diet:††††††††††††††††††††††† Herbivore.

Characteristics:††††††† Dainty, graceful, quick.

Area:†††††††††††††††††††††† East Africa.

Offspring:††††††††††††††† One offspring once or twice per year.

Predators:†††††††††††††† Lion, cheetah, jackal, leopard, wild dog, spotted hyena.


       Thomsonís gazelle is one of the 10 fastest mammals in the world, at 50 miles per hour.

       Thomsonís gazelles are also referred to as ďtommies.Ē

       Males mark their territories and will tolerate familiar males in their territories as long as they remain subordinate and do not approach the females.  


Thomson's gazelle is the best-known and most common gazelle in East Africa. Itís named for Joseph Thomson, a nineteenth century Scottish naturalist and explorer who was the first European to enter several regions of eastern Africa. This small, graceful gazelle has light reddish-brown fur on its back, with a lighter, fawn coloured stripe underneath and a black stripe leading from the foreleg to the hindquarters. The belly is white. Males have long ringed horns, while females have short, smooth horns or no horns at all. They live in either same-sex groups of up to 100, or mixed groups of as many as 700 gazelles. Thomsonís gazelle is most active in the early morning and the evening. They graze on various grasses and plants and during the rainy season can go without drinking for long periods. During dry periods, they need to be near a water source, sometimes travelling as much as 100 miles to find one. During migration, herds may number into the thousands, joining up with Grantís gazellesóa similar, but larger gazelle. Although their numbers have declined due to hunting and the spread of agriculture, the population of Thompsonís gazelle is stable. This may be because only cheetahs are faster and can run them down during a chase. Even so, gazelles can turn more quickly than cheetahs, so a chase doesnít necessarily end in a victory for the cheetah. When alarmed, they spring stiffly up and down in a manner referred to as stotting or pronking.



The grassy plains and savanna of Kenya, North Tanzania and southeast Sudan, from sea-level to 19,000 feet.



Mating usually takes place in winter, with births taking place 5 months later, in spring. The female leaves the herd a few days before giving birth. She may stay alone with her baby for up to 3 weeks. Weaning takes place after the youngster reaches two months of age, and they become full grown within a year. Males are then expelled from the herd to go and join a bachelor herd. This helps to avoid inbreeding. The lifespan of a Thomsonís gazelle is from 10 to 13 years, up to 15 years in captivity.