Royal Antelope • Royal Antelope imaging

Last update: April 9th, 2020 at 6:00 am

The Royal Antelope (Neotragus pygmaeus) is around 25 centimeters  (10 inches) tall at the shoulder and weighs around 2.7 kilograms (just under 6 pounds). This West African monogamous nocturnal herbivore marks its territory with dung and is sexually mature after six months.

The royal antelope (Neotragus pygmaeus) is a West African antelope, recognised as the world’s smallest antelope. It was first described by Swedish zoologist Carl Linnaeus in 1758. It stands up to merely 25 centimetres (10 in) at the shoulder and weighs 2.5–3 kilograms (5.5–6.6 lb). A characteristic feature is the long and slender legs, with the hindlegs twice as long as the forelegs. Horns are possessed only by males; the short, smooth, spiky horns measure 2.5–3 centimetres (1.0–1.2 in) and bend backward. The soft coat is reddish to golden brown, in sharp contrast with the white ventral parts. In comparison to Bates’s pygmy antelope, the royal antelope has a longer muzzle, broader lips, a smaller mouth and smaller cheek muscles.

Typically nocturnal (active at night), the royal antelope exhibits remarkable alertness. Territories are marked with dung. A herbivore, the royal antelope prefers small quantities of fresh foliage and shoots; fruits and fungi may be taken occasionally. Like other neotragines, the royal antelope is monogamous. Both sexes can become sexually mature by as early as six months. Births have been reported in November and December. A single, delicate young is born after an unknown gestational period.

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