Springbok Mohawk


AH enthusiast
Aug 10, 2016
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SE, Minnesota
Hunting reports
Hi members, I have an unusual question. My daughter is 12 yrs old and in 7th grade. In one of her classes she has to do an informative report on an animal they drew out of the hat. Her animal just happened to be the springbok. She came home and told me this and was excited as she is hearing about me and my wife planning our first safari.
She is into hunting and goes with us and so forth. She told me that at public school they can't talk about hunting. Why I don't know but the teacher won't let her. I told her I believe when a springbok is harvested it gets sort of a Mohawk for a short time once it expires. She really wants to talk about that as that would be a way to bring hunting into the report without talking about hunting (hopefully this makes sense). Is this called a special name or phrase. I tried to google it and that was interesting so I thought I would turn here as you guys have helped so much on my other questions. Thanks for the help!
I do not remember if it had a special name but it is special to see. It also smelled like cotton candy. Mine lasted about 5 min. If you shoot one be sure to get there fast and experience it. It is something you will always remember.
She would not have to say when hunted(by people) or shot. She can just say when it dies or is killed .......like from a lion etc.

One thing about it is that they have not been able to make it happen on a mount I am told.
Hi there here is my take:

Springbok often go into bouts of repeated high leaps (up to 4m /13 feet) into the air in a practice known as "pronking" (the Afrikaans word pronk means to show off) or "stotting".
While pronking, the springbok leaps back into the air as soon as it comes down, with its back bowed and the white fan lifted. The Latin name Marsupialis comes from the presence of this pocket-like skin flap which opens the crest of white erected hair on its back.
While the exact cause of this behaviour is unknown, springbok exhibit this activity when they are nervous or otherwise excited. One theory is that pronking is meant to indicate to predators that they have been spotted. Another is that springboks show off their individual strength and fitness so that the predator will go for another (presumably weaker) member of the group. When fleeing from a predator, springbok do not pronk, but rather run at speeds of up to 80 km/h (50 mph). Another theory is that pronking enhances vigilance and gives the members of a herd a clear view of the surrounding countryside and its dangers.
However, this most distinctive defensive behaviour of the springbok, is a captivating sight.
This crest that opens during pronking, grows out of a strip of glandular skin that produces a waxy secretion. The odour(almost like honey) of this sectretion is released as the crest is flared. Anyone that ever smelled this, will know that few odours match the richness and sweetness of the springbok's pronk.

I hope this helps.

Kind Regards
Juan Stander
Wonderful description, Juan. I'll guess the common name comes from its springing action? Sure would be something to see first hand...
The Oryx back hair stands up like a Mohawk as well when the animal dies.
@LJ Safaris has it right. The Latin name for the springbok is Antidorcas Marsupialis. The Marsupialis part comes from marsupials, which are mammals that carry their young in a pouch (and are typically found only in the Antipodes - kangaroo and the like). When people saw the the springbok had a flap of skin on its back, it looked like a pouch (even though nothing is stored there), hence the name. By the way, the Anitdorcas part of the name was to distinguish the springbok from the dorcas gazelle (and other members of the gazelle family), which it resembles in many (outward) respects. So we get a Latin name that is something like "not a gazelle, which you would think from its appearance, but with a pouch on its back." I think that's kind of cool. And it might even be useful for a school presentation!

As for the "pouch", note that the hair which becomes visible when it stands up is white, while the back of the springbok is tan. The "fan" is longer towards the front than the back, and will stand up for some minutes just after death. Apart from death, male springbok display the fan as a mating ritual, and it is also displayed as a warning when predators are encountered.

The skin under the pouch has a smell, as LJ pointed out, which reminds me of honeysuckle, while I've heard others say it smells of paraffin - likely of the beeswax type.

If you shoot a springbok, don't waste any time getting up to the animal. Hold it up on the ground, admire the fan, and rub your hand inside. You will see, feel and smell something that is really only available to hunters. Oh, and then eat it. Springbok are very tasty!
Here´s a picture for you, taken at Serapa, one of our sponsors.



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Here´s a picture for you

Whoa! That's even more than I expected to see! Fascinating
I love how I keep getting new and exciting info from this community
Since Nyati started this (!), here's another:

You guys.....you've got to stop. Now I want to add this critter to the next trip. Such a dangerous place for me to spend my time
If you google springboks pronking you'll find several pictures of them displaying without your daughter trying to explain a dead animal or happy hunter ;-)
I am impressed at your depth of knowledge... I'm looking forward to putting a beer in your hand and hearing what else you know!:D Beer Bottle:
See ya in May.

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