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The Impala
Impala Herd

The impala’s social organization allows it to adapt to prevailing environmental conditions. When food is plentiful, males become territorial, shepherding females about their land. In dry periods, territories are abandoned as herds must travel farther to find food. Large, mixed tranquil herds of females and males form.

About The Impala

Parks Where Found

Physical Characteristics

  • It is red-brown with white hair inside the ears, over each eye and on the chin, upper throat, underparts and buttocks.
  • A narrow black line runs along the middle of the lower back to the tail, & a vertical black stripe appears on the back of each thigh.
  • Impalas have unique brushlike tufts of black hair that cover a scent gland located just above the heel on each hind leg.

Natural Environment

Impalas are found at grassland and woodland edges, usually very close by water.


A surprised impala herd will leap in a seemly unorganized “explosion.” However, close observation shows that this reaction actually helps keep the herd together, eventually establishing a general flight path.

Initially, an individual impala leaps up, casting about from left to right, which tends to bring individuals into contact with each other. High jumps into the air also allow impalas to release signals from the fetlock scent gland in mid-air. This scent is easier for a rapidly running impala to pick up than one left on the ground.


impalas both graze and browse. They eat young grass shoots in the wet season and herbs and shrubs at other times.

Predators and Threats

Man has continued to hunt impalas for its meat and skin. Other predators include cheetah, leopards, lions, hyenas, and wild dogs.

Facts for Fun

  • The female is similar to the male but does not have horns. The male's graceful lyre-shaped horns are 18 to 37 inches long.
  • During periods of intense mating the male vocalizes loudly, making a sound between a lion's roar and a dog's bark.
  • Exhausted by such activity, males seldom can hold their territories for more than a few months at a time.



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