Natural Histories

photograph of a Sunda Pangolin

Thomson's Gazelle

Eudorcas thomsonii


The Thomson’s gazelle is a small gazelle, weighing 15-35 kg. Males are larger than females weighing 20-35 kg, while females weigh only 15-25 kg. This species has bold, black lateral strip dividing the reddish-brown fur on their backs from the white belly. The face is also a reddish-brown with a broad white stripe from the eye to the nose; this stripe is bordered by a black stripe. Both males and females have backwards-curved horns with a series of marked annulations, but the males’ horns are curved forwards distally while females have smaller horns in general.


This species can be found in eastern Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, and southern Sudan. The Thomson’s gazelle prefers dry, short grasslands and shrubby savannas.

Feeding Behavior and Diet

This species feeds mainly on short grasses. During the dry season they consume more twigs, seeds, and leaves from trees. They have a high drought tolerance which gives an advantage for surviving on arid grasslands that cannot support larger ungulates.


Thomson’s gazelles mate twice per year. Male Thomson’s gazelles defend small territories, marking these territories using secretions from pre-orbital glands and dung. Males attempt to herd females that are in their territory to keep them longer. Females tend to choose to mate with males with territories of rich foraging ground for grazing. Females give birth to a (2-3 kg) single calf 6 months after mating (typically in the rainy season). Calves are precocial, meaning they are able to stand and walk soon after birth. For short periods the mother will leave her calf to graze and return frequently for the calf to nurse.

Months and Times of Activity

This gazelle migrates on a seasonal pattern similar to other ungulates of their range, but the Thomson’s gazelle stays longer in their wet season range and do not migrate as far north as other species during the dry season. This species is nomadic/ migratory and specialized for cursorial locomotion. They form groups of 5-60 individuals, these groups split and join multiple times and do not have any permanent social hierarchy. Thomson’s gazelles can also be found in groups of mixed-species such as impala or Grant’s gazelle.

Special Features, Stories, Relationships

•    This species of gazelle can run very fast, up to speeds of 70 km/hour and can even outrun cheetahs because the gazelle can run for longer periods of time!
•    The Thomson’s gazelle is well adapted to arid climates and can stay in dry grasslands for longer periods than other plains ungulates (hoofed animal) of the same region that migrate to moist habitats.
•    The Thomson’s gazelle is listed as near threatened by the IUCN Red List, although populations are stable in most areas, over time they have suffered severe declines.
•    To read legends featuring this animal go to;
•    Children’s book featuring this animal: Safari: A Photicular Book by Dan Kainen and Carol Kaufmann


Auman, A.; R. Fye and T. Dewey 2009. "Eudorcas thomsonii" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed November 04, 2014 at