Goitered gazelles are tan with a white underbelly and rump and a black tail. Their coloration is very similar to that of the pronghorn. Adults have a white face, brown nose, and eye stripe. These tiny hoofed animals weigh 40–73 pounds and stand 2–2½ feet tall at the shoulder—about the size of a large dog. Males are larger then females, and have long (10- to 17-inch), curved black horns that twist outward and back in at the tip, forming an S shape. Females are usually hornless.
Habits and Adaptations
Goitered gazelles are adapted to the wide range of weather conditions found in desert and semidesert areas on mountains, plains, and plateaus from Turkey to Mongolia. The eastern end of their range includes the Gobi desert. Throughout most of their range, goitered gazelles undergo seasonal migration. In the summer they live in small family groups of two to five. They are most active in early morning and late afternoon. During the day they take shelter in the shade and dig shallow, oval-shaped pits to lie in. In winter, goitered gazelles live in herds with dozens or even hundreds of animals and graze during the daytime. Goitered gazelles can run about 36 mph when threatened. Unlike other gazelles, they do not leap when running.
Eat and Be Eaten
Goitered gazelles consume large amounts of grasses, leaves, and shoots—about 30% of their body weight each day. Much of the moisture they need comes from their food. The gazelles in turn are eaten by leopards and wolves.
Unlike most of their close relatives, goitered gazelles have a distinct breeding season. They mate during November, December, and January, and the young—often twins—are born in April and May. The young lay camouflaged for the first two weeks of life while their mothers are off feeding. The mothers return to nurse them about three times a day, weaning them after 4–5 months. Females are sexually mature at about 9 months of age and males at 18 months of age. During the breeding season, adult males become territorial. They place dung middens in strategic locations to mark their territory. Males bellow hoarsely during the rut. Goitered gazelles live 12–15 years.