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Addax
SCIENTIFIC NAME: Addax nasomaculatus
ORDER: Artiodactyla
FAMILY: Bovidae
RANGE: Chad, Mali and Mauritania
HABITAT: true desert
DIET: desert grasses, shoots, tubers and succulents
Status: critically endangered

The addax is a large antelope, weighing up to 300 pounds and standing 42 inches at the shoulder. The coat is sand-colored in summer, changing to grayish-brown in winter. The legs, hips, belly, ears and facial markings are white and the black-tipped tail is long. A tuft of brown hair is prominent on the forehead and a white chevron crosses the nose. Both sexes have thin, back-slanted horns with a spiral twist up to three turns. The flat, broad and widely splayed hooves are adaptations for traveling on desert sand.

The addax walks in an amble, throwing its wide-hoofed feet sideways to avoid brushing against the opposite limb, but places one foot behind the other, leaving a single line of tracks. The animal runs in a flat gallop and appears stiff-kneed, due to minimal leg flexing while running. It is considered one of the slowest runners in its tribe, perhaps reflecting its adaptation to sandy substrates.

The most desert-adapted of antelopes, the addax seems to thrive in the extreme heat, eating coarse grasses and drinking very little water, deriving sufficient moisture from dew and the plants it eats. Addax live in herds of 5-to-20 animals, led by an old male, traveling great distances in search of the scant vegetation of the Sahara. Principally nocturnal and crepuscular, the animals rest during the heat of the day.

Gestation is 300-to-360 days, followed by the birth of a single calf, which is concealed for up to six weeks, being retrieved and suckled once or twice a day by its mother. The natal coat is tan with faint or no markings.