This is my Scimitar-Horned Oryx fact sheet


ANIMAL: Scimitar-Horned Oryx Oryx dammah
Type of Animal: Antelope
Habitat: Sub-desert, steppe, wooded inter-dunal depressions, rolling dunes, desert, arid plains, rocky hillsides, thick brush, chaparral
Location(s): Formerly all over North Africa and Sahel. Now only in small pockets of that range.
Appearance: White with a reddish-brown area on the neck. Males and females have long, sharp horns. A few brownish tinges on the body.
Food/Diet: Grasses, herbs, buds, juicy roots, legumes, leaves, fruit, euphorbias, perennials, acacia pods, shoots.
Status in Wild: Critically Endangered
Conservation: Breeding on ranches, zoos, and wildlife parks. Reintroductions into Tunisia, Senegal, Morocco.
Lifestyle: Nowadays, herds consist of a dominant male w/ his harem of 3-20 females and calves. Sometimes, 3-6 subordinate males are found in the breeding herds. Other males form bachelor herds of 3-6 animals. Herds were much larger in the past. Also, aggregations of many herds came together forming mega-herds of up to 500 in migrations.
Additional Info:
Males: Females: Young: Group:
Called: Bull Cow Calf Herd
Weight: 470 lbs 300 lbs 22-30 lbs Gestation:Life Span: 8-8.5 months
Height: 4 ft 3.9 ft
Body Length: 4.9-7.5 ft Same Up to 20 years
Tail Length: 2 ft Same
Formerly, main predators were lions, leopards, hyenas, and wild dogs.
2nd most common antelope in captivity, with up to 1,200 being held on ranches, zoos, and wildlife parks worldwide.
Almost extinct in the wild due to climate change, competition with livestock, habitat loss, conversion of habitat into farmland, hunting for horns and sport.
Being reintroduced into Tunisia’s Dghoumes National Park.
Many institutions collaborating to form World Herd for reintroduction in wild.
Very common on exotic game ranches in Texas.
Even though their horns are sharp, fights are not fierce.
 Fun Fact(s): They’re somewhat aggressive.
They rarely need to drink. Get water from plants they eat.
Basis for the unicorn myth.

13 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Marisa Silver on January 26, 2010 at 11:13 pm

    That’s very interesting about the exotic game ranches in Texas. I never knew about that. What are these ranches for? Do they sell the animals to zoos? Are they preserves? Can you visit these places?


    • The exotic game ranches are sometimes preserves for conservation and will give animals to zoos. Many exotic game ranches are hunting preserves that allow hunting of many exotic animals including oryx and addax. The ranches say the money goes towards conservation efforts. Many hunters are against these “canned hunts” because it takes away the idea of “fair chase”.


      • Posted by Marisa Silver on January 27, 2010 at 8:49 pm

        It’s pretty ironic for the exotic game ranchers to say the money made by allowing people to hunt the animals goes towards conservation, don’t you think? A bit of hypocrisy there.

      • I do think it’s somewhat ironic that money from ranches goes towards conservation when the ranchers are hunting and killing the animals. rather hypocritical.

  2. Wow, Daniel. It is great that you are organizing all the animal info. I like the fun facts a lot. I like thinking that the oryx gave rise to the unicorn myth. Would it be okay if I show your blog to the other kids who are interested in animals?


    • Thank you, I’ve always wanted to do something like this! The whole story about the oryx giving rise to the unicorn myth has to do with seeing them in the distance. In the distance, it looked like the oryx only had one horn so that gives rise to the unicorn myth. Of course, you can show my blog to the other kids that are interested in animals.


  3. Posted by Adele Silver on January 28, 2010 at 9:07 pm

    Daniel, I am just as fascinated as Phyllis K by the unicorn myth having its origin in the oryx, seen from a distance. You have probably done lots of research on this, and I wonder if you have come across anything about the Unicorn Tapestries, a set of medieval woven pictures that are now in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum in New York (I think). If they are in the Met collection, we can see them together whenever they are next on exhibtion, and I will check to see when that might be.. Nana


    • I’ve done quite a bit of research on the basis of the unicorn myth. I’ve heard of the unicorn tapestries but I’ve never seen them, they sound quite interesting. The tapestries sound very cool.


      • Posted by Sarah Silver on January 29, 2010 at 9:26 pm

        nana and daniel, aren’t the unicorn tapestries at the botanical gardens at the very northern end of Manhattan?

        — Aunt Sarah

  4. Posted by Adele Silver on February 1, 2010 at 2:42 am

    Sarah and Daniel, yes, the Unicorn tapestries are at the northern end of Manhattan, but not at the botanical gardens. They are in the Cloisters, which is a part of the Metropolitan Museum devoted entirely to medieval art. I’m not sure the tapestries are always on view, as they are fragile and have to be protected from light, but it’s entirely possible that the Met has figured out how to keep them on permanent view and still protect them from damage. They are among the most beautiful works of medieval art in this country, so I really do hope you’ll come to see them with me, Daniel. You too, Sarah! Mother/Nana


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