Steenbok | Botswana Wildlife Guide

male steenbok. Graham Cooke

Steenbok [Racipherus campestris]

Best places to see Steenbuck in Botswana

Widespread throughout Botswana. The Steenbok is generally an arid-habitat species, but in Botswana they are found in the Okavango Delta as well.

Observations

Known to survive without having to drink water, the steenbok derives its moisture needs from the food it eats, which includes leaves, roots and grass. Both sexes of the steenbok have territories which are aggressively defended against intruders. They occur singly or in pairs during the mating season.

It was believed that steenbok mate for life but this theory has been relooked at. The theory may have stemmed from observations in arid areas where the territories were large and the same pair generally paired up due to safety in distance.

An interesting aspect of steenbok behaviour is that they urinate and defecate in a hole they scrape in the ground, after which they put the earth back over the hole. This is believed to be an adaptation to prevent predators picking up their scent. As they have small territories any sign of their presence would be fatal.

Steenbok are preyed upon by all major predators with cheetah and leopard being the major protagonists. Despite their small size Steenbok are fiercely protective of their territories and young, and defend both at all costs.

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