Sharpe's grysbok

Sharpe's grysbok
Female in the Kruger National Park
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Clade: Synapsida
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Bovidae
Subfamily: Antilopinae
Tribe: Neotragini
Genus: Raphicerus
Species: R. sharpei
Binomial name
Raphicerus sharpei
Thomas, 1897

The Sharpe's or northern grysbok (Raphicerus sharpei) is a small, shy, solitary antelope that is found from tropical to south-eastern Africa.


They are found in Transvaal (South Africa), Caprivi Strip (Namibia), Botswana, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi and Tanzania to Lake Victoria.


It is similar in size to the gray duiker, but has a stockier body and elongated fur over the hindquarters. It stands about 20" (45–60 cm) at the shoulders and weighs only 7–11.5 kg. Its coat is reddish-brown which is streaked with white; eye-rings, around mouth, throat and underside are off-white. The males have stubby horns, which are widely spaced. Sharpe's grysbok has a short deep muzzle with large mouth and heavy molar (grinding) teeth. The short neck and face on a long-legged body result in a high-rump posture when browsing.


Although its territorial range is large, Sharpe's grysbok is infrequently seen. Males and females seem to form brief associations, but the species is usually encountered singly. Territory is marked with dung middens. Their habitat is rocky hill country, but preferring fertile zones on the lower slopes. They are nocturnal browsers and spend the day in the protective cover of tall grass or shrubs. They are extremely timid and will run away at the first sign of anything unusual, although this flight is accompanied "short stamping hops";[2] they move well away from where the disturbance occurred before stopping (unlike steenbok, which stop and look back).[3] Sharpe's Grysbok are reported to take refuge in aardvark burrows, like steenbok.

Sharpe's grysbok browse on leaves, buds, herb and fruits—in the dry season, their food is typically tough (for which their teeth and jaws are adapted). Grazed grass makes up about 30% of their diet.[2] Like the Cape grysbok they use a communal latrine and mark sticks in its vicinity with pre-orbital gland secretions.[4]


A Sharpe's grysbok in the Kruger National Park

The closely related Cape (or southern) grysbok (R. melanotis) occurs in the western Cape region. Haltenorth and Diller[5] consider R. sharpei as a subspecies of R. melanotis.


  1. IUCN SSC Antelope Specialist Group (2008). "Raphicerus sharpei". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2008. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 29 March 2009. Database entry includes a brief justification of why this species is of least concern.
  2. 1 2 Kingdon, Jonathan. 1997. The Kingdon Field Guide to African Mammals. Academic Press, San Diego & London. Pp. 386-387. (ISBN 0-12-408355-2)
  3. Smithers, Reay H.N. 1971. The Mammals of Botswana. Museum Memoir No. 4. The Trustees of the National Museum of Rhodesia, Salisbury [Harare], Rhodesia [Zimbabwe]. Pp. 221–222.
  4. Chris; Stuart, Tilde (2000). A field guide to the tracks and signs of Southern and East African wildlife (3rd ed.). Cape Town: Struik. p. 142. ISBN 1868725588. Retrieved 30 July 2015.
  5. Haltenorth, Theodor and Helmut Diller. 1980. A Field Guide to the Mammals of Africa including Madagascar. Collins, London. Pp. 53–54. (ISBN 0-00-219778-2)
Ellerman, J.R., T.C.S. Morrison-Scott and R.W. Hayman. 1953. Southern African Mammals 1758 to 1951: A Reclassification. British Museum (Natural History), London. P. 186.
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