Order: Artiodactyla - even-toed ungulates
Family: Bovidae - cattle, sheep, antelopes, goats, bison, buffalo
Scientific Name: Addax nasomaculatus
The addax’s coat color varies seasonally from pure white to pale gray or tan. A white “x” running across the face from cheek to nose is evident in dark individuals. The forehead is covered with dense black hair and the long tail has a black tuft at the tip. Their horns are thin, gently spiraled 2-3 times and are 30-36” long. The female’s horns are thinner than those of a male. Hooves have a wide base that is an adaptation to walking on soft sand. The body is 5-5½ feet long and stands about 40” at the shoulder, weighing about 295 pounds.
Home Range: Sahara Desert
Habitat Type: Desert
Life Span: About 18-25 years in captivity
Reproduction: Gestation is believed to be 8.5 to 8.8 months producing one offspring. Breeding may occur throughout the year, but peak season of birth is winter to early spring. Weight at birth is 11 pounds. Males reach sexual maturity at about 24 months, while females enter their first real estrus during their second or third summer. The young are weaned 23-29 weeks (4-6 months) after birth.
Diet in the Wild: Various grass and shrubs. In desert areas where vegetation is sparse, infrequent rainfalls will stimulate rapid growth of vegetation and Addax are drawn to these areas as if they had a sixth sense.
Diet in the Zoo: Younger addax are fed ADF-16 cubes, alfalfa hay, prairie hay plus produce and bread for enrichment. Adults are fed ADF-16 cubes, soybean meal, alfalfa hay and prairie hay.
General Information: The addax is well adapted to life in the desert, even in the most arid parts, where there is virtually no vegetation. It survives on sparse growth that occurs in the desert after the rare meager rain falls. Can survive for weeks or months without drinking water. It must travel great distances to find adequate food supplies. The body temperature of addax varies during the day. It goes up several degrees during the heat of the day, thus evaporative cooling through excess sweating is not required to keep body temperatures much lower than the surrounding atmosphere. They are active from dusk through sunrise taking advantage of the cooler temperatures. The addax also draws upon water from various tissues of the body to keep the water level in the bloodstream correct. Although these animals lose weight due to dehydration, they regain it quickly when water becomes available.
Conservation Status: Numbers have dwindled over the past 40 years and they are listed by IUCN Red List as Critically Endangered and CITES Appendix I. Broad based hooves to support them in soft sand, and their body is heavily built. This reduces their speed on solid ground and makes them easy prey to poachers in jeeps and planes, or on camels and horses, using dogs or modern weapons. Both the meat and skin are prized by the natives, with the latter being used for shoe and sandal soles. Addax populations have also been greatly reduced by recent severe droughts and by tourists who chase them in 4-wheelers, exhausting them to the point of death. In ancient Egypt, addax were kept in stables in large numbers and possibly used for cult purposes. They have been absent from Egypt since 1900.
Walker’s Mammals of the World, 6th Ed., Vol. II, 1178-1179 pp.