The Addax

The Addax, also known as the screwhorn antelope, is a critically endangered desert antelope that lives in several isolated regions in Muslim countries in the Sahara desert. It is closely related to the oryx, but differs from other antelopes by having large square teeth like cattle. It is extremely rare in its native habitat. There are some in captivity and it is regularly bred on ranches where they are hunted as trophies. There are fewer than 500 addax left in the wild, and fewer than 860 in captivity.

The Addax stands 1 meter tall at the shoulder and weighs up to 120 kilograms. In winter it’s coat is greyish brown with white hind quarters and legs. In summer, it turns almost completely white or sandy blonde. The head is marked with brown or black patches that form an X over the nose. They have a scraggly beard and prominent red nostrils. Horns, found on both males and females, can reach 120 centimetres in males. The tail is short, ending in a puff of hair. Hooves are broad with flat soles and strong dewclaws to help walk on soft sand.

In ancient times, addax spread from Northern Africa through Arabia and Palestine. They were kept as domesticated animals in Egypt around 2500 BC. Addax live in desert terrain where they eat grass, and leaves of bushes. They can live in deep desert under extreme conditions and can survive without free water almost indefinitely, because they get moisture from their food and dew that condenses on plants. Addax are nocturnal and are able to live far apart, because their sensory powers allow them to locate each other at great distances.