Have you ever heard of a gerenuk?

What does this word mean?

What is a gerenuk and where does it live?

BombX [CC BY-SA 3.0 (]

You may not have ever heard of a gerenuk before, but if you haven’t, then it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with this creature. If you’ve ever wanted to learn more about the gerenuk animal, you’re in luck!

In this article, you’ll find out all sorts of information about this creature. You can learn about the gerenuk family, where it lives, what it eats, and much more. No matter how much you want to know about this animal, you’re sure to discover something you didn’t know before and expand your horizons a little bit at the same time.

And if you want to find out more about the gerenuk scientific classification and other more science-related facts and info, this article has you covered there, too. You can discover the gerenuk class, its scientific name, and lots more among the information listed below. You can even find out whether or not there are different species of this creature and where it fits into the ecosystem where it lives, too.

So, are you ready to get started learning about the gerenuk?

Scientific Basics

Do you want to find out more about this animal including the giraffe gazelle scientific name it goes by and more? Check out this section for some information about the scientific basics surrounding the gerenuk, including the various names it goes by and plenty of other info to help you get started better understanding this unique animal and its place in the world.

What class and family does this creature belong to?

The gerenuk is part of the Mammalia class, meaning that it is a mammal, just like humans. Of course, it doesn’t look much like a human, and the resemblance isn’t very strong! It is a member of the Bovidae family, which means it is related to cows, buffalo, antelopes, wildebeests, and lots of other similar creatures. The gerenuk looks a lot more like a cow than it does a human, and this is because they’re part of the same scientific family. To get even more specific, they are part of the Antilopinae subfamily, so they’re even more closely related to antelopes.

What is its scientific name?

The gerenuk (litocranius walleri) is part of the Litocranius genus. In fact, it’s the only animal that makes up this genus, so it doesn’t have any other very close relatives. It was discovered in 1878 and given its Latin scientific name around this same time. Although it’s the only member of its genus, its nearby family members and subfamily members look very similar to it.

Does it have other common names?

The gerenuk is also referred to as the giraffe gazelle, although this is not quite correct. It may look a little like a giraffe and a little like a gazelle, but this animal is its own species and is not derived from the two. Some people mistakenly think a giraffe and a gazelle can have a baby together and make a gerenuk, but this isn’t correct!

Are there more than one species of gerenuk?

No, there are no other species of gerenuk. This animal is the only member of its genus. It is closely related to the springbok, or the Antidorcas marsupialis, but they are not part of the same genus and therefore aren’t different species of the same animal. From a scientific standpoint, these two animals are not very different. But when you look at them, they still appear quite a lot different from each other.


Do you want to know more about where gerenuks are located and whether or not you can ever see one? In this section, you’ll learn about where these creatures were first found and whether or not they still live in the same location. If you ever want to go exploring or adventuring to get a look at a gerenuk for yourself, this information can help you get a good start.

Katrin Arndt [CC BY-SA 2.5 (]

Where was it first found?

The gerenuk African animal was originally found on the continent of Africa. This creature, sometimes also called the African gerenuk due to its habitat location, was once found more widespread across the continent. However, these days, its habitat is slowly being destroyed by humans. Although the gerenuk is not yet endangered, it is classified as “near threatened” because its numbers are decreasing more and more every year. As its habitat shrinks, this animal is losing its ability to remain on the African continent that it calls home. This is just one of the many reasons why it’s important to work toward conservation of species like the gerenuk.

Where does it live now?

Today, this African giraffe gazelle can only be found on the northeastern side of Africa. It mainly calls Kenya its home, but it can also be found in Ethiopia, Somalia, and Tanzania. The African gazelle gerenuk can thrive in the kind of landscape in these parts of Africa. It enjoys places where there is a lot of brush and low vegetation it can hide in, but it prefers to stay away from very wooded places where predators could easily sneak up on it. It also likes to stay away from open spaces, since it becomes an easier target for large predatory animals in these kinds of fields and plains.


The giraffe gazelle animal known as the gerenuk does not have any immediate relatives, but that doesn’t mean it’s lacking in an extended family. This creature is related distantly to many different types of animals, and if you go far enough back in its scientific classification, it’s even related to humans. But more closely than that, there are lots of similar creatures it can call its cousins. If you’re interested in learning more about the relationships between the gerenuk and other animals like it, check out the information below to help you get a better idea of its relatives.

Is it related to any other animals?

Does the gerenuk have real relatives? It looks like many types of creatures, but which one is it really? When it comes to a battle of giraffe vs gazelle, which one wins the gerenuk? There are a lot of questions to ask when trying to uncover the mystery of this unique, strange creature, but the answers aren’t that difficult or complicated in reality.

Sometimes the gerenuk is mislabeled and is identified as all sorts of different animals. It can even sometimes be called the giraffe gazelle antelope, which is even more confusing than ever before! Part of the reason the gerenuk is not easy to identify is because it’s actually closely related to lots of different animals.

The gerenuk is part of the scientific family that includes cows—even the same kinds of cows you might see on farms all around the country. This group also includes buffalo and bison, goats, sheep, oxen, impalas, and more. Any animals that have cloven hooves and eat plants may fall into this category, but they don’t always. And yes—this group also includes the antelopes and gazelles that gerenuks are often confused with.

Does it just look like a giraffe, a gazelle, and an antelope, or are they relatives?

The gerenuk (sometimes called the gerenuk antelope) does look a lot like all three of these animals. In fact, it’s part of a subfamily called Antilopinae that descends from the Bovidae family mentioned above. This subfamily includes gazelles, springboks, and blackbucks along with gerenuks. For this reason, you can consider a gerenuk an antelope, but not all antelopes are the same thing as gerenuks. These creatures are their own separate genus among the antelope subfamily.

So is it more correct to call this animal a gerenuk gazelle or an antelope? Both are sort of accurate and sort of not. Gazelles and gerenuks are part of the same antelope subfamily, but they’re different animals in reality. The gerenuk is further divided into a tribe that branches off from the Antilopinae subfamily. This tribe is called Antilopini, and it includes dwarf antelopes and smaller gazelles. These little variations of antelopes are the closest relatives of the gerenuk.

And where do giraffes come in? In fact, gerenuks only look like giraffes because of their long necks. They aren’t actually very closely related to giraffes at all. Giraffes fall into a family called Giraffidae, which is different from the Bovidae family of gerenuks. Although they have a common distant ancestor, they do not have a lot of other similarities outside of their appearances.


The gerenuk has a lot of nicknames that give you some information about what it looks like. Sometimes called the giraffe necked gazelle, this animal may look a little bit silly, but its appearance helps it survive and thrive in its habitat. Learning about the appearance of the gerenuk as well as why it has developed its unique features can help you further understand this creature’s relationship with its surroundings. It can also help you get a better idea for how the gerenuk fits into its ecosystem as well as what kind of role it plays in the animal world.

Lip Kee from Singapore, Republic of Singapore [CC BY-SA 2.0 (]

Long neck

The gerenuk is sometimes called a gazelle giraffe because of its distinctive long neck. When you look at this creatures shorter deer-like body, you may be surprised to see that it has such a long neck coming off of it! This long neck helps the gerenuk reach the vegetation it likes to eat on the low branches of trees in Africa. The creature can stand on its back legs and stretch out its neck to reach up and pull the vegetation off the branches with its teeth. This unique long neck may look like a giraffe’s, but the two animals aren’t very similar otherwise.

Thin neck

Another reason the gerenuk is identified as a giraffe gazelle is because of the thinness of its neck. The creature’s neck isn’t just long, but it’s also very thin and graceful-looking. This makes the gerenuk more closely resemble a gazelle, which is one of its nearer relatives. The thin neck is easy for the creature to control even when it’s standing on its hind legs trying to reach its favorite Acacia trees. The neck can also help the gerenuk pay more attention as it watches for predators like lions and leopards.

Long and narrow head

The giraffe gazelle earns its nickname in one other way: its long, narrow head. With a shape very similar to a gazelle’s, the gerenuk’s head is perfectly designed to help the creature reach into branches of its favorite trees and pluck food from the branches. The trees it enjoys eating from tend to have thorns, so the animal’s long and somewhat pointed head and mouth can get around these thorns more easily than some other creatures due to their shape and size. Of course, combined with the long neck, the head shape of the gerenuk makes it look even more like a giraffe than it probably would otherwise!


There is a lot of information out there about the gerenuk, and this article has really only scratched the surface. If you want to find out more, don’t be afraid to dig a little deeper and discover even more exciting facts, pictures, and much more about the unique and interesting gerenuk.

And don’t forget to use the information you’ve learned in this article to help guide you! You can pick from the facts above and choose something you want to expand your knowledge about even further. You may also want to remember some of these facts so you can surprise your friends and family with everything you know about this unique animal.

Gerenuks are fascinating creatures that deserve a little more attention than they tend to get. Now that you’ve learned a little about them, keep going!