Features and Habitat of Scimitar-horned oryx

Scimitar oryx in the Werribee Open Range Zoo, Victoria, Australia

The scimitar oryx or scimitar-horned oryx, also known as the Sahara oryx, is a kind of oryx that was once widespread across North Africa. The species went extinct in the wild in 2000. Still, a group was discharged into an acclimation enclosure within the Ouadi Rimé-Ouadi Achim Faunal Reserve in 2016, then reintroduced back into the wild. Twenty-one additional animals were placed in the acclimation room in 2017.

With its massive, powerful-looking swordlike horns, the Scimitar Horned Oryx, native to Northern Africa, is now endangered and extinct. It’s now kept and bred in high fenced game ranches.

The scimitar oryx has 58 chromosomes. It has one pair of large submetacentric autosomes and 27 acrocentric autosomal pairs. The X and Y chromosomes are the most significant and smallest acrocentrics. 

The first molecular study of this species observed genetic diversity among European, North American, and other captive groups. The divergence was found within the mitochondrial DNA haplotypes and was estimated to have taken place between 2.1 and 2.7 million years ago. Population increases occurred at about 1.2 and 0.5 million years ago.

What They Resemble Like:

It’s a massive white antelope with a brownish or orangish head and feet. All have large horns, ringed and swept back, matching scimitar swords (hence the name). The lengths of the horns often exceed 36 inches and often diverge widely. Males typically weigh 300 – 470 lbs. And females usually weigh 200-370 lbs.

What/How They Eat:

Both the male and female eat just about the same way/things. They are selective sometimes. You can see the scimitar-horned oryx drilling the ground and tossing up dirt looking for roots or tubers.

How They Live:

The scimitar-horned oryx is a nomadic animal that goes where the rains fall, and food and water are plentiful. They prefer open expanses with a good water supply, just like other African Herbivores.

Water And Climate:

The scimitar-horned oryx gets much of its water from feeding on plants. They typically graze when climate condition allows them to do so. When the water content is highest in the plants, they eat. (mornings and before the sun sets). They’ve typically done well in drier climates, where parasite levels are low.

Temperament And Social Compatibility:

Scimitar-Horned oryx is generally soft with each other though not with humans. Oryx are usually compatible with other exotics as long as male scimitar-horned oryx have other males of their kind to spar with. They also bond and breed with other oryx such as Addax or Arabian Oryx to produce fertile offspring.


Parasite resistance in Scimitar Horned Oryx populations is generally low, and parasite populations usually are highest (as previously mentioned) in damp, watery regions. Oryx does not regularly do well in hot weather. If carnivores chase the oryx in warm weather, they collapse and die.

Breeding, Birth, Gestation, And Young:

Scimitar-Horned Oryx breed all year round, and their birth season is all year round. Female gestation periods are anywhere from 8.5 – 10 months long. The child is typically just one, with twins being rare. 

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