Ok, so maybe I’m getting just a liiitle carried away with the “spring” thing. Bear with me, though, this one is not completely off the screen. It’s another zoo story, actually. (I guess I need to add a “zoo story” tag.) Yessir, back when I was a’workin’ at that there Foat Wuth ZOOO, my buddy Jeanne took care of the springbok herd. She had about a dozen females and their assorted offspring, and one herd male. As the official zoo “nursery” keeper, I sometimes got to help care for a rejected baby springbok for its first few days. But Jeanne always wanted to get the little buggers back into the herd as quickly as possible, so she’d take over the bottle feedings and keep the baby in the barn at the exhibit after that.

So, what does one call a baby springbok? (Warning! Possible science content ahead.) If you look at the Wikipedia page, you’ll see the male springbok referred to as a ram, the female a ewe, so it would follow that the young would be a lamb, or maybe a kid. But farther down that same page, the young are called fawns. So, which are they, sheep or deer?

Actually, neither. Since their “containing group,” Antilopinae, is in the Family Bovidae, they are a little more closely related to sheep and goats than to deer (Family Cervidae). And you can see the relationship if you consider that both male and female springbok have permanent horns, like cattle. Not branching antlers that fall off, like deer, or horns only on the males or radically different on the males, like a lot of sheep and goats. Which is probably why Jeanne always called the babies calves. I usually just called them “Shorty.”

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