Have you ever asked yourself this question too? No one is one hundred percent sure, but the best answer is that this pouch is used for breeding purposes.
When springboks are excited or disturbed by a predator, they perform a beautiful dance called pronking, where the animal jumps or bounces on all four of its legs at a time, curving its back and bowing its head down, bouncing repeatedly in a stiff legged jump. While doing so they open this pouch on their backs and reveal a beautiful bright white colour from inside. When breeding they perform this pronking behaviour and reveal this white pouch, which also releases a sweet scent, a bit like honey, which is said to be appealing to the lady springbok that the male is trying to impress.
When it comes to pronking when disturbed by a predator, the behaviour is said to be a way of telling or showing the predator that they are strong and in great health and should not be the target for an attack.
So the question remains, why would they release this lovely scent for an anti-predatory behaviour? The answer lies in whether they open this pouch fully when pronking for predators or whether this is only done for impressing the females? The answer to this is yet to be studied. Either way it is a beautiful behaviour to witness, making springboks unique in this behaviour.
Julien is French and Scottish, born in 1988 in Nairobi Kenya.
He's a professional Nature Guide and Trails Guide speaking both French and English. He has been lucky enough to have worked in some of the most amazing destinations Africa has to offer, from East Africa to Southern Africa, as well as some time in Central Africa.
From a very young age he knew he needed to work with animals, big or small, and somewhere in nature. He was always picking creatures up and trying to see the world from their perspective, trying to understand them as much as possible, mesmerised by their shapes and colours. He liked to share this passion with everyone around, always trying to get them involved in his discoveries. Nature is all around us, in Europe, Asia or Africa, all we have to do is realise it.