(Latin = Neotragus moschatus , Afrikaans = Soenie)
- Numbers: Very low
- Weight: 4 – 6 kg (9 – 13 lb)
- Shoulder height: 35 cm (14 in.)
- Record Horn Length:
- SCI: 4 and five eights in.
- Rowland Ward: 4 in.
- Females horns? No
The Steenbuck has a light-brown to chestnut coat, fading slightly at the flanks. White underparts and inner legs. They have broad, rounded ears, ashy-grey on the outside and pink inside. Only the rams grow horns, which are short, straight, heavily ridged and smooth tipped. Of all African antelope, this species has the largest pre-orbital scent glands relative to body size.
Sunis feed on the forest floor, mostly at dawn and dusk. It takes freshly fallen leaves, fruits and flowers dislodged from trees.
They have a gestation period of about 6 months. Ewe’s give birth to a single fawn in summer.
Apart from being a very shy antelope, they are also rare. The Suni is primarily active during the evening and night, sleeping the rest of the day in a shady, sheltered area. These shy antelope have excellent camouflage, which they use to their advantage. When danger starts to approach, the Suni freezes, remaining hidden until the threat is nearly on top of them, at which point it leaps up and dodges around bushes and shrubs, quickly vanishing into the undergrowth. Males defend territories of about 3 hectares, scent-marking the boundaries with preorbital gland secretions. On the peripheries of each defended area may be individual or communal dung piles. Each male generally associates with a single female, even if several others share his territory. Weak barking and sharp whistling have been reported.
This tiny animal has retiring habits and is not often seen. It Inhabits forests with a dense understory, as well as shrub and low ground cover.
Hunting Suni is best along game trails, which they tend to frequent. This habit makes them fairly easy to trap and more are taken in this way than fall victim to predation. When hunting Suni, one can take advantage of his very wary nature, which causes him to freeze for quite a long period of time before he finally takes flight. If hunting Suni is the mission, your best choice of weapon will be the shotgun. Like many of the mini antelope, you will get only short, fleeting glimpses of this little guy as he spooks and heads for the thick underbrush. As for an aim point, you will probably only have time to take the shot at whatever part of his body he presents.