Gazelles are amongst the most graceful creatures on Earth. Capable of running faster than a car and leaping nearly a dozen feet in the air, there are few animals that could ever hope to catch one, which probably explains why gazelles sometimes rub their gazelle dicks all up in the faces of predators when they don’t feel threatened.
First, a disclaimer, what we’re about to discuss is one of many theories surrounding a peculiar behaviour observed in the more spindly legged mammals that roam the forests, jungles and animated savannas of the world. A behaviour called stotting.
Basically, stotting is the act of leaping several feet into the air with your legs splayed out at awkward angles. While many quadrupeds are known to do this, the behaviour is most commonly seen being exhibited by gazelles. AKA, the gazelles of the quadruped world.
This is unusual because, as far as experts in gazelle locomotion (a highly specialised field) can tell, doing this offers no advantage to the animal whatsoever. In fact, by leaping into the air and holding their legs so stiffly and such an awkward angle, the gazelle is actually making itself easier for a predator to catch. Such behaviour is virtually unheard of in a prey animal since, fuck, why would anything make itself easier to catch when there could be a leopard or some shit hiding nearby.
Which has led some experts to come up with a frankly amazing theory. That the gazelle knows that doing this is inefficient and does it anyway just to let any potential predators know that it doesn’t give a fuck. Specifically they suspect that stotting is used by gazelles to show off their physical prowess to any lurking predators to signal that chasing them would be pointless. Which if you think about it, is actually kind of genius. By leaping 10 feet in the air posing like a boss, the gazelle is showing any nearby predators that they’re gonna have to pull some serious shit if they want to catch it so they probably shouldn’t bother.
The theory continues that most predators upon seeing such a display, would be deterred from chasing the animal responsible because chasing it would invariably end in failure. Because come on, how the hell do you catch a creature that moves by channelling The Power Rangers?
While this is just one of many theories about why stotting happens (as of yet there’s no definitive explanation for the behaviour) experts feel that it is one of the stronger ones since gazelles have been observed doing this while being chased. In such cases, not only as the gazelle survived, but the predator chasing it has additionally been observed giving the fuck up after seeing the gazelle style on it. In other words, sometimes gazelles leap so high and so fabulously into their air that predators are completely demoralised into stopping trying to kill them.
Man, nature is awesome!