- Mufasa: "Everything you see exists together in a delicate balance. As king, you need to understand that balance and respect all the creatures, from the crawling ant to the leaping antelope."
Simba: "But, Dad, don't we eat the antelope?"
Mufasa: "Yes, Simba, but let me explain. When we die, our bodies become the grass, and the antelope eat the grass...and so, we are all connected in the great circle of life."
- —Mufasa and Simba about the circle of life
The anatomy of an antelope greatly resembles that of a deer; their bodies are small and slender, their necks slight, and their legs long and muscular. However, there are several differences that set individual species of antelope apart from one another. For example, a male Common Eland can measure 178 centimeters at the shoulder and weigh almost 950 kilograms, whereas an adult Royal Antelope may stand only 24 centimeters at the shoulder and weigh a mere 1.5 kilograms. Similarly, antelope have a wide variety of outer coverings, although most species have a thick pelt of short fur. Their teeth are exceptionally strong, used primarily for grinding cud into a more digestible substance, while their head features sometimes consist of antlers or horns, commonly used for self-defense.
In the Real World
The term 'antelope' can refer to a number of different species. There are ninety-one different kinds of antelope, most of which are native to Africa. A group of antelope is called a "herd." All antelope have horns, though in some species, they are only found on the males. They are permanently attached, not like a deer’s, which are shed each year. Antelope are sometimes imported to other countries for exotic game hunting, though escapes are not unheard of. Parts of Texas are able to sustain antelope, so groups of the creatures now reside there, even though they are not native to that area.
Most antelope species live on the African savanna, though some are known to reside in forests, deserts, and even extreme cold-living places. Their lifespan is quite unknown, as most antelope are killed as prey before they can reach old age. The best estimate thus far is around twenty-five years. Though they are often killed in the wild, antelope do have a few weapons of defense to keep themselves further out of harm's way. For one, they are very agile and have good endurance, which is very effective when running from animals that tire easily, such as cheetahs. Furthermore, their fur is colored to blend into the landscape and their hearing is very good.
Antelope are sometimes prized among humans for their horns. In many places, an antelope horn represents a form of medicinal or magical power. Other antelope are used for domestication purposes. It is often difficult to cage an antelope, as males tend to be very aggressive and all antelope are good jumpers, so fences don't always keep them in. There have been many attempts to domesticate an antelope, but thus far, all have failed.
- "Any antelope?"
- —Simba about prey availability
Antelope make their first appearance at Simba's presentation during the "Circle of Life" sequence. They make their second appearance when Simba is a cub, during which they sing "I Just Can't Wait to be King" with numerous other African animals. They are later mentioned by Simba, who asks Timon and Pumbaa about the kind of prey that resides in the jungle. In addition, antelope are seen throughout the Pride Lands for the rest of the film, but are of little to no significance. They are last seen at Pride Rock for the presentation of Simba's newborn cub.
Antelope come to Kiara's presentation at the beginning of the film. They are seen again in "We Are One," "Not One of Us," and "Love Will Find a Way." As was the case in the first film, antelope are seen throughout the Pride Lands for the rest of the film, but are of little to no significance.
Antelope are seen at Simba's presentation as the sequence from the first film carries out.
- "There are hardly any leaves left, thanks to the giraffes."
- —An antelope complains to Ahadi
A horrible drought has plagued the Pride Lands, and all the animals are coming before Ahadi for help. The antelope complain that there are hardly any leaves left, thanks to the giraffes. They are supported in their claim by the zebras.
- Simba: "Who speaks for the antelopes here?"
Nzee: "It's like this, Simba. We love our waterhole. It's cool. It's fresh. And it's clear."
Nzee: "But we can't drink with that slob Kiboko in it!"
- —Simba tries to settle a dispute between the antelope and Kiboko
At the beginning of the story, Kopa, the prince of the Pride Lands, is going to the waterhole to watch his father break up a fight between the antelope and a hippopotamus named Kiboko. Simba asks for a representative among the antelope, and Nzee steps forward, explaining that Kiboko has taken the waterhole from her and her herd. Kiboko retorts by spraying them with water, and Nzee angrily tells Simba that Kiboko is big, dirty, and smelly. When asked why he no longer lives in his swamp, Kiboko gargles loudly, and Nzee nearly attacks him in her mad anger. At the same moment, Kopa comes up to his father and asks him about their "family tree." The antelope pressure Simba, who finally has to send his son away. The result of the feud is unknown.
- Pembe: "What's the matter? Why aren't you drinking?"
Nzee: "Oh, it's that nosy Zazu! It's terrible the way he reports everything we do to Mufasa. I told little Nzuri that the grass was better on the east side of the waterhole, and Zazu went and told Mufasa that I didn't like the grass on the west side. Then Mufasa came by and asked me what was wrong with the grass!"
- —Nzee complains about Zazu
Nzee, an antelope, and her daughter, Nzuri, show up at the waterhole one day to talk with Muwa, Pembe, and their children about the nosiness of the king's majordomo, Zazu. The adults go to discuss the matter further, but the young animals think it a fun idea to spread false rumors around the Pride Lands to get Zazu in trouble. Later, during an army ant attack, Nzee helps to push rocks off Zulu Falls so the river floods and drowns the ants. Antelope are seen around the Pride Lands throughout the book, but are of little to no significance.
During a fire, antelope are seen fleeing from the flames alongside other Pridelanders.
In an attempt to keep hydrated during a drought, a pair of antelope gather on the shore of a feeble water source.
Simba sees several animals fleeing from Giganta, among them a herd of gazelles.
- Machufa is the leader of his herd, presumably.
- Nzee is a member of Machufa's herd.
- Nzuri is the daughter of Nzee.
- The plural form of "antelope" can be either "antelope" or "antelopes."