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The animals on the cover of Database Programming with JDBC and Java, Second Edition, are springboks (Antidorcas marsupialis). These gazelles are the national animal of South Africa, and in addition to their habitats in the western parts of that country, they can also be found in the arid plains of Angola, Namibia, and Botswana.
Springboks are about 55–63 inches long and stand 24–30 inches tall at the shoulder; they average 80–90 pounds in weight. Both males and females have horns, but the males’ are longer and thicker. They usually group in small herds, though they have been known to migrate in groups numbering in the thousands. A female springbok generally has one lamb per pregnancy, after a gestation period of about 24 weeks.
The name “springbok” comes from the animal’s distinctive habit of springing repeatedly up to 7 feet straight into the air when nervous. This activity is called pronking, and it is accomplished with straight legs and an arched back. Springboks pronk in hopes of distracting predators, like the cheetahs, lions, hyenas, and wild dogs who’d like nothing more than a springbok lunch. But it’s not just predators who startle these jumpy gazelles: springboks have been known to pronk at the flash of lightning or crash ...