This Amazing Animal Lives His Whole Life Without Ever Drinking Water

It's basically a superpower 💪

Meet Nuk — an orphaned gerenuk who has never taken a sip of water.

Nuk was found as a baby and raised by the staff at the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Kenya.

"We rescued Nuk ... in 2013 when he surprised livestock herders by walking home with their goats," the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust wrote on Facebook. "He had obviously lost his mother and decided the passing goats looked like a good next thing!"

A baby Gerenuk with his caretaker
Facebook/Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

For most animals, staying hydrated in a hot climate is important — but gerenuks don’t play by the rules. These animals are hard to miss, with long, slender necks, tiny heads and large eyes and ears that give them an alien appearance. 

The Gerenuk’s unique look helps them reach plants that antelopes and gazelles can’t. By standing on their hind legs and extending their giraffe-like necks, they have their pick of the tall bushes and high branches. And they're even taller than most humans.

A gerenuk standing on his hind legs
Facebook/Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

Thanks to their diet and special noses, gerenuks never have to go searching for water
 
“They can get enough moisture from the plant life they eat and can survive in dry thornbush country and even in the desert,” the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust wrote on its 
website. “Gerenuks conserve water with uniquely adapted nasal passages, which prevent evaporative loss.”

Animal doesn't need to drink water
Facebook/Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

After spending a year with his caretakers, Nuk chose to rejoin the wild. But that doesn’t mean he forgot the kindness people had shown him.

“For a while, he chose to return and visit those who raised him at Kaluku from time to time,” Amie Alden, communications and media manager for the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, told The Dodo. “And we occasionally saw him on the airstrip with a herd of impalas he had taken a liking to.”

Facebook/Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

The gerenuk population is listed as near threatened by the IUCN Redlist due to poaching and habitat loss. However, Nuk is doing his best to make sure his quirky species have a long future in the wild.

“It seems he’s having a ball of a time and perhaps established his own territory," Alden said. "Though it’s bittersweet not to see him, we are proud that he’s clearly found his place in the wild — a complete success story.”

To help other orphaned animals like Nuk, you can make a donation to the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.