|The greater Kudzu is one of the more uncommon species
of antelope. It is wary by nature, and its acute hearing help sit ot detect
predators when it is browsing for food. The greater Kudu is one of the largest
Africa antelopes, with majestic curving horns that spiral around two and
a half times in older males. Its coat color caries from tawny to dark gray
and is marked with fine white lines.
Behavior: Large herds are rare among greater kudu, partly because their selective feeding habits make it difficult for many animals to forage together in one place. The females usually group in bands of 6 to 20 animals, accompanied by their numbers reach higher than 40. The mature males either are solitary outside the breeding season or travel in small bands containing animals different ages. Mature males use their impressive horns to ritual fights: the two opponents lock horns and wrestle with one another until the weaker animal is defeated.
Sometimes the horns become interlocked so tightly that neither animal can pull free. Usually, the antelopes both die. Females also engage in fights, often to ward off interested males, by biting and butting their opponents flanks with their hornless heads. The main predators of the greater Kudu are lions, leopards, and packs of hunting dogs. Cheetahs are incapable of tackling a full grown male, but females and young are vulnerable. If threatened, the adults make a loud call, alerting the herd before bolting for cover in the bush.
Breeding: In much of its range the greater kudui a seasonal breeder, timing the birth of young to coincide with the rainy season. The male begins the courtship ritual by stepping sideways in front of the female and standing with his head held high. A ritual neck wrestle may accur, followed by the male walking behind the female while uttering a low, whining call, then he approaches her, head held low and brushes her forequarters with his neck. Eventually, the female allows him to mate with her. the female gives birth to a single calf about seven months later. Initially the calf waits to suckle. Later when it wants to be fed, it may demand milk aggressively by butting and jumping at its mother if she does not respond.
Food & Feeding: The greater kudu lives in rugged, often mountainous country with dense thickets and woodland that provide both cover and a varied diet. It feels mostly on foliage and eats some fruit, tubers and grass. In some regions, the kudu ranges on bush covered plains, avoiding open areas. The greater kudu is inactive during the hot daylight hours, preferring to rest, often in the shade to a ravine. It feeds in the early morning and late afternoon when it is cooler. It drinks from water holes or digs fro juicy roots and bulbs to obtain their juices. During drought it wanders in search of food and water.
Relater Species: The genus Tragelaphus contains 5 other species, including the lesser kudu, T. imberbis, the mountain nyala, T. angasi, and the bushbuck, T. scriptus
Distribution: Found throughout most of southern and easter Africa as far as Ethiopia.
Conservation: Widespread but uncommon over much of its range, the greater kudu population has been depleted because of hunting and habitat destruction.
Features of the Greater Kudu:
Coat: Short, smooth, with colors varying from dull brown gray to red brown and blue gray. There are 4 to 12 white strips encircling the length of its body.
Head: Usually darker that the rest
of the body. white mark between eyes, Bushy fringe of hair runs from the
chin to the neck. Large eras.
Did you Know?
The kudu can leap over bushes and can clear
eight foot fences.
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