Greater Kudu Bull
Tragelaphus strepsiceros (Family Bovidae)
Pair of Kudu Bulls
Spotted in St. Lucia, South Africa
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Greater Kudu - Tragelaphus strepsiceros
What must surely be the most elegant of antelope, the Greater Kudu (Tragelaphus strepsiceros) is also has the longest horns. It is also the second tallest after the Eland.
The Kudu prefers savanna with fairly dense bush cover and are not often seen on open plains. Kudu are mainly browsers and can eat a variety of leaves.
Kudu are light grey in colour with six to ten vertical white stripes along the sides and with a white chevron between the eyes.
Kudu are very agile and can easily clear obstacles over 2m high and are known for the unhealthy habit of leaping in front of oncoming vehicles. Kudu are also excellent swimmers.
Size: height at shoulder 150 cm; up to 310 kg.
Kudu live in small herds of females and their young. The normally solitary males occasionally band into small herds and only join the females during the mating season.
Working as a Safari Guide I began to notice some common questions that guests were asking me, here is my guide to some of the most asked questions that people ask about the Greater Kudu.
The Kudu's Horns
Only the males have the very impressie horns that, form large spirals, and an old bull can have up to two complete twists. The horns are seldom used in defense against predators; nor they impede them in their sometimes thickly wooded habitats as the kudu just tilts the chin up and lays the horns against the back, moving easily through dense bush with ease, this is a common behavioral sight. Because their horns are so impressive, they have long been prized by local people for use as musical instruments, containers and used in symbolic ritual objects. In some cultures the horns are thought to be the dwelling places of powerful spirits, and in others they are a symbol for male potency.
What do Kudus eat?
Kudus are primarily browsers, feeding mostly on leaves and young shoots. They have been recorded as eating from over a 100 different trees, shrubs, vines, herbs, seedpods, and fruits, as well as a little new grass.
Why do Kudu have the white stripes on their body?
In the heat of midday or when a predator is near a Kudu will stand motionless and are beautifully camouflaged in thickets, due to their colouration and stripes.
What Predators does the Kudu have?
Lions, leopards, hunting dogs and spotted hyenas hunt kudu, and cheetahs, smaller cats, eagles and pythons prey on the young.
Where is the best place to see the Kudu?
The greater Kudu mainly inhabits the hilly brush country in Eastern and Southern Africa, and is still widely distributed in the lowland Bushveld of southern Africa. The Kudu is pretty water dependant and is almost always found near water.
Excellent places to view Kudu:
Hwange national park in Zimbabwe
Kruger National Park in South Africa
Addo Elephant National Park, South Africa
Cape Vidal, St Lucia in South Africa
Sabi Sands in South Africa
Hluhluwe Game Reserve, South Africa
Karoo National Park, South Africa
Mkhuze Game Reserve, South Africa
Selous Game Reserve, Tanzania
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