Meet the Greater Kudu (Tragelaphus strepsiceros)

The Greater Kudu is a large African antelope.  In the east of Africa they can be found in small groups in Ethiopia, Tanzania, Eritrea and Kenya – making for a great safari spot if you are lucky enough to see them.  In the South they are more densely populated. Here they can be found in Zambia, Angola, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Botswana.

You can find them living within Savannah, woodland, thick bushveld or rocky hillsides. These areas are generally close to flowing water.

The Greater kudu is famous for its ability to jump. A 3 m (9.84 ft) high fence can be jumped spontaneously and some have been known to clear jumps of up to 3.5 m (11.48 ft) if required.

They have long legs and a narrow body. Across their torso run 4-12 white stripes and a white band (known as a chevron) runs between their eyes. The greater kudu’s head is usually slightly darker than its body, with colours ranging from a blue-grey to brown or red. Males can measure 195-245cm (6.4-8ft) and weigh up to 315kg (694lbs).

They are herbivores and during the dry season they need to drink water but in the rainy season most of their water comes from their food. The kudu lives on a diet of leaves, fruits, vines, flowers, grasses and herbs.

The male kudu’s romantic skills are not the best as he will stand in front of a female and engage in a neck wrestle.  He will then follow the female around issuing a low pitched call. This mating ritual will continue until she allows him to mate with her.  8-9 months later the calf will be born.  Calves are hidden away from predators for the first 2 weeks, after this they roam with the herd for the day until 6 weeks of age. Male calves remain with their mums and the herd untl they’re around 18 months old. Females will remain for longer reaching maturity at between 1- 3 years of age.

Fun facts about the Greater Kudu

  1. Greater kudus have a number of enemies. They are preyed upon by lions, hyenas, wild dogs and leopards and the younger members of the herd are vulnerable to cheetahs. Humans also hunt the kudu for their large horns.
  2. You can tell roughly how old a male kudu is by its horns! They start to twist at 2 years of age, and reach two and a half twists when they get to about 6 years old.
  3. By setting up wells and irrigation humans have enabled kudus to thrive in places which used to be too devoid of water.
  4. They might look big and clumsy but they are quick and excellent jumpers.
  5. Only the males have horns, which can grow up to 100cm (over 3ft)