African Animals

KUDU – Tragelaphus strepsiceros

SIZE: Shoulder height (m) 1,45 m, (f) 1,25 m; mass (m) 250 kg, (f) 200 kg.
COLOUR: Greyish fawn, with narrow, vertical white stripes on sides and rump, a short ridge of white hair along the centre of the back, and a white chevron between the eyes. Males have a brown and white fringe from throat to base of neck.
MOST LIKE: Nyala, but kudu male's horns more spiralled and there is no heavy fringe of hair hanging below the belly.
HABITAT: Savanna woodland or scrub, especially close to water and rocky terrain.

Kudu are considered by many to be the most attractive of the southern African antelope: they are usually fawn-grey, with a series of unevenly spaced white transverse stripes across their backs.

The call of the kudu, the loudest of any antelope, is a penetrating hoarse bark. When alarmed, kudu run away, lifting their tails over their rumps and fanning out the white undersurface as a warning signal to others. Despite their incredible horns, which are known to reach a length of 1,8 m, the kudu is a gentle animal, preferring flight to fight.

However, enraged kudu bulls do engage in fierce combat, sometimes accidentally killing each other by locking their horns together. They are gregarious, although the herds they form are very small: usually only about four animals, although they may number up to twelve. Small bachelor herds are also found, as well as solitary males. A single calf is born, usually in summer, and is hidden by its mother in tall grass for two to three months, until it is strong enough to follow the herd. Female kudu usually live up to 14 or 15 years; males live up to 6 or 7 years.


They are easily recognisable due to the two magnificent spiral horns in the male. The kudu's ears are a distinct feature in both sexes, as they are particularly large and broad for the size of the head, and fringed with white hair. Adult males have a short beard of dark hair, and a fringe of long hair down the mid-throat. Their name is derived from the Khoikhoi name kudu.

Kudu are graceful leapers capable of clearing a 2,5 m fence from a standstill. They are a savanna woodland species, and do not occur in open grassland, forest or desert. Kudu are predominantly browsers, and eat a greater variety of browse than any of the other antelope in the southern African region. They do also eat fresh grass.


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