Greater Kudu

QUICK FACTS

Scientific Name

Tragelaphus strepsiceros

Species Survival Plan

Yes

Habitat

Forest edge, savanna and woodlands

Predators

Juveniles - lion, spotted hyena, cheetah, wild dog and leopard
Adults - lion, hyena, cheetah and man

Food

Leaves, herbs, fallen fruits, succulents, vines, flowers and new grasses

Originally Native To

Africa

Height

48 inches at shoulders

Weight

Male - 550 lb.
Female - 375 lb.

Characteristics

Antelope with vertical white stripes on sides and white chevron between eyes; males have long spiraled horns averaging 48 inches

Gestation Period

9 months

Offspring

1 calf

Birth Season

February - March

Lifespan

Wild ?
Captivity 20 years

Social Behavior

Small herds of females and young; bulls normally solitary

iucn_badge_least_concern

About Greater Kudu

Very large antelopes, the male kudu have thick, spiraled horns that can reach six feet in length. Sexually dimorphic, only the males have horns and an abundant fringe of hairs from the chin down the neck.

Both sexes have 6-10 vertical white stripes on their sides, a white chevron between the eyes and three white spots on the cheek below the eye. They also have exceptionally large pink ears, which give them excellent hearing.

Related to buffalo, kudu engage in social licking, which is rare in antelopes. The tongue is also used for gathering and grasping food.

The mating season is May to August and males compete for access to female herds. The kudu bull continues to grow his muscular neck and shoulders, as well as his horns, throughout his life. Dominance is asserted over other bulls by threat displays and actual fighting, but combatants are very rarely injured.

Kudu calves are born in tall grass or any other sufficiently dense cover and remain concealed for about three weeks. Daily, the mothers summon their calves with a smacking sound, nurse them and hide them again until they are strong enough to join the female herd.

Unlike most other antelope species, kudu have been seen nursing calves other than their own. Calves remain with their mother’s herd for up to two years. A typical female herd has less than 12 members.

A greater kudu standing in a thicket will rely on flight to the point of letting a person come within 40 feet before giving a loud, sharp alarm bark and fleeing. Alternatively, they may try to sneak away from a disturbance. They are very skillful at concealment.

The vertical stripes on their sides provide camouflage in their natural habitat along the edges of forests. To run through thick brush, the males lay their horns on their back. The greater kudu has the ability to leap and clear bushes and fences eight feet high when trying to escape danger.

In the wild, the greater kudu only emerges from the forest at night to feed. They are normally active in early morning and evening, but become nocturnal in developed areas.

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As a private nonprofit corporation, Fossil Rim does not receive national or state government support. Every cent spent or donated here goes in some way, directly or indirectly, toward the care of our animals.