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Name

Bushbuck [Tragelaphus sylvaticus]

Appearance           

Close relative to the Kudu and Nyala, the Bushbuck is a very beautiful and elegant animal, with rams sporting beautiful and large twisting horns. The base colour for the Bushbuck’s coat is dark brown with greyish highlights, white socks on the legs and white spots on the flanks. Bushbucks stand at a height of 0,7m and weighs at average 54kg’s.

The Bushbuck ewes are smaller and lighter in colour than the rams. The stripes and spots on the ewes are more prominent. Both rams and ewes have plenty of markings on the more mobile parts of their bodies, including their flanks, tail necks, chin and ears. The markings on the backs of the rams are used for display and dances, which prevents the rams from fighting.

Diet

Bushbuck, like all the other buck, are browsers and will very rarely consume grass. Though being very selective browsers, they will change their feeding preferences in order to survive.

Breeding

Bushbuck has a gestation period of about 6 months but have been known to give birth twice a year. The peak of birth is usually during the rainy time in dry areas. After the calf is born, the mother will clean it and then continue to consume the placenta.

The calf stays in its den and only follows the mother after four months old. When the calf suckles on the mother, the mother will sometimes consume the baby’s dung to conceal their scent and position. Ewes reach sexual maturity after about 12 months and do not mate until they are three years old.

Behaviour

Usually active in the early mornings and before it gets very dark. In some cases, the Bushbuck becomes completely nocturnal if it gets threatened enough during the day. When threatened they will either fall down to the ground and lie flat, or they will run away, making a variety of hoarse barks. Though the Bushbuck is primarily Nocturnal, it is also busy during the day. They spend most of their day grazing and standing and then slowly move to their dens before night falls. The Bushbuck is the only buck in Africa that is anti-territorial and solitary animals. Though their Home ranges do cross those of others, they prefer to live solitarily

Where can they be seen?

The Bushbuck is a shy and solitary animal that can be found widely spread along the Sub-Sahara. It has a few habitats in Eastern Africa but are very rarely found in open land. The Bushbucks in different areas have different preferences and coat colours. During Kruger Park Safaris, you can get tired of only seeing impala, so a sighting of a bushbuck is very welcome.

Predators

The Bushbuck has many predators including Leopards, Hyenas, Lions and Cheetahs. There are also cases where baboons eat the young but the Bushbuck prefer staying close to  them to eat the fruit the baboons drop when feeding

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