Kudu or Greater Kudu [Tragelaphus strepsiceros]
Kudus are a species that show a strong Sexual Dimorphism in the fact that the males boast massive, spiraling horns that can reach lengths of up to 1.8m. The horns reach their full length after six years. The Horns the males boast is much longer than those of the females. The bulls reach a massive weight of 300 kg and stand at the shoulder 1.4m. The females weigh only 260kg and stand only 1.25m high at the shoulder. Their coat is a light brown, almost tawny in colour, with white stripes on their flanks that all differ in shape and size. They have a v-shaped band on their foreheads with white spots on their cheeks. They have long manes that extend from their necks and stretch all the way to their tails.
Kudus are browsers, which means they feed on leaves from a variety of shrubs, trees and bushes, they favour fruits, pods, creepers and forbs. They have also been known to eat succulents like spekboom and even aloe.
The rutting season for Kudus is through April and ends in May. A single calf is born during January and March after a gestation period of about 9 months. There are occasions where young are born out of season and it isn’t actually very rare. Calves will lie in hiding within the first 6 weeks and are visited by their parents to be nursed.
Herds of that exceed 20 members will usually split into much smaller groups. Cows and their young will form a social group containing between 4 and 10 members. Cows will remain with their mothers while the bulls will leave the group when they reach sexual maturity. The bachelors will join female herds during mating season and will travel around when outside of mating season. There is no fighting over territory between males, instead they have a size based hierarchy were the biggest bull is in charge. Age also plays a big roll in dominance between Kudus.
Kudu prefer living in open Knobthorn woods in the Kruger and on game farms in Mpumalanga. They can also be seen living in Mopane and Miombo woods up in the Northern and North Western areas of South Africa. These giants are a rather common sight during a Kruger National Park Safari.
Kudu is a very popular antelope and is widely found in South Africa and are very common in game reserves, Private game farms and also seen wild on many farms throughout South Africa.