Literally translated wildebeest means “wild beast”, but they are fairly docile creatures if there is enough food in the region. In the Serengeti these animals migrate annually. During this time up to 250 000 may die, but during mating season up to 500 000 may be born.
Newborn wildebeests can stand up within the first few seconds, and are running within minutes. If they do not stand up promptly the mother may leave them, as the crying attracts predators, and wildebeest are a favourite among lions, hyenas, painted dogs and cheetahs.
There are two types of wildebeest: namely, the blue and the black wildebeest. The black wildebeest has a white and bushy tail and is sometimes known as the white-tailed gnu, whereas the blue wildebeest is typically larger.
You may be surprised to learn that the blue wildebeest is one of the fastest animals in the world. It does not compare to the cheetah, of course, but they can reach speeds of up to 80km/h, which is also pretty impressive.
The wildebeest is a herbivore and enjoys eating long grass. Zebras can often be found close on their heels, because they prefer short grass. The grazing of the long grass by the wildebeest clears the way for the zebras to enjoy the shorter grass.