"Each species is a masterpiece, a creation assembled with extreme care and genius." - Edward O. Wilson
The kudu is a majestic antelope, the males boasting long, spiraling horns which were highly revered in Africa as musical instruments and ritual objects. Interestingly, the horns are not often used for defensive purposes against predators. Their main predators are lions and leopards. Humans are also a threat as the kudus' horns are a top trophy for hunters; and the meat and hides are popular too.
The kudus have beautiful, pale coats with white stripes on them that look almost as if they have been glazed with icing sugar. Their colour has given rise to the nickname "grey ghost". They are further distinguished by a mark of white hair between their eyes, as well as a ridge of long hair along the spine. All these interesting markings assist in camouflaging the kudu. If they sense danger they will typically stand still, becoming difficult to spot.
Herbivorous, the kudus are browsers and their diet includes leaves, herbs, fruit, flowers and succulents; preferring to feed in the early mornings and late afternoons. The bulls may form herds known as bachelor herds, but they are also prone to remain solitary. They are graceful animals and despite their size they can jump high and run fast.
Kudu can be found at Inverdoorn, nibbling on the succulents of the Karoo.
The greater kudu (Tragelaphus strepsiceros) is a woodland antelope found throughout eastern and southern Africa. Despite occupying such widespread territory, they are sparsely populated in most areas, due to a declining habitat, deforestation and hunting.
Greater kudus have a narrow body with long legs, and their coats can range from brown/bluish-grey to reddish-brown. They possess between 4–12 vertical white stripes along their torso. The head tends to be darker in colour than the rest of the body, and exhibits a small white chevron which runs between the eyes.
Male greater kudus tend to be much larger than the females, and vocalize much more, utilizing low grunts, clucks, humming, and gasping. The males also have large manes running along their throats, and large horns with two and a half twists, which, were they to be straightened, would reach an average length of 120 cm (47 in), with the record being 187.64 cm (73.87 in). They diverge slightly as they slant back from the head. The horns do not begin to grow until the male is between the age of 6–12 months, twisting once at around 2 years of age, and not reaching the full two and a half twists until they are 6 years old; occasionally they may even have 3 full turns.
This is one of the largest species of antelope. Males weigh 190–270 kg (420–600 lb), with a maximum of 315 kg (690 lb), and stand up to 160 cm (63 in) tall at the shoulder. The ears of the greater kudu are large and round. Females weigh 120–210 kg (260–460 lb) and stand as little as 100 cm (39 in) tall at the shoulder; they are hornless, without a beard or nose markings. The head-and-body length is 185–245 cm (6.07–8.04 ft), to which the tail may add a further 30–55 cm (12–22 in).
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