wildebeest - unchanged., M and f. French gnou from hottentot. Large cloven-hoofed animal of this. bovids (inhabits South and South-East Africa). White-tailed g. Striped g. Bearded female g. * * * Wildebeest genus of artiodactyl animals of the bovine family. Length ... ... Encyclopedic Dictionary
Wildebeest - (hottent. Gnu or nju). African mammal animal, a genus of antelope. Dictionary of foreign words included in the Russian language. Chudinov AN, 1910. GNU gogent. gnu, or nju. Genus of antelope in Africa. Explanation of 25,000 foreign words included ... Dictionary of foreign words of the Russian language
wildebeest - Neskl., M. gnou m., German. Gnu & LT, Hottentot. A cloven-hoofed genus from the group of antelopes that live on the open plains of East and South Africa. SIS 1985. Lex. Enz. Lex 1838: wildebeest, ALS 2: wildebeest ... Historical Dictionary of Russian Gallicisms
Wildebeest - hydraulic press device GNU state scientific institution education and science GNU state tax administration ... Dictionary of abbreviations and abbreviations
Wildebeest - the genus of artiodactyl animals in the bovine family. Body length 2.4 m. Horns in males and females. 2 species, on the plains of Vost. and South. Africa. White-tailed wildebeest preserved only in national parks ... Big Encyclopedic Dictionary
Wildebeest - GNU, uncoll., Cf. (afr.) (zool.). South African wild animal of the genus Antelope. Explanatory dictionary Ushakov. D.N. Ushakov. 1935 1940 ... Explanatory Dictionary of Ushakov
Wildebeest - unc m and f Large animal of the bovine family, living in South and South-East Africa. Explanatory Dictionary of Ephraim. T.F. Efremova. 2000 ... The Modern Explanatory Dictionary of the Russian Language Efremova
Wildebeest - · about., Not. African animal, with a horse camp, mane and tail, with a bull’s head, buffalo (sprawling) horns and deer legs, from the saiga genus, Antilope Gnu. Explanatory Dictionary of Dahl. IN AND. Dahl. 1863 1866 ... Dahl's Explanatory Dictionary
wildebeest - (Source: “The Complete Accentuated Paradigm for A. A. Zaliznyak”) ... Forms of Words
Wildebeest - (Connochaetes), genus of bovids. For body 170 240 cm, h. at the withers 90,145 cm. Horns in males and females (length up to 85 cm). On the front of the body, the hair is elongated. 2 species, in South. and South East. Africa, in grassy and shrubby steppes. Hold on ... ... Biological Encyclopedic Dictionary
Wildebeest (lat. Connochaetes taurinus) belongs to the family of bovids (Bovidae). It is also called blue or striped wildebeest to distinguish from a white-tailed (ordinary) wildebeest (Connochaetes gnou), which is preserved only in South Africa and is under strict protection.
Since the blue wildebeest does not represent any commercial value, and he is of little interest to poachers and hunters, his huge herds are free in the savannas of East and South Africa. The appearance of this antelope is so peculiar that it is almost impossible to confuse it with another animal. She has a disproportionately large heavy head, a short, dense body on thin legs, a sloping back, a fluffy tail, and a shaggy mane.
Twice a year, innumerable herds of wildebeest migrate through the endless savannahs of the Serengeti park in search of food to where the rains have gone and there is juicy green food, covering distances of up to 1,500 km. They are very fond of clean water, and therefore they are never more than 15 km away from the watering hole.
Wildebeest life is closely related to the alternation of rainy and dry seasons.
When the rains come, they scatter along the green savannah and graze almost around the clock. They are especially active in the evening and in the morning. They feed on low grass, and their favorite delicacy is the young stalks of wild oats. During the feed-free period, leaves of shrubs and wild melons are eaten.
Wildebeest bite the grass with their teeth and swallow it without chewing. In May, when the rainy season ends, the antelopes head northwest, where there is still water and fresh greens. Many animals die during these long transitions. Ungulates from year to year migrate along the same route, so cunning crocodiles are waiting for them at crossings across rivers. Some of them are so exhausted that they can not get to the other side and drown in the river to the delight of gluttonous reptiles. At the end of November, wildebeests set off on their return journey east. They have many natural enemies, distinguished by their narrow specialization. Lions prey on adult animals. One lion kills 30-40 antelopes during the year. Hyenas attack newborn calves, cheetahs kill 2-month-old cubs, and hyena-like dogs bite 5-month-old young animals.
Wildebeest maintain a constant body temperature, breathing with an open mouth, since they do not have sweat glands. In search of a watering hole, they can walk up to 50 km in one day.
The mating season begins in April. At this time, bulls occupy certain territories and demonstrate their best qualities: they plow the earth with horns and trample hooves, ride on their backs, shake their heads with a loud grunt and mark shrubs and trees with secretions of infraorbital glands. The appearance of an opponent at the borders of the site is perceived unambiguously as a challenge and ends in a duel.
Opponents kneel down and push each other with horns, not bringing the matter to bloodshed. The weaker gets up from his knees and peacefully walks away. Unable to capture certain sections, the bulls are nailed to groups of young bachelors.
Happy and proud winners form harems from 2 to 150 cows.
Upon arrival to fresh pastures a mass calving begins. Usually one is born, very rarely two cubs. Most calves are born in early January. They are born in the early morning, and by the evening they can independently move along with the whole herd.
Pregnant cows are kept in tight groups together in an open area in order to notice the danger in time. Calves are in the center. Babies eat milk for up to 4 months, but already from the second week of life they begin to eat green grass.
The body length of adults is 1.5-2.4 m, height at the withers 1.3-1.4 m. Males are larger than females. They weigh 160-270 m, and females 126-140 kg. The body is covered with short smooth hair with a bluish-gray tint. Dark transverse stripes pass on the neck, shoulder blades and sides. In proportion to the rest of the body, the head is very massive. The legs are long and relatively thin, allowing you to reach speeds of up to 50 km / h. Long fingers end with horn hooves. When walking, the animal rests on the tips of 3 and 4 fingers. Thin horns are curved to the sides and up. The densely pubescent tail resembles a horse's tail. The life expectancy of wildebeest in vivo is about 18 years. In South Africa, it is used for food, mainly for cooking biltong - dried meat with hot pepper. Connoisseurs prefer the meat of females killed during the fall season. It is considered especially tender and tasty. The price of 1 kg of wildebeest meat in South Africa is only about $ 0.3-0.4.
Origin of view and description
Antelopes belong to the order of artiodactyls, the family of bovids. The antelope in translation from the Greek means horned animal, they are different, even very different from each other. These animals are united by the presence of horns and slender legs and a general elegance of movements, otherwise they can have strong differences.
Wildebeest belongs to large antelopes, moreover, it is as if made from different animals into one. The torso, mane and tail, and even the shape of the head, are very reminiscent of horses, but horns and disproportionate thin legs ending in cloven hooves are much closer to the representatives of the bulls. For them, they came up with a separate subfamily with a talking name - cow antelopes. The characteristic features of the antelope can be clearly seen in their gait and graceful run, here they are not like bulls at all. But while grazing - their phlegmatism resembles cows.
An amazing natural phenomenon, which attracts a lot of zoologists, biologists, other scientists and just interested people, is the seasonal migration of a two-million herd from Tanzania to Kenya. At this time, surveys, studies, observations of an incredible journey up to 2000 km long of the entire population are carried out. The spectacle is spectacular, there is nothing similar and comparable in wildlife anymore.
Several species of wildebeest are known, sometimes, according to different sources, the names differ:
- gray or white-tailed wildebeest,
- striped or blue wildebeest.
These species differ in color and prevalence, but coexist quietly together, although they do not interbreed. The closest relatives are the swamp antelopes and Congong antelopes.
Appearance and features
Photo: Animal Wildebeest
A massive animal up to one and a half meters tall at the withers, up to two meters long, weighing 150 - 250 kg. The trunk is large, fleshy, the neck is short, thick, elongated more often in the horizontal, crowned by a weighty annual, resembling a cow or horse. On the head of both males and females there are horns bent to the sides and up, in the first they are simply thicker and more massive.
On the lower part of the head is a small hairline resembling a goatee. The short neck is decorated with a long mane, almost like a horse, but thinner. And also the tail may resemble a horse, with a length of 85 - 100 cm, but still has a protruding beginning and not so thick.
Wildebeest legs give it elegance if it weren’t for the animal would be completely different from all antelopes. They are thin, long, sharp, with their help animals jump high, quickly repel, they have a beautiful graceful gallop that gives out the whole essence of the antelope. Each leg ends in a thin, rather miniature cloven hoof.
The color of two different species is different. Blue wildebeest have a uniform color and transverse, not very pronounced black stripes on the sides on the front of the body. Against the main dark background, with a silver-bluish tint, they do not look in contrast. In white-tailed wildebeests, the body color is gray or dark brown with a contrasting white tail, white gray strands on the mane and beard.
Where does the wildebeest live?
Photo: Wildebeest in Africa
Wildebeest antelopes live throughout the African continent, with most of them located in its middle part, namely in Kenya. It is only about blue wildebeest, since white-tailed are a rare species, individuals are found only in national parks, where they are monitored and protected. All wildebeests need water and green vegetation, they graze on grassy fields, plains, near light forests and necessarily rivers.
The latitudinal climate of Africa does not allow the antelopes to remain in place all the time, they migrate twice a year after the rains, away from dry plots of land, from south to north and back. During a long migration, all herds huddle together and move in the direction one after another, such columns stretch for tens of kilometers.
The main obstacles on the way are rivers. The wildebeest is afraid to be the first to approach the water, they know that there predators await them.
Therefore, they accumulate near the shore until the daredevils are located or until the pressure of the rear antelopes standing on the front line begins to fall into the water. Here, individuals die in significant numbers, not from crocodiles and do not even drown as much as they mutilate each other, pushing them from the cliffs and trampling their relatives. And so twice a year.
Some antelopes live in other parts of Africa and do not take part in such a serious journey. They also monitor the presence of greenery and the fullness of the rivers, in which case they can migrate to more favorable areas with their small herds.
What does a wildebeest eat?
Photo: Wildebeest in nature
Here the animals are quite finicky, prefer certain varieties of undersized grass. It must be juicy, wildebeest does not consume. The herd depends on the availability of favorite food and is forced to follow its sufficient volumes. Wildebeest grazes for about two-thirds of the day, eating 4 to 5 kg of greenery. In conditions of lack of food, wildebeest can descend to shrubs, small green twigs, leaves and succulents. But this is a necessary measure, yet it is easier for them to go on a long journey for their favorite food.
It is interesting to note that there is a mutually beneficial friendship of animals, wildebeests and zebras. The former have a good scent, but have poor eyesight, and the latter vice versa. Therefore, nature has decreed that animals stick together, graze and escape from enemies.
Moreover, their preferences for writing are different, zebras go forward eating tall, dry vegetation that they do not eat wildebeest. For the wildebeest, their favorite low juicy grass remains, which is now easier for them to reach.
Zebras also take part in the global migration of antelopes, which makes this event even more interesting. Two completely different animals make a huge journey side by side, as nature taught them. It should be noted that wildebeests are very dependent on water, a trip to a watering place to the river must take place daily. Drying rivers are one of the greatest wildebeest fears that motivates them to migrate.
Features of character and lifestyle
Wildebeests are herd animals, and they can both graze and move in huge herds, and is divided into smaller, 100 - 200 individuals. Usually, delimitation of territories and fragmentation of herds occurs in the mating season. At this time, the males mark the borders of the territory with special glands and enter into fights with unsolicited guests. The rest of the time herds can act together.
Wildebeest at first glance pretty calm animals, but have excessive anxiety. Since they have enough enemies in life, they are always on their guard, ready to break and flee, adhere to the herd, and do not separate. Shyness, in fact, only helps them, because predators are very sudden and it is better to be vigilant. It happens that wildebeest begin to jump nervously from front hooves to rear, while tugging their heads, maybe they want to show that they are not defenseless at all and are ready to resist.
During grazing, wildebeests are very similar to a herd of domestic cows, they are leisurely, phlegmatic, chewing gum slowly. But it is worth even one individual to come to mind that they are in danger, they all instantly, in the amount of up to five hundred individuals, run away with a graceful gallop. Wildebeests look after their hair, they comb the strands of the tail and mane on the branches of trees and shrubs, as well as on the horns of relatives. They can smooth out short hair with their tongue. With their tail they actively drive the flies away.
A very interesting event in the life of animals is the migration in the summer of July from Tanzania to Kenya away from drought to rivers and rains. And also return to Tanzania back in October.
From the side it looks like a sudden avalanche, many herds unite and move in a continuous multi-kilometer stream. And most importantly, what happens every year, this migration helps them survive. The determination of the animals is amazing, they are not even attacked by crocodiles in the rivers, for fear of being trampled. Among the people there are already those who organize tours to look at this important period of life of countless animals. It is also proposed to observe from an airplane during the flight.
Social structure and reproduction
Photo: Wildebeest Cub
Depending on where the herd lives and whether it participates in the great migration, its social structure is different:
- Migratory herds can be broken into separate ones, while food is plentiful and during the mating season and mating. Dominant males mark the territory and fight with their horns against strangers at the borders, lowering the front of the body to their knees. During migration, regardless of age and gender, all the small herds are combined, the entire social structure disappears.
- Herds living in latitudes with more or less stable food, not uniting for migration, have different structures. Females with cubs live in separate herds, occupying small areas. When their density is higher, they are calmer, they keep cubs next to them. Males can sometimes form separate herds, but this is temporary, reaching the age of 3-4 years, they begin an independent lifestyle. Alone, they try to join the females during the mating season and create a temporary herd. They try to mate with all the females in the herd.
The mating season for all wildebeest runs from April to June, then the herds formed, the marking of territories and mating games end, the males again go home. Females bear their babies for almost nine months. As a rule, one cub is born, rarely two. After a few hours, they can walk and run, but not as quick as adults. The feeding period lasts 7-8 months, but from the first month of life, the cubs begin to eat grass. But, unfortunately, only a third of the cubs become adult individuals, they lose the rest of the herd, for predators they are the easiest and most desirable prey.
Wildebeest Natural Enemies
Photo: African Wildebeest
Herds of wildebeests are the basis of the diet for many African people. Predatory cats lions, leopards, cheetahs are able to single-handedly overwhelm an adult wildebeest. All they need is to choose a victim, pursue without switching to others, slightly separate from the main herd and cling to the throat.
The animal quickly dies from powerful claws and teeth of predators. The easiest way for them to attack the cubs: they are not so fast, they easily fight off the herd and feline can easily grab and take the victim with them. Hyenas are quite small and are not able to single-handedly kill an antelope, but they gladly eat up the remains of lions and other cats. A small flock of hyenas can themselves attack a single animal, then they will have a joint dinner.
Wildebeest water lovers, they often and on duty stand on the banks of the river and drink water. There, another enemy awaits them - a crocodile. He also alone can grab an antelope and drag it into the water so that it drowns, then calmly go to a meal. The rotten remains of antelopes are also in demand, they are eaten by carrion birds, for example, griffins. Especially a lot of them along the banks of the river, where after the migration of antelopes there are many trampled bodies. Also, people hunt for antelopes, for the sake of meat, hides or horns. In the 19th century, antelopes were the main food of the colonialists.
Population and species status
Photo: Wildebeest and elephant
Despite the fact that the species of white-tailed wildebeest is considered endangered and lives only in reserves, the total number of wildebeest has more than three million individuals. It is believed that in the 19th century they were hunted so much that the number dropped to almost several thousand individuals. But when they came to their senses in time and created a favorable environment, people managed to solve this problem and give the herds the opportunity to live and breed calmly.
The life span of wildebeest reaches 20 years, but due to the difficulties of life, a large number of predators, usually the term is shorter. In captivity, they can live longer and bring more offspring, which are partly implemented in nature reserves and national parks.
Now wildebeest she feels great, nothing threatens her, she is considered the most popular and famous animal of the African continent. Their herds look even bigger thanks to their zebra friends. Together they occupy vast areas, graze on them and rest. It is also easy to confuse them with livestock, grazing in nearby territories they represent competition for each other.
The appearance of these animals is very unusual; it is not without reason that they are isolated into a special subfamily of cow antelopes. At first glance at the wildebeest he gives the impression of a bull: large size (height at the withers can reach 140 cm, and weight on average 200-250 kg), a massive head with a heavy muzzle and short, steeply curved horns suggest that we have a large cattle. But thin, high legs and a light swift gallop indicate that we are facing an antelope.
There are many other absurdities in the appearance of the wildebeest: on the underside of the muzzle and neck it has a thick suspension of hair like mountain goats, on the crest of the neck there is a rare mane like a horse, a thin tail with a bunch of long hair at the end like a donkey, and a voice similar to the jerky and nasal moo of a cow. It seems that this antelope was collected from the details of different animals. The color of the blue wildebeest is dark gray with poorly visible transverse stripes on the body. This species has a subspecies of a white-bearded wildebeest whose hair on the neck is white. The white-tailed wildebeest is almost black with a white and bushy tail; outwardly, this species is very similar to a horned horse.
The classification of antelopes is not constant and currently includes 7 main subfamilies, which include many interesting varieties:
- Wildebeest or wildebeest (lat.Connochaetes)- African antelope, is a genus of artiodactyl animals of the Bubal subfamily, including 2 species: black and blue wildebeest.
- Black wildebeesthe white-tailed wildebeest or common wildebeest (lat.Connochaetes gnou)- One of the smallest species of African antelopes. Antelope lives in South Africa. The growth of males is about 111-121 cm, and the body length reaches 2 meters with a body weight of 160 to 270 kg, and females are slightly inferior in size to males. Antelopes of both sexes are dark brown or black, females are lighter than males, and animal tails are always white.
- Blue Wildebeest (lat.Connochaetes taurinus)slightly larger than black. The average growth of antelopes is 115-145 cm with a weight of 168 to 274 kg. Blue wildebeests got their name due to the bluish-gray coat color, and dark vertical stripes, like a zebra, are located on the sides of animals. The tail and mane of antelopes are black, cow-type horns, dark gray or black. Blue wildebeest is distinguished by a very selective diet: antelopes eat herbs of certain species, and therefore are forced to migrate to areas where it rains and the necessary food has grown.
- Nyala or plain nyala (lat.Tragelaphus angasii) –African horn antelope from the subfamily bovine and genus forest antelope. The growth of animals is about 110 cm, and the body length reaches 140 cm. Nyala males are more massive than females. It is very simple to distinguish males from females: gray-colored males wear screw horns with white tips 60 to 83 cm long, have a clumping mane running along the back, and ragged hair hanging from the front of the neck to the groin. Nyala females are hornless and are distinguished by a red-brown color. In individuals of both sexes, up to 18 vertical stripes of white color are clearly visible on the sides.
- Related view - mountain nyala (lat.tragelaphus buxtoni), which is distinguished by a more massive body in comparison with the plain nyala. The length of the body of a mountain antelope is 150-180 cm, the height at the withers is about 1 meter, the horns of males reach 1 m in length. The weight of the antelope varies between 150 and 300 kg. The species lives exclusively in the mountainous regions of the Ethiopian Highlands and East African Rift Valley.
- Horse antelopeshe roan horse antelope (lat.Hippotragus equinus)- African saber-horn antelope, one of the largest representatives of the family with a height at the withers of about 1.6 m and a body weight of up to 300 kg. The length of the body is 227-288 cm. By its appearance, the animal resembles a horse. The thick coat of a horse antelope has a grayish-brown color with a red tint, and a black-and-white mask is “painted” on the face. The heads of individuals of both sexes are decorated with elongated ears with tassels at the tips and well-curled horns directed arcuately back.
- Bongo (lat.Tragelaphus eurycerus)- A rare species of African antelope listed in the International Red Book. These mammals belong to the subfamily bovine and the genus of forest antelopes. Bongos are rather large animals: the height at the withers of mature individuals reaches 1-1.3 m, and the weight is about 200 kg. Representatives of the species are distinguished by a juicy, chestnut-red color with white transverse stripes on their sides, islands of white wool on their legs and a white lunar spot on the chest.
- Four-horned antelope (lat.Tetracerus quadricornis)- a rare Asian antelope and the only representative of bovids, whose head is decorated not with 2, but with 4 horns. The growth of these antelopes is about 55-54 cm with a body weight of not more than 22 kg. The body of the animals is covered with brown hair, which contrasts with the white belly. Only males are endowed with horns: the front pair of horns barely reaches 4 cm, and most often they are almost invisible, the rear horns grow up to 10 cm in height. The four-horned antelope feeds on grass and lives in the jungle of India and Nepal.
- Cow antelopeshe Congongi, steppe bubal or common bubal (lat.Alcelaphus buselaphus)- This is an African antelope from the Bubal subfamily. Congonis are large animals with a height of about 1.3 m and a body length of up to 2 m. A cow antelope weighs almost 200 kg. Depending on the subspecies, the color of the Congoni wool varies from light gray to dark brown, a characteristic black pattern stands out on the muzzle, and black marks are located on the legs. Luxurious horns up to 70 cm long are worn by individuals of both sexes; their shape is a crescent moon, curved to the sides and up.
- Black Antelope (lat.Hippotragus niger) - African antelope, which belongs to the genus of equine antelopes, the family of saber-horned antelopes. The growth of the black antelope is about 130 cm with a body weight of up to 230 kg. Adult males are distinguished by a blue-black body color, which contrasts favorably with the white belly. Young males and females have a brick or dark brown color. Horns, curved back in a semicircle and consisting of a large number of rings, have individuals of both sexes.
- Kanna she is common canna (lat. Taurotragus oryx)- the largest antelope in the world. Outwardly, the canna looks like a cow, only more slender, and the dimensions of the animal are impressive: the height at the withers of adults is 1.5 meters, the body length reaches 2-3 meters, and body weight can be from 500 to 1000 kg. An ordinary canna has a yellow-brown coat, which becomes gray-blue on the neck and shoulders with age. The males are distinguished by pronounced folds of skin on the neck and a bizarre tuft of hair on the forehead. Distinctive features of the antelope are from 2 to 15 light stripes in the front of the trunk, massive shoulders and swirling straight horns that adorn both females and males.
- Dwarf antelopeshe dwarf antelope (lat Neotragus pygmaeus) - the smallest of antelopes, belongs to the subfamily of real antelopes. The growth of an adult animal barely reaches 20-23 cm (rarely 30 cm) with a body weight of 1.5 to 3.6 kg. A newborn dwarf antelope weighs about 300 g and can fit in the palm of a person. The hind limbs of the antelope are much longer than the front, so in case of anxiety the animals are able to jump up to 2.5 m in length. The dwarf antelope feeds on leaves and fruits.
- Common Gazelle (lat.Gazella gazella)- an animal from the subfamily of real antelopes. The gazelle body length varies from 98-115 cm, weight - from 16 to 29.5 kg. Females are lighter than males and are about 10 cm smaller in size. The body of an ordinary gazelle is thin, neck and legs are long, the croup of a mammal crowns a tail 8-13 cm long. The horns of males reach 22-29 cm in length, in females the horns are shorter - only 6 -12 cm. A distinctive feature of the species is a pair of white stripes on the face that extend vertically from the horns through the eyes to the nose of the animal.
- Impala or black-faced antelope (lat.Aepyceros melampus). The length of the body of representatives of this species varies from 120-160 cm with a height at the withers of 75-95 cm and a weight of 40 to 80 kg. Males wear lyre-shaped horns, the length of which often exceeds 90 cm. The color of the coat is brown, and the sides are slightly lighter. The belly, chest area, as well as the neck and chin are white. On the hind legs on both sides there are bright black stripes, and above the hoofs there is a tuft of black hair. The range of impalas encompasses Kenya, Uganda, extending to the savannahs of South Africa and the territory of Botswana.
- Saiga or saiga (lat.Saiga tatarica) - an animal from the subfamily of real antelopes. The length of the body of the saiga is from 110 to 146 cm, weight is from 23 to 40 kg, the height at the withers is 60-80 cm. The body has an elongated shape, the limbs are thin and quite short. Carriers of lyre-like yellowish-whitish horns are only males. A characteristic feature of the appearance of saigas is the nose: it looks like a mobile soft trunk with maximally close nostrils and gives the animal's muzzle some hump.
- Zebra Duker (lat.Cephalophus zebra)- a mammal from the genus forest dukers. The body length of the duker is 70-90 cm with a weight of 9 to 20 kg and a height at the withers of 40-50 cm. The body of the animal is squat, with developed muscles and a characteristic bend on the back. The legs are short with hooves wide apart. Both sexes have short horns. The wool of a zebra duker is distinguished by the color of light orange tone, a “zebra” pattern of black stripes stands out clearly on the body - their number varies from 12 to 15 pieces.
- Jeyran (lat.Gazella subgutturosa)- An animal from the genus gazelles, family of bovids. The length of the body of the gazelle is from 93 to 116 cm with a weight of 18 to 33 kg and a height at the withers of 60 to 75 cm. The back and sides of the gazelle are painted in sand, the belly, neck and limbs are white on the inside. The tip of the tail is always black. In young animals, the pattern on the face is clearly pronounced: it is represented by a brown spot in the nose and a pair of dark stripes extending from the eyes to the corners of the mouth.
Habitat and lifestyle
Wildebeests live in packs on the African continent. They choose the place with the most grass. If one flock has occupied a certain part of the territory, then the other does not pretend to it. It is difficult to imagine an antelope diet without various types of herbs. The climate of Africa is quite peculiar, and the weather here is changing. In order not to starve to death, antelopes are forced to change their place of residence several times a year. Antelopes do not live in large packs, they can be divided into many parts. Wildebeest quietly survives in a small company. Two or three individuals will be quite enough.
At first glance, antelopes seem quite evil animals, but at the same time they do not pose a danger to other animals. On the contrary, they themselves have a lot of enemies. There are many predators who are happy to want to feast on them. Antelopes are practically powerless in front of lions and crocodiles. Such animals need a lot of meat to survive. The same lion is quite difficult to hunt for other animals of the same dimensions, so they hunt down antelopes. As mentioned, they live in small flocks, so there is no one to protect them.
Today there are not many antelopes left. The fact that they are the main diet of some animals in their area is far from the only reason. Decades ago, wildebeest hunting was very popular. It was during that period that they almost died out from human hands.
The nature of wildebeests is paradoxical. Basically, they look like ordinary peaceful cows, but sometimes they are attacked by incomprehensible attacks, when the animals suddenly kick, jump in one place, or they can panic in one second get out of place in the quarry with the whole herd. And all this happens for no apparent reason. Wildebeests are short-tempered and often attack smaller herbivores nearby.
Wildebeest eats herbs of certain species.Therefore, in most places of the herd, wildebeests lead a nomadic lifestyle, migrating twice a year to where it rained and there are suitable fodder plants. Migrating wildebeest, stretched in regular endless chains from horizon to horizon or in countless masses scattered across the steppes, is a spectacle that is exciting and unique. In naturally delimited areas, such as in the Ngorongoro crater, wildebeest do not migrate, but only regularly move during the day from the slopes to the lowlands where watering places lie. At the water, animals rest for a long time, roll on their backs, like horses, play.
Wildebeest is a very restless creature. But it is not this quality that makes them migrate, but the downpours for which the animals move. Antelopes are herbivorous and can not live in areas where there is no rain, where there is little feed, so they are constantly moving to new pastures. In July, they move from the Serengeti reserve to other places, and after a while - back.
On the way, weak and sick animals are eliminated, which either fall behind the herd or fall into the clutches of predators. Wildebeest migration occurs first from south to north, then in the opposite direction. Its peak passes through the Mara River. Moreover, animals are always transported in the same place. Many tourists go to observe the migration of antelopes (and the sight is really grand and impressive) every year. The movement of animals can be observed from above (from balloons) or from specially equipped cars designed for such tourist trips.
Enemies of antelopes
The main enemies of antelopes are hyenas, lions, crocodiles, vultures, leopards and cheetahs. Mostly animals die during migration. Natural selection occurs. Weaker and sick lag behind the herd and become easy prey for predators. And when crossing rivers, crocodiles do not even attack right away, but wait until the herds cross the other side. Then they attack the laggards from the majority. Many antelopes, which are in the forefront, are simply trampled by the brothers pushing behind from behind. And a lot of animal corpses then remain on the shore. The remains are quickly eaten by vultures and hyenas. But all the same, the antelopes cannot be called defenseless. A tightly knocked herd can even repel an attack by lions. The latter also try to attack only weak animals. Sometimes predators try to repel young growth from the herd.
Interesting Antelope Facts
- One interesting feature of wildebeest is still a mystery to scientists. A group of calmly grazing animals suddenly, without any reason, embarks on a crazy dance, making huge jumps and lunges from the spot, as well as kicking with their hind legs. After a minute, the “whistle” also ends abruptly, and the animals continue to peacefully pinch the grass, as if nothing had happened.
- In addition to the main coat, the jumping spring antelopes (Latin Oreotragus oreotragus) have hollow hair that is loosely connected with the skin, which is typical only for this type of antelope and white-tailed deer.
- In some species of antelopes, the long neck and hinged structure of the femoral joints allow animals to stand on their hind legs and, leaning with their front on the tree trunk, reach tree branches, like giraffes.
- Wildebeests are restless animals. Considering that they have a whole continent at their disposal, they migrate from place to place throughout the year: in May they wander from plains to forests, and in November back.
- They drink a lot and love to relax by the water. If there are no predators near the watering hole, the Wildebeest will happily wallow in the mud and play, enjoying the coolness.
- Wildebeests have many enemies: lions and hyena-like dogs can even catch an adult animal, while leopards and hyenas prey on cubs. They do this at night, when antelopes easily panic, as during the day the mother will not give offense to her baby.
- The race begins in April and lasts until mid-summer. During this period, the males fight for possession of the harem. Particularly successful ones can win 10-12 females, while their competitors are content with two or three.
- In February-March, small calves appeared, covered with even brown fur. The whole herd is in a hurry to greet a new family member and the mother has to literally fight back from loving relatives, otherwise they will simply trample the newborn.
Wildebeest features and habitat
If a person hears the name antelope, on a subconscious level he has associations with the word wildebeest. And this is no accident, because the most famous type of antelope is actually wildebeest.
In general, there are two species of artiodactyls - white-tailed and blue wildebeest. Close relatives of these animals are marsh and conglome antelopes, but to be frank, it should be noted that they are completely different in appearance.
Where does wildebeest live? She can rightfully be considered a resident of the African continent. A large percentage of the total number of approximately 70% lived in Kenya, and the rest graze in the expanses of Namibia and other African countries.
Pictured is a blue wildebeest
Ungulate at first sight wildebeest animal It looks very absurd and even, one might say unsympathetic. One gets the impression that nature has invested several species of animals in the appearance of the antelope at once.
Judge for yourself, according to external signs, the wildebeest is very reminiscent of either a cow or a horse - a massive head, curved short horns and a goat's face.
If you look at wildebeest photo, you can clearly see the thick pendants hanging from the bottom of the muzzle, it looks like a goat beard, on the neck of a mane, similar to a horse, but very rare at the same time.
And the long tail ends with a brush, just like a donkey, while the animal makes sounds resembling a cow mooing. The antelope is covered with wool, painted in dark gray, silver-blue or brownish tint with almost indistinguishable stripes on the sides, located across. A white-tailed wildebeest is painted in black, but its tail is white and quite thick.
With a body weight of 200-250 kg, an ungulate animal at the withers reaches a little less than one and a half meters. The body of the antelope is powerful enough with high massive shoulders. The head of males and females of antelopes is crowned with horns, curved and very strong. Moreover, males have horns almost a meter meter, which you will agree a lot.
Pictured white-tailed wildebeest
The animal’s horns help fight off enemies, which should be noted in this herbivore.