December 09, 2011

Kudus of Africa

 Kudus The majestc African Horns

Kudus are some of the most beautiful amazing  horned animals in the
African Savannah habitat
Beautiful kudu grazing and munching
from tree tops cute pic by Turkinator 

The kudu is one of Africa’s greatest animals of the African Savannah. With so many different types of impalas and different species of gazelles found in Africa, going on an animal safari in Africa to see these great wild animals in their own natural habitat is just something of great interest. Why is the kudu different from the other animals in the wild? Is it because kudus are stronger that the other species of gazelles found in the dangerous African habitat as there are always plenty of predator ready to attack these beautiful animals of the African savannah? My good guess is that with a lot of animal competition of all the animal food, feed ding grounds of the African animals and the general breeding grounds which the African ecosystem sustains makes it possible for the kudu to survive in its natural habitat as far as a few facts about kudus are concerned.

Just like the African Big Five the kudu is one
of the animals which also endangered
So many people who have made beautiful animal safaris to Kenya Tanzania and South Africa must have had good memories about this beautiful animal which has been hunted down for food. Despite the fact that there is illegal animal poaching in many parts of the world, the kudu just as one of the animals in Africa which is endangered, the plight of this beautiful animal still remains on major efforts of animal conservation and animal protection of the kudu. 

Kudus habitat range from arid to semi arid natural
 habitats found in the African continent habitat
As one of the biggest gazelle species, the kudu has been captured in so many beautiful animal pictures and many of these images of kudu have managed to capture many animal safari lovers to come and visit and see the kudu in their habitat while at the same time seeing how the kudu has managed to co exist with the African big cats and the African carnivorous animals which rule the African savannah.

Some amazing facts about kudus
Beautiful kudu picture from South
Africa Kruger National Park

Is the kudu a different gazelle species or its just one of the kind of impalas which has evolved over time and according to the natural habitat of Africa? The physical characteristics of the endangered African kudu are as clear as great runners of the gazelle families which have to spend all their time looking out for dangerous animals such as the African lions, the dangerous leopards and the fastest animals in the world not forgetting the herds of the most dangerous African hunting wild dogs and the spotted hyenas which are found in most of the kudu’s natural habitat and breeding grounds as well. 


Beautiful animals in the protectionof 
the tall African grass land beautiful
 amazing photo by  Peter Ibbotson
So can someone distinguish between a kudu and a dear or how can someone differentiate between a dear and a kudu? These are some of the animal facts which puzzle a lot of people when they try to find more about these animals of the plains and dangerous forests of Africa. In fact, there is a very big difference between a kudu and a gazelle. All these beautiful animals of the African wild seem to enjoy the savannah habitat with the rest of the endangered animals of Africa. Just like the African mountain zebras and the endangered okapi, the kudu is just like any other stripped animals which has managed to adopt itself very well with the climatic conditions of the African habitat and blends very well with its natural surroundings there by making it less vulnerable to animals of prey such as the lion, the cheetah  and the leopard which are some of its most dangerous predators found in the wild apart from human who have continue with the illegal poaching of the kudu. 


Thick vegetation makes the kudu to
 blend with its natural surrounding
and avoids
natural predators such as the lion
A few interesting facts about the kudu is that as far as kudu are concerned about this particular gazelle species, both the greater kudu and its close cousin the lesser kudu have amazing beautiful  stripes and spots on the body of the kudu. As a matter of fact the kudu’s face is indifferent from other gazelles or impalas. The kudu has a beautiful chevron of white hair between the eyes.  Does it make the kudu a special animal to have a white chevron on the face? Does it make the kudu more handsome and animal or its just part of the natural selection of the animal species? One might even wonder as to why the African elephants have tusks. I mean the male African elephants and the female African elephants all have tusks to protect themselves from other dangerous animals of prey and also to assist them in the general foraging and creating more feeding grounds in any natural habitat? 


Beautiful cute baby kudu practicing running away
 from predators
On the other hand, the Indian female elephants also don’t have tusks and hence many of the male Indian elephants are always poached for their tusks while the female are left with no strong males to father more elephants. As far as the African kudu is concerned, just like the Indian elephants and many other horned animals in the African Savannah, the male kudus is the one which has horns for the protection of the kudu hers and as a way of getting the best females in the heard as well. 

When you look at most of the animals in the African savannah you find that most of the animals which have horns, they are either facing uo or some horns are curved inside as far as the cape buffalo, the wildebeest and the elephants are concerned. One amazing fact about the kudu horns is that the kudu horns are sometimes spiral and pointed at the end. 


Female greater kudus live in small herds of six to
 twenty individuals along with their calves
Out of sheer animal instincts the kudu has developed these long horns since survival for the fittest and strength is very curial for continuation and domination of the kudu heard, the kudu horns are always spectacular and can grow to lengths of about 72 inches, making 2 1/2 graceful twists. Do the kudus really need these spiral horns while in the wild. Well with such long horns, these dangerous African kudus are able to chase a lion which might be in the kudu’s natural habitat and feeding grounds. There are many incidences where lions have been attacked by the kudu and many young lions are always not aware that when you see a kudu they should not dare attack it but with luck sometimes, these African lions can always dare attack any animal of prey to feed the hungry pride in the African jungles as well.

The kudu range from northeastern Africa from northern Kenya through
Ethiopia to eastern Sudan, western Somalia and Eritrea
Kudu Found in these Heartlands: Maasai Steppe
Kudu Scientific Name: greater kudu (Tragelaphus strepsiceros), lesser kudu (Tragelaphus imberbis)
Kudu Size: 55 inches (greater kudu)
Weight: 565 pounds (greater kudu)
Kudu Lifespan: 7 to 8 years in the wild and up to 23 years in captivity
Kudu Habitat: Dense bush or forest
Kudu Diet: Herbivorous
Kudu Gestation: Up to 9 months (greater kudu)
Kudu Predators: leopards, hunting dogs, spotted hyenas, humans


Kudu Physical Characteristics
The kudu physical characteristics are as vivid as any other impalla, gazelle or dear which are out there in the wilderness. As far as kudu are concerned, both the greater kudu and its close cousin the lesser kudu have stripes and spots on the body. As a matter of fact the udu have a chevron of white hair between the eyes. For all the protection of the heard and from dangerous animals in the African Savannah lands. all male kudus  have long. These kudu horns are sometimes spiral and pointed at the end. Since survival for the fittest and strength is very crucial for continuation and domination of the kudu heard, the kudu horns are always spectacular and can grow to lenghts of  about  72 inches, making 2 1/2 graceful twists.


Their cryptic coloring and markings protect kudus by camouflaging them.
If alarmed they usually stand still and are very difficult to spot.
Is it easy to spot a kudu while you are in the African wilderness? Where would you even start to know that the animal I am looking at is a kudu? Well those who have made endless African animal safaris have come to realize that these beautiful animals of Africa have their own beauty which needs to be cherished each and every minute. The way the kudu walks is just amazing. The way the heard interacts with the other animals while grazing is also something which we humans do not understand about the animal instincts to stay closer to other animals which can give you protection such as a group of Thomson gazelles might graze with the kudu herds just to give all the animal protection they might need from dangerous predators lingering in their natural habitat as well.


During the day, Greater kudus normally stops to
be active
and finds shelter under woodland
While out there in many of the African dangerous forests and the African jungles, one amazing animal fact about the kudu is that it’s always difficult to spot a kudu. But in order to distinguish between a male kudu and a female kudu, you find that the beautiful Female greater kudus are noticeably smaller than the male kudus. By contrast, lesser kudus are even smaller, about 42 inches at the shoulder. Another interesting fact about the male kudus as far as the weight is concerned is that the male kudus weigh around 220 pounds while female kudus generally weigh about 50 pounds less. Lesser kudus have smaller horns than the greater kudus and conspicuous white patches on the upper and lower parts of the neck. 
Kudus are are a target for hunters

Very many tourists on a safari to Africa have managed to capture good kudu pictures and some good videos about the kudu in its natural habitat. Do you know what is so beautiful about these beautiful kudus while you see them on an African Safari?  One vital information bout the kudu us that although both  kudu species are bluish-gray, grayish-brown or rust color, the lesser kudus has five to six more lateral white stripes, for a total of 11 to 15. Both kudu species have a crest of long hair along the spine, and greater kudus also have a fringe under the chin.

The Kudu Habitat in the African Savannah grasslands
Predators of the greater kudu generally consist of lions, leopards and the African
 wild  hunting dogs.
The African savannah is just a place where all the animals in the wild big or small just eat what is available in the African Savannah natural habitat. The bounty of the African wildlife is just amazing and home to this kudu a s well. While the tallest animal is accustomed to this African Savannah natural habitat, the lesser kudus are found in acacia tree habitat and commiphora thorn bush. With such a blend of the African wild, getting spotted by dangerous animals of prey is one thing which creates animal competition. The acacia tree with all its thorns prevents many of the dangerous African animals into venturing into such kudu’s habitat where as in arid savannas, the kudu thrives very well as these beautiful African animals  rely on thickets for security and are rarely found in open or scattered bush just like any other endangered animals of the African savannah. Greater kudus are found in some of the most dangerous forests as well and mostly in the woodlands and bushlands.

Kudu Behavior

The greater kudu may search over a large
 distance
 for water in times of drought
Are the African kudus very social animals? Do animals really need to associate with other animals in order to survive in the wild? Is it an animal survival tactic while in the wild? Who sets the ground for such animals to separate themselves whether they are young animals or almost adult animals? Well you find that with all the animal competition for feeding grounds and for the continuation of generation, sometimes in the wild the male kudus sometimes form small bachelor groups, but more commonly the kudus in general are solitary and widely dispersed. In the wild, dominance between males Kudu is usually quickly and peacefully determined by a lateral display in which one male stands sideways in front of the other Kudu. This is always a very beautiful amazing moment for these beautiful animals of the African Savannah.

Greater kudus have a narrow body with long legs,
and their coats can range from brown/bluish-grey
to reddish-brown. 
Kudus are highly susceptible to the rinderpest virus
The fact of the matter is that the male kudu wants to makes himself look as large as possible. Male Kudus only join female Kudus, who form small groups of six to 10 with their offspring, during the animal mating season.  When these new born baby kudus start getting socialized and getting acquainted with the rest of the herd the kudu calves grow rapidly and at 6 months are fairly independent of their mothers. Remember it’s always a jungle out there the kudus greatest predators are the African lions, the African leopards, the cheetah and the hyenas. Animals such as the African hunting dogs and the African jackals will also try to attack the kudu’s babies as they are always vulnerable while they are playing or wondering far from their heard as well.


The mature male kudus will often fight other males by interlocking their horns
with the other until one of kudus admits and lives to fight another day
As survival in the African savannah wilderness is important, the mother kudu always ensures the full protection of her spring that it will be born in a safe place unlike the wildebeest or the African elephant which will always give birth to the new born baby wildebeest of baby elephant anywhere in the African natural habitat and sometimes while on the move and yet the baby animal is expected to be on the move just hours when the animal is born. On the other hand one amazing fact about the kudu is that when the pregnant female Kudus are about to give birth, they always departs from her group to give birth, leaving the newborn lying out for 4 or 5 weeks, one of the longest periods of all the antelopes. The calf then begins to accompany its mother for short periods of time and by 3 or 4 months is with her constantly. Soon after, the mother and calf rejoin the female's group. Calves grow rapidly and at 6 months are fairly independent of their mothers.

Kudu Diet
Kudus are browsers and eat leaves and
 shoots from a variety of plants.
In the African savannah, if an animal is not at the top of the food chain or the food web, then the animal has a lot to do while it is feeding as there are always other animals of prey which are ready to attack with lightning speed when these animals of prey are not suspecting but are busy eating or just drinking water in the rivers lakes or ponds. As far as the kudu’s diet is concerned, generally kudus are known to be browsers and eat leaves and shoots from a variety of plants. As the wildebeest migration comes to the Masai Mara national park because of fresh green grass for the wildebeest heard, the kudu on the other hand while in the dry seasons, kudus eat wild watermelons and other fruit for the liquid they provide. The lesser kudu is less dependent on water sources than the greater kudu.

Kudu Predators and Threats
Kudus normally restrict their movements
 to a small home range
Predators such as big cats, wild dogs,
hyenas, eagles and pythons hunt kudu
and their young.
Why should such a powerful animal in Africa with such big and dangerous horns have predators? Does it mean that the kudu with all its good defenses is still vulnerable to attacks just like any other animal in the wild? With all the animal competition for food and breeding and feeding grounds, there are always chances for prey to emerge and thus the kudu just like any other animal in the wild is vulnerable to many predators, such as big cats mainly the African lions, the African leopards and the cheetahs as well. The dangerous African hunting wild dogs and the spotted  hyenas are just some of the biggest pradators for the kudu while thebabies of kudu are always vulnerable to other animals such as the  eagles and pythons hunt kudu and their young.  
Most kudus are found in from southern Kenya to Namibia, Botswana and
South Africa where they live within their natural habitat

Despite the fact that the kudu are always at peace with the other wildlife of Africa, most of these animals are often hunted as bush meat. The kudu numbers are also affected by humans hunting them for their meat mostly in countries such as Congo, Nigeria Benin Central African Republic and many countries of West and central Africa. The kudu is endangered in Africa because of illegal hunting for the hides and horns. The feeding and breeding grounds of the kudu has been decreases as most of the kudu habitat has been reduced due to deforestation, or using the kudu habitats for charcoal burning and farming.  With all the deforestation which leaves the fertile soil bare and unfertile when the long rains wash the African savannah soil, the kudu natural habitat is also destroyed as the different farm in gin such animal reserves or protected forests. 


Male kudu sometimes form small bachelor groups, but more commonly they are
solitary animals
As a matter of fact one thing about kudu’s health is that the kudus are highly prone or susceptible to the rinderpest virus, and as far as the general health of the kudu is concerned many scientists think recurring epidemics of the disease have reduced kudu populations in East Africa. Is that one of the reason as to why these great animals of Africa are hard to find while you are on a safari? I guess there is need to conserve these beautiful animals of Africa for the future generation as well.



Kudu Predators and Threats
Many predators, such as big cats, wild dogs, hyenas, eagles and pythons hunt kudu and their young. Kudu numbers are also affected by humans hunting them for their meat, hides and horns, or using their habitats for charcoal burning and farming. Kudus are highly prone or susceptible to the rinderpest virus, and as far as the general health of the kudu is concerned many scientists think recurring epidemics of the disease have reduced kudu populations in East Africa.

The greater kudu (Tragelaphus strepsiceros) is a woodland antelope
found throughout eastern and southern Africa
Did You Know?
   The kudu's cryptic colouring and markings protect kudus by camouflaging them. If kudus think they are in danger and they usually stand still and are very difficult to spot while in their natural habitat or in the wilderness.
   Kudus normally restrict their movements while in their feeding and breeding grounds to a small home range, but the scarcity of food in dry season may prompt kudus to roam more widely.

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