Scientific name:

Tragelaphus strepsiceros (this article is about the Greater Kudu, not the Lesser Kudu)

 

What makes it special:

This is the largest antelope species and one of the most sought-after plains game trophies of Africa. The horns carried by the bull (male) makes this is a truly outstanding animal. Because it is very good at hiding in thickets it has been nicknamed The Grey Ghost.

 

Recommended caliber:

.270 is the minimum caliber.

Getting the graceful Grey Ghost

The largest antelope is also one of the most popular. Males are easily distinguished from other antelope species by their large long spiral horns and mark on the nose. Both the male and the female have characteristic round years and stripes on the back and they have a considerably larger body compared to most members of the antelope family. The males have a distinct posture created by their relatively short hind legs and longer front legs. They have mane running from the head to the shoulders and beard running down, to between the front legs. The female kudu have no horns and they also lack the beard and the mark on the nose.

 

Hunting method

Kudus are very fast and athletic when not standing still, hiding in the thickets. Together with the fact that they are extremely sensitive to humans and other predators, this makes hunting them quite challenging. Prayed upon by many animals, it is prepared in all instances and stalking them is no easy job. When you approach them you should also be aware that males might turn aggressive if they are wounded. Males are mostly solitary and hard to encounter compared to the females, which walk in herds. Females always run when attacked. Males can target their attacker and hit them with the base of their horns, though In most instances they just run away. They can run for many miles without stopping, so make sure you bring them down in the first shot. 

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Know the animal

Appearance

Pale grey or light brown in color with white stripes down the flank. The male have a distinct mark on the nose and beard. They have tall mane on the backside of the neck, which occasionally stands. The female have no mar or beard but have the distinct color and round ears. Males carry horns, often between 50 and 55 inches. 60 inches or above is exceptional.

 

Habitat

Usually lives in the bushveld and savannah but are also found in rock hillsides and riverbeds. They are mostly found in dense thicket where they hide from predators. Their stripes on the back help them camouflage. They are found in the east Africa, South Africa and central Africa.

 

Diet

They primarily feed on foliage. They are good grazers but are highly dependent on browsing and eating shoots. During dry season they feed on wild watermelon, bulbs and roots to obtain water. They are very dependent on water and are therefore often found near water holes. They primarily browse in the early morning and late afternoon.

 

Predators

The cat family is the primary enemy, since the size of this antelope takes a quite large predator. Hyenas can, however, also hunt this animal. Females and offspring are of course the most vulnerable making e.g. the cheetah able to hunt them, while an adult male is too much for it. The escape strategy is to e.g. leap over shrubs hoping to shake of the predator, since it is not fast enough to outrun them over open terrain.

 

Life cycle

Greater kudus live up to 20 years if they avoid predators. Their gestation period is around 240 days. Their breeding is very seasonal; they mate at the end of the rain season. Males are only seen with the females during this period. Females calve between February and March enjoying high availability of grass. They give birth to one calf in a concealed location. The calves are then nursed for at most five weeks before it can start joining its mother and the other in the heard. This is the longest time of nursing for any antelope species. Six months after birth, calves can be independent from their mother. The most common causes of death is rinderpest, rabies or predation from humans or the big cat family.

 

Behavior

The females are more social than their male counterpart. They graze and stay in herds of up to 20. The males have a solitary life but might be found in small bachelors’ herds. Kudus are mostly inactive during the day to avoid the hot sun and predation. The mature females normally bark whenever the herd is attacked as a means to warn others.

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Animal Facts

Weight and size

Males: 190kg to 270 kg

Females: 120 kg to 210 kg

 

Shoulder height

Males: 150 cm

Females: 130 cm

 

Habitat

Primarily live in the savannah where they hide in thickets, which camouflage their striped body quite good. This ability to suddenly disappear in the middle of the savannah has given them the nickname the grey ghost.

 

Diet

Highly dependent on water, the kudu feed on grass, foliage, shoots and what else it might find when browsing, often plants containing a lot of water in the dry season.

 

Predators

The cat family is the primary enemy, since the size of this antelope takes a quite large predator. Hyenas can, however, also hunt this animal.

 

Life cycle

Lives up to 20 years.

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