Kudu African's great horns among the wilderness

The great kudu with its amazing sharp horns

The kudu is one of Africa's most beautiful dangerous animal. With all its great horns and massive body, this great African Savannah animal an inhabitant of the great Maasai steppe is  a great animal which blends with nature and with stealth do conceal its movement among the African bushes, forests and thickets, its just one of the greatest animal which has a very high survival rate as compared to the other impala or the  gazelle which have speed but are easily brought down by the other animals of prey

Found in these Heartlands: Maasai Steppe
Scientific Name: greater kudu (Tragelaphus strepsiceros), lesser kudu (Tragelaphus imberbis)
Size: 55 inches (greater kudu)
Weight: 565 pounds (greater kudu)
Lifespan: 7 to 8 years in the wild and up to 23 years in captivity
Habitat: Dense bush or forest
Diet: Herbivorous
Gestation: Up to 9 months (greater kudu)
Predators: leopards, hunting dogs, spotted hyenas, humans

Kudus Physical Characteristics
Both the greater kudu and its close cousin the lesser kudu have stripes and spots on the body, and most have a chevron of white hair between the eyes. Males have long, spiral horns. The greater kudu's horns are spectacular and can grow as long as 72 inches, making 2 1/2 graceful twists.
Female greater kudus are noticeably smaller than the males. By contrast, lesser kudus are even smaller, about 42 inches at the shoulder; males weigh around 220 pounds while females 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. Although both species are bluish-gray, grayish-brown or rust color, the lesser has five to six more lateral white stripes, for a total of 11 to 15. Both species have a crest of long hair along the spine, and greater kudus also have a fringe under the chin.

Kudus Habitat
Lesser kudus are found in acacia and commiphora thornbush in arid savannas; they rely on thickets for security and are rarely found in open or scattered bush. Greater kudus are found in woodlands and bushlands.

Kudus Behavior
Male kudu sometimes form small bachelor groups, but more commonly they are solitary and widely dispersed. Dominance between males is usually quickly and peacefully determined by a lateral display in which one male stands sideways in front of the other and makes himself look as large as possible. Males only join females, who form small groups of six to 10 with their offspring, during mating season. Calves grow rapidly and at 6 months are fairly independent of their mothers.
The pregnant female 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.

The Kudus Diet
Kudus are browsers and eat leaves and shoots from a variety of plants. In dry seasons, they eat wild watermelons and other fruit for the liquid they provide. The lesser kudu is less dependent on water sources than the greater kudu.

The Kudus 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 susceptible to the rinderpest virus, and many scientists think recurring epidemics of the disease have reduced kudu populations in East Africa.

Did You Know?
•   Their cryptic coloring and markings protect kudus by camouflaging them. If alarmed they usually stand    still and are very difficult to spot.
•    Kudus normally restrict their movements to a small home range, but the scarcity of food in dry season may prompt them to roam more widely.

These Africa's great Impala species are some of the animals which are hunted for its delicate meat. There are times when the population of kudus is just beyond the land carrying capacity. In order to control the kudu population so that the grazers and the other animals or prey have the same share in terms of the availability of pasture. While many of the kudus have been involved in many animal attacks, the kudu with its great horns are not animals to play with. These animals with the longest and sharpest horns have the ability to take all the big cats and any other animal which is a threat to the kudu and to the kudu hear and with its offspring.

While on a great African Safari, many people would love to see the great big five but when they see the kudu or the impala family while out in their own natural habitat, feeding grounds and breeding grounds, these animals are just as spectacular as any great African adventure at whatever time while being out there in the national parks or game reserves. While it might sound odd for people going on a safari only to be interested with the big five, these kudus also make excellent photos when captured in close proximity as they blend with nature as well. Its just with awareness that such great African animals can come to the limelight of the masses and the world at large so that protection conservation and rescue of the