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Animal Spotlight: The Wildebeest

by Sandy Salle on March 31, 2010

wildebeest facts

Image taken from National Geographic website

Standing 4.5 ft. tall and 8 ft. in length, and weighing in anywhere from 330 – 550 lbs., the regal wildebeest is a fascinating creature to see on an African safari tour. Never still, the wildebeest is always traveling with millions of its comrades—which include millions of other wildebeest, zebra, and gazelle—in search of fresh grass and pools of drinking water. This constant movement to follow the rains is referred to as The Great Migration, which is a looped path the wildebeest, zebra, and gazelle take around the Serengeti.

wildebeest facts

Image taken from Discovery Channel website

Interesting Wildebeest Facts:

  • If you’re ever in front of a horned, barrel-chested wildebeest, it might behoove you to step aside. These powerful creatures can reach speeds up to 40 miles per hour over a short distance.
  • During the months of May and June, female wildebeests will breed, and an estimated 80 percent of those females will give birth the following year to almost half-a-million calves.
  • Wildebeest have an average lifespan of 20 years in the wild.
  • With an untidy unibrow, the wildebeest is not the most attractive animal to witness on an African safari tour. Their nappy main—which extends from the shoulder blades, all the way down its forehead—and beard, and menacing horns, has earned the Wildebeest its name from the Afrikaans, which translates to “wild beast.” There is, however, one aspect of the wildebeest that is truly beautiful, and that is the silver-blue glisten to their hide.
  • Good thing there are millions of wildebeest—they’re a main food source for predators across the eastern, southern, and central regions of Africa. From lions to hyenas and cheetahs to wild dogs, wildebeests provide a meaty source of protein and nutrients for the lurking predators of the Serengeti.
  • Both male wildebeest and female wildebeest grow horns. A male’s horns can grow up to 32 inches in length.
  • Bachelor herds are individual wildebeest herds that consist of wildebeest that range in age from 1 – 4 years-old.
  • As herbivores, the wildebeest primarily eats grasses and shrubs and grazes both day and night.
  • The wildebeest is a form of antelope and there are two species: the blue and the black wildebeest. The more common of the two is the blue wildebeest, which is seen in The Great Migration. The black wildebeest, on-the-other-hand, is nearly extinct.

What African animal do you want to learn about? Let us know in our comments section and we’ll feature a spotlight on that animal in our blog.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

mike d December 24, 2010 at 10:26 pm

There is also a statistic Im trying to find the answer to that says wildebeests take up the most space for a bio mass or something.. does anyone know what im talking about?

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