All You Need to Know About the Mighty Wildebeest
The mighty wildebeest or “wild beast” earned its name because of its menacing appearance consisting of a large head, pointed beard, and sharp horns.
The wildebeest is a mammal which forms part of the antelope family. Wildebeest, also known as Gnu, can be found in the central, southern and eastern parts of Africa and prefer green plains and open woodlands.
Despite being targeted by numerous predators daily, the wildebeest population remains high and unaffected.
Up to 1.3 metres
lions, cheetahs, hyenas
With a rectangular-shaped head, a hefty front, slim hindquarters, lanky hind legs, and long hair, it’s no wonder the wildebeest received its name.
Both the male and female wildebeest possess horns which extend outwards into curved semicircles. The adult wildebeest male’s horns are embossed.
There are numerous subspecies of wildebeest and each has its own unique appearance.
Blue Wildebeest (Connochaetes taurinus taurinus)
The blue wildebeest is found in southern Africa and its body is marked with dark, vertical bands on its front quarters.
Eastern White-bearded Wildebeest (Connochaetes taurinus albojubatus)
Western White-bearded Wildebeest (Connochaetes taurinus mearnsi)
Cookson’s Wildebeest (Connochaetes taurinus cooksoni)
Nyassaland Wildebeest (Connochaetes taurinus johnstoni)
With a black face and a white stripe above the nose, this wildebeest can be spotted between Mozambique and east-central Tanzania.
Black Wildebeest (Connochaetes gnou)
The male wildebeest are often referred to as “clowns of savanna” because of their uncanny behaviour during mating season.
To attract females, males rub their scent into the ground. To mark their breeding territory they urinate or defecate in the area.
The wildebeest remains pregnant for up to 8.5 months, before giving birth to a single calf. These calves are able to walk as soon as they are born, and can run after only a few days have passed. 10 days after birth, the calves will move from their milk-based diet to a grass diet.