Species

Waterbuck

Scientific Name:

Kobus Ellipsiprymnus

Description:

Despite its name, the waterbuck is not truly aquatic nor as much at home in water and swamps as is the sitatunga or lechwe. It does, however, take refuge there to escape predators. The waterbuck is a large, robust animal; males are generally about 25 percent larger than the females. Waterbucks have large, rounded ears and white patches above the eyes, around the nose and mouth and on the throat. Only the males have horns, which are prominently ringed and as long as 40 inches. The horns are widely spaced and curve gracefully back and up. They are sometimes used with lethal results when males fight one another over territories. The waterbuck has a shaggy brown-gray coat that emits a smelly, oily secretion thought to be for waterproofing. In East Africa two types occur, the common waterbuck and the defassa waterbuck, distinguished only by the white pattern on the rump. The common waterbuck has a conspicuous white ring encircling a dark rump, while the defassa has wide white patches on either side of the rump. Only male waterbucks have horns.

Habitat:

Inhabits only well watered areas, with a strong predilection for dense woody vegetation and good quality medium to tall grasses. The Waterbuck will on occasion venture into open woodlands and floodplains.

Distribution:

In South Africa it is distributed along the major drainage systems of Mpumalanga, Northern Province and northern KwaZulu-Natal. Recently re-introduced at St Lucia and Itala game reserves in KwaZulu-Natal.

Size:

Bulls have a shoulder height of 1.4 metres. Cows are smaller than bulls.

Weight:

Can weigh up to 260 Kg. Cows are smaller than bulls.

Lifespan:

Their life-span is about 14 years.


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