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Wildebeest

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Wildebeest
Standing wildebeest.jpg
Scientific Classification
Species
A herd of wildebeests
Wildebeest herd.jpg

Wildebeests are mammals with hooves and are similar to a cow or deer. The wildebeest is native to Africa and can live for up to twenty years. The wildebeest is a herbivore and feeds on all different kinds of grass. [1]

Anatomy

The anatomy of a wildebeest

Wildebeest stand at 3-4 and a half ft. tall. The length of the from head to tall is 5-8 ft. The tail being 14-22in. in length. Male Wildebeest get up to 400-600 pounds and the females can reach anywhere between 300-600.[2] A wildebeests head is very large and both the males and the females have curving horns coming from the tops of the head. The front end of the wildebeests body is heavily built while the back hindquarters are small and thin. They have a gray coat and black mane along with a beard that may either be black or white. [3]

Reproduction

Breeding among wildebeests depends on whether or not the wildebeest is with a traveling herd. Traveling herds contain wildebeests both male and females and of all ages. A mature male can create a breeding territory and mate with all females who choose to enter it. Wildebeests that don't travel are more organized. Females who posses young form separate herds of 10 to 1,000. Males tend to leave Female herds when they reach the age of one in order to go and form there own separate bachelor groups. Once the males reach the age of three to four they go off and try and create territories of there own. Sometimes the territory is only temporary while a female herd is passing by or sometimes the territory may be maintained for many years. When a mature female enters the males territory he will attempt to mate with the female. Wildebeests young are born at the start of rainy season because the food is more abundant. A calf can stand 15 minutes after birth and shortly after is even able to run. For nine months the calf with make sure to stick close to its mother so that predators such as lions will not kill them. Although many calves still die from predators in the early years. [4]

Ecology

The ecology of wildebeests

Almost all of the world's wildebeests are located in Africa. Wildebeests like to live in open plains and they feed on grass exclusively. They also will make sure to have a water source nearby for drinking. Wildebeests migrate annually to search for water that is within there environment. The location of water sources change with every season that passes so this migration is key to there survival. Being out in the open all the time makes wildebeests extremely vulnerable to predators. Although normally it will be easy for one of the herd members to spot danger coming it is also easy for prey to see the herd from a distance. If one member of the herd is left behind or moves to far away it is sitting prey for the predator. [5]

Threat

Although a wildebeest may look like it will harm you if you get to close to you it won't. When a wildebeest is approached it will simply stab the ground with its horns, stamp its hooves, and thrash its tail. After all these it may even lower its head down to look as if it is going to charge. But after all of this if you continue towards it then it will simply retreat away from you and repeat the same steps over again. Normally a wildebeests only defense is to run so there is nothing to fear if you come to close to one. [6]

Gallery

References