Wildebeests, also known as gnus, belong to the genus Connochaetes antelopes. Wildebeest are among the most dominant herbivores of plain ecosystems. Gnu is noisy creatures and migrates in groups. The name is given due to their feral appearance, resembling wild beasts.
On basis of their color and horns orientation, wildebeest have two most common species,
The blue wildebeests are also known as brindled gnu, while black wildebeests are called white-tailed gnu. Blue wildebeest is known as the keystone species.
Males are larger as compared to females. The gnus are, on average, 5 feet tall with 45 and 55 inches from the shoulder.
The average weight of wildebeest is 250 kg in the case of blue wildebeest, while 155 kg in the case of black wildebeest.
The body is not evenly proportioned as the forequarters are stronger while the hindquarters are not as strong.
Wildebeest are known to have shaggy manes and broad muzzles. Short hair covers their front body, while black brown vertical hairs are present at the back. In addition, they have beards that may be pale or dark, although the body color may vary as they may have blue-gray to gray-brown colors.
Both male and female guns have curved horns on a rectangular box-shaped head. In the case of adult wildebeest, horns are embossed heavily. In the case of bridled gnu, the horns curve downwards before curving upward, while white-tailed gnu horns curve downwards before curving upwards towards the skull.
Wildebeests are even-toed ungulates and have spindle legs. They can run at a speed of 50mph.
Wildebeests have a wide row of incisors, and their maxillary teeth are used for age determination.
They can live up to 20 years in wild habitat.
Wildebeests prefer the bush savanna, grassland plains, woodland floodplains. They inhabit areas that are neither too dry nor too wet.
It is widely present in Africa in both eastern and western and may range from Kenya, Swaziland, Tanzania, Angola, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Botswana.
Wildebeest are herbivores and driven by their appetites and as they are continually moving in search of food. Their main diet may include,
Soon after sunrise, they start grazing and graze and feed till sunset. They only rest at midday when the air is hot. They graze in zebra herds, preventing danger and sudden attacks from predators.
The most common wildebeest predators are,
Wildebeests are territorial animals and mark their territories by urinating, defecating, and spreading secretions in particular areas. They mate in groups. The mating season is called a rut. May and July are the mating months. The gestation period is 8.5 months. At the start of the wet season, between January and March, the calf is produced.
Blue wildebeest hunting is also known as Poor Man’s Cape Buffalo hunting. The main focus should be on the gun scope, which can survive the recoil. The good gun scope of 2 – 12 X 50 is sufficient. The good position while shooting a wildebeest is a side-on shot. Place the shot at about 4 inches while keeping the edge of your front leg up. Offside is the safer side to approach the downed wildebeest.
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