Blue Wildebeest Facts
|Size||Up to 5 ft (1.5 m) (shoulder height)|
|Speed||43-50 mph (70-80 km/h)|
|Weight||264-595 lb (120-270 kg)|
|Predators||Lions, cheetahs, crocodiles|
|Habitat||South and East Africa|
|Scientific name||Connochaetes taurinus|
|Characteristics||Horns like cattle, stripes on their neck|
When thinking of antelopes, you probably have small and graceful animals in mind – such as the ultra-fast Thomson’s gazelle. But the tall and strong wildebeests belong to the antelope family. The best-known is the blue wildebeest, which is described below.
Anatomy and Appearance
The blue wildebeest has got vertical stripes on its coat from the neck down the shoulder to its back.
Female and male gnus both have horns. The longest horn ever found measured 32.6 inch (83 cm).
Males and Female
There are enormous differences between males and females in many animal species. Often the male is taller and more colorful, but sometimes it is also the other way round. Gnus are different: You can hardly detect any difference between them, males and females are almost equally sized and both have horns. But there is a trick that helps to distinguish the animals: The forehead of the male is usually black, while the female’s forehead is rust-colored.
Gnus only eat fresh grass. Therefore they always move to areas where it has rained recently, so that there is enough delicious and fresh grass waiting for them.
They Live in Large Herds
Blue Wildebeests form large herds of several thousand to hundred thousand animals. Living in the community increases their chances to survive. For instance when they are trying to cross a river populated by crocodiles. The more animals are crossing the river together, the more difficult it becomes for the crocodiles to clearly perceive one single gnu in order to snap at it.
Senses and Abilities
Sense of Smell
Blue wildebeests have a very good sense of smell. They are a bit like frogs. They can detect thundery showers at distances of many miles. They can perceive them with their delicate sense of smell – or with their ears. They probably also use cloud formations for orientation, because storm clouds can be seen at large distances.
The Cheetah Is Wildebeest To: