- The Animal Encyclopedia for Kids


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)
Lifespan 15-20 years
Food Grass
Predators Lions, cheetahs, crocodiles
Habitat South and East Africa
Order Even-toed ungulates
Family Bovids
Scientific name Connochaetes taurinus
Characteristics Horns like cattle, stripes on their neck

Main Characteristics

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.

Physical Description

The Blue Wildebeest Has Distinctive Stripes

The blue wildebeest has got vertical stripes on its coat from the neck down the shoulder to its back.

How Long Are Blue Wildebeests Horns?

Female and male gnus both have horns. The longest horn ever found measured 32.6 inch (83 cm).

Males and Female Blue Wildebeests Look the Same

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.

Blue Wildebeest Blue Wildebeest - Photo: EcoPrint/Shutterstock


Blue Wildebeests 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.

What Do Blue Wildebeests Eat?

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.

Blue Wildebeest Blue Wildebeest - Photo: Sergey Uryadnikov/Shutterstock

Senses and Abilities

Blue Wildebeests Have a Very Good Sense of Smell

Gnus 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.

Blue Wildebeest Blue Wildebeest - Photo: EcoPrint/Shutterstock

The Cheetah Is Wildebeest To:

  • Hartebeest
  • Bonteboks

Animals in the Same Biome:

Blue Wildebeest Blue Wildebeest - Photo: AndreAnita/Shutterstock


Pupils are welcome to use this information at school for animal profiles, fact sheets, essays, work sheets, presentations, posters or homework. All information appearing on this site has been precisely and thoroughly researched, nevertheless should you notice any errors, please do notify us via email.

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