Waterbuck (binomial name Kobus ellipsiprymnus),is a large and long haired antelope found in the Western, Central, Eastern and South Africa. Despite the name waterbuck, it does not spend much time in water; however, it prefers to stay in areas around water as it is intolerant to dehydration. In addition, it also takes refugee in water to save itself from predators. The mammal possesses a shaggy and reddish brown coat that gets darker with age. The sweat glands of the waterbuck’s coat secrete an unpleasant smell that prompts the predator to choose another prey. It also helps it to stay in water for longer duration of time. It can also be recognized with the facial markings which consist of a white muzzle, lighter eyebrows and a cream color bib on the throat. The animal proudly stands in the least concern group by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources) list. Read on to know all interesting and amazing information about this animal.
Facts About Waterbuck
Species: K. ellipsiprymnus
Subspecies: K. e. ellipsiprymnus (Ellipsen Waterbuck) and K. e. defassa (Defassa Waterbuck)
Height: 100 cm to 130 cm
Weight: 160 kg to 240 kg
Life Span: up to 18 years in captivity
Diet: Grass and leaves from trees and shrubs
Range: Found in Western Africa, Central Africa, East Africa and Southern Africa.
Habitat: Savanna grasslands, riverine forests and woodlands. It prefers to live within 1 to 2 miles of water.
Age of Sexual Maturity: (Females) 12-14 months/ (males) 14-18 months
Gestation Period: 8.5 to 9 months
Number of Offspring: 1, rarely 2
Interesting & Amazing Information On Waterbuck
- The base of the tail of the waterbuck has a large white ‘halo’ or hollow ring making it stand distinguished amongst other mammals. In Defassa waterbuck, the area within the circle is covered with white hair making a leftover patch.
- Waterbuck is a very good swimmer and takes protection in water to save itself from the clutches of predators.
- The male waterbuck has sharp pointed horns that are curved backwards and upwards and are prominently ringed. It also becomes its distinguishing feature as females do not have horns.
- The waterbuck is a diurnal mammal i.e. it is most active in the morning followed by afternoon and evening. However, the mammal hardly moves more than half mile in a day.
- It is a social animal and lives in a herd of 5 to 30 which is led by an old bull. The males often form a separate independent group of about same size.
- The male waterbucks make territories at an age of around 6 to 7 years in an area of around 300 acres and become highly territorial defending themselves against mature rivals with posturing and fights. However, the territory is usually lost before they attain the age of ten.
- The female too is more attached to land and has a social structure of the individuals with overlapping home ranges.
- The female leaves the herd and move to the thick cover to give birth to the young one, where it remains hidden for three weeks and is nurtured by its mother.
- The female signals the young child to follow her by raising her tail.
- The young calf is nursed by its mother for about 6 to 8 months. While the female stays in its mother group after weaning, the male is wandered off to make all male groups.