‘Twisting-horned billy-goat deer’

Greater Kudu (Tragelaphus strepsiceros) are dramatically handsome antelopes. Their scientific name means “twisting-horned billy-goat deer”, my title for this posting. Bulls weigh 190–315 kg (420–694 lb), and stand up to 160 cm (63 in) tall at the shoulder.

These two males (only the males have horns)  were part of a bachelor group of three.

Kudu. "The Grey Ghosts".

They were sparring to establish dominance before the upcoming mating season.

Kudu jousting

Occasionally their horns get locked together, in which case both may die. Luckily these two disentangled themselves just fine.

Meanwhile the third male was showing his strength by digging with his horns, as evidenced by the dirt and grass stuck on the ends and on his forehead:

Kudu. He has been diggin as a display of strength, note the grass on his horns.

 

The horns are not like antlers, they are not shed and regrown each season. They have a maximum of two and a half twists, and this last male is just about there, suggesting he is at least six years old. When the ends of the horns show white, they have stopped growing.

Kudu are called the Grey Ghosts, because they disappear so silently into their woodland habitat.

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