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Wildebeest

CONNOCHAETES TAURINUS ALBOJUBATUS

Quick Facts

Scientific name: Connochaetes taurinus albojubatus
Class: Mammal
Length: Up to 8 feet (2.4 meters)
Shoulder height: 4 to 5 feet (1.2-1.5 meters)
Weight: up to 600 pounds (272 kilograms)
Life span: 20 years
Number of offspring: 1 at a time
Age of maturity: Males: 3-4 years; Females: 1.5-2.5 years
Conservation status: Stable

About

Home sweet home

Wildebeest live in Africa from southern Kenya and southern Angola to northern South Africa, and they prefer open grassy plains, usually near water.


Feeding the ‘beest

Grasses and succulents make up the majority of the wildebeest’s diet. They have two different diets at the zoo. In the winter, they eat high fiber pellets and alfalfa hay. In the summer, however, they transition to low fiber pellets and they simply eat the grasses on the African Journey’s savannah. They can also get salt licks and mineral blocks.


Bearded boys (and girls)

Wildebeest are grey-brown or silver and have brown or dark gray bands on their neck, shoulders, and forelimbs. A shaggy, white beard hangs from a black face and long, broad muzzle. Wildebeest also have black manes and tails. Like their fellow antelopes, both males and females have heavy, curved horns that angle up and in. Wildebeest are sometimes called “gnus” (pronounced “news”).


Lunchtime nappers

Wildebeest are active in early morning and late afternoon, wisely resting during the hottest part of the day. They have keen eyesight and run up to 50 miles per hour. Wildebeest are loud and social mammals. The dry season brings together tens of thousands of wildebeest. The herds migrate, following the rains that bring tender green grasses.


All bark and very little bite

Males use physical displays and loud calls to defend their territory, but they will rarely fight another wildebeest. However, wildebeest will fight if cornered by predators.


Right on schedule

All young are born two to three weeks before the rainy season. A single calf is born to each mother. The calf can stand within fifteen minutes of birth. Lions stalk the herds at calving time, preying on the weakest newborn calves.

Conservation

Learn more about our efforts, our conservation partners around the world, and the simple steps you can take to contribute.

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