Greater kudu, Tragelaphus strepsiceros

Following on yesterdays post (one that was done for a quick post) I hope to enlighten you a bit more, with photos I’ve taken over time…

The Kudu bull is a solitary animal and only usually joins a herd for breeding.. their fights for the right to breed are normally just a show of size and hair raising, but if they do, it is a clash of horns. This clash has been the demise of some as when those twisted horns interlock there is not always a way out. At Skukuza camp in the Kruger National Park there is a bronze life size depiction of such an encounter.

Kruger National Park - March 2009Statue of kudu bulls with horns interlocked, Skukuza

These magnificent antelope can so easily blend into their surrounds, which is acacia bush or densely forested areas.. they are not often seen in the open savannahs of Africa, this is to avoid the predators.. but as they are browsers, eat leaves, they will be found in the shrubbery of their choice… How’s this for camouflage..????

game res 18-07-2011 075

There are two females eating in there…..

game res 18-07-2011 073

The males are much bigger than the females.. and more vocal..using low grunts, clucks, humming, and gasping.

Males weigh 190–270 kg (420–600 lb.), with a maximum of 315 kg (690 lb.), and stand up to 160 cm (63 in) tall at the shoulder. Females weigh 120–210 kg (260–460 lb.) and stand as little as 100 cm (39 in) tall at the shoulder; they are hornless, without a beard or nose markings (don’t have to shave).


Thur 28-07-2011 074

The following two photos I took very quickly.. older males that don’t stand around to see what the Bulldog is going to do next.. so these were LUCKY captures and are not quite as sharp as I would have liked.. but that is the result of us surprising each other…

tue 19-07-2011 149


The above photo I had actually stopped to light a cigarette when I spotted him before he spotted me.. he was walking towards me and I squatted down and sat still, there is no zoom here and he almost walked right into me before he turned and ran.. the camera probably frightened him when the shutter sounded.. I must admit I nearly dirtied my pants with joy of this capture.. never been so close to one so big in the wild before, without it having been shot as a trophy.

And for the final photo… one I just love.. don’t ask me why.. I just do… it might just have something to do with the horns.. this is an old bull, one that has survived the twists and dangers of life in the Kruger National Park.. a magnificent pair of horns …their large horns with two and a half twists, which, if they were to be straightened, would reach an average length of 120 cm (47 in), with the record being 187.64 cm (73.87 in).

Fri 22-07-2011 005

49 thoughts on “Kudu..

  1. Seen this animal so many times on the Nature Channel … such a beautiful animal … exquisite. I bet it can be powerful in those legs. Fantastic shots you got here again. My pick must be the 3rd from the bottom or the last. Luck has a lot to do .. with photography and patience.

  2. I can’t believe you got that close to a male Kudu. they are magnificent creatures and we saw a few when we were in Botswana. Stunning photos

    • Thank you… one of the privileges of living where I have has gotten me many close encounters with many different animals… but this one was just special…

    • Thank you Maralee… I’m sure you know the feeling..when one captures something that actually takes your breath away.. it is such a rush and so difficult to explain.. but I’m sure we have all felt that moment of extreme excitement of capturing something special…

  3. Such a majestic creature! (Just to be clear, I’m referring to the one lighting the cig in the bushes.) No wonder the Kudu has that look of haughtiness about him. I’m sure he’s thinking, “Hey, you! This is clearly a ‘No Smoking’ zone!” 😉

    • I love this comment.. he is probably thinking “idiot, if you had of lit that a little earlier I wouldn’t have walked into you. You air polluter… ”
      and thank you for the majestic creature comment… you’ve made my day…

  4. Such a majestic creature … the antelope. These are beautiful images bulldog. That second to last one – wow! Soooo close ~ amazing. Sending love and hugs ~ oh, and want to go back to your lemon post as I’ve been playing around with that potion… really bitter with the peels – yes? xRL

    • It is very bitter with the peels and all… just make sure you dilute it enough not to do damage to your teeth enamel..
      That photo has a special place in my heart.. to get so close before being seen made me feel so special.. a close encounter of a wonderful type…

  5. These animals have really evolved to survive in this environment – the stripes on their sides for camouflage in the grasses and even the twisted horns that look like branches of the trees they browse. Amazing to get those photos! I find it such a tragedy when they get their horns tangled because both die. This sometimes happens with our North American deer and probably elk too.

    • Thank you .. yes a true tragic meeting of such magnificent antelope that can end their lives, either from starvation or being caught by one of the predators that comes across them…

  6. Amazing, great captures. Love the one where he nearly walked into you……how exciting. I had a similar experience with Bighorn Sheep at the Grand Canyon. I didn’t stop smiling for hours.

    It’s April in Colorado and we have Blizzard conditions. Oh, how I long for spring…..I should have stayed in Arizona longer….lol.

    • Yes.. after the capture of that photo, I ran back to the camp just to show Linda the photo.. felt like I had won the Lotto.. and felt that way for a few days… it just brings you so much closer to nature than you ever expected to get…

  7. “older males that don’t stand around to see what the Bulldog is going to do next”
    Of course they don’t!!! they know better than to mess with the Bulldog!!!”
    I got such a great big smile from this post thinking of your roaming the park and lighting cigarettes! And here I thought I was the last person
    on earth doing this!!!!!

    • Never fear .. there are still plenty of us out there keeping the farmers on the land… I did have a good smile at your comment.. these antelope are so shy that such captures are exciting to get…

  8. That sculpture is amazing. They certainly are masters of disguise, aren’t they? I can hardly see them in the bushes at all. The guy in your final photo looks so majestic. 🙂 I can understand why you love that one.

    • Thank you.. yes the last is just something else to which I just can’t put my finger on… the sculpture is one of the best I think I’ve personally seen…

      • You are very welcome bulldog and I truly do. You would be suprised how little people around here notice any beauty anymore. It’s actually sad. So yes, it’s great to see another fellow South African enjoying it as well. 🙂

  9. Spectacular animals; thanks fro bringing them into my writing room. As I look out over our grounds I will be very happy NOT to see any of nature’s creatures, because the only ones out there are woodchucks, chipmunks and rabbits. And my garden groans whenever one of those interlopers appears for a nibble or two.

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