Red hartebeest.. Closely related to the Tsessebe

Red hartebeest (Alcelaphus buselaphus caama)

This antelope I photographed in the Kalagadi Gemsbok Park, but they are also in the Rietvlei Nature reserve a few Kilometres away from us… they are a Southern African animal and belong to a fairly large family of ungulates.

The breed once a year, with an eight month gestation period, dropping their young in early Spring. The calves are fairly weak at birth and are hidden during the day by their mothers. Once able to run with the herd they are brought into the family giving them a better chance of survival.. Although predators do capture hartebeest, they do not make up a primary source of food for any of them.. Lion may capture full grown males, Cheetah, hyena and leopard will rather go for the young…

Hartebeests have an excellent sense of hearing and smell, although their sense of sight is poor. When alarmed, hartebeests elude confusion before running, reaching a maximum speed of 55 km/hr. Their evasion tactic is to run in a zigzag pattern, making it difficult for predators to catch them.

The average weight of a male is about 150 kg, and female is 120 kg. Their average shoulder height is 135 cm, and horns are 60 cm long. Very difficult to tell the difference between males and females.. the males have a slightly bigger head size.. much like the human race… it’s for bumping heads when fighting over females..

These were drinking from a small hole in the ground which one of the animals had dug… not necessarily the hartebeest…

Kalagadi 1065

Kalagadi 1074

Kalagadi 1073

Kalagadi 1072

Kalagadi 1069

Kalagadi 1060