Today at Light Future Art, we’re going to share some interesting fun facts about the wildebeest, also known as the gnu!
1. Dutch colonists named the wildebeest. I don’t believe it will surprise anybody when I say that the name means “wild beast”. However, along with gnu, this animal is also referred to as the “poor man’s buffalo” or “fool of the veld”.
2. Wildebeest are the largest species of antelope. They can grow to be as large as eight feet from nose to tail and weigh over 600 pounds.
3. Wildebeest have a top speed of 50 miles per hour.
4. Every year, almost half a million wildebeest calves are born.
5. When a female wildebeest is giving birth, the rest of the herd surrounds her to protect the mother and her newborn calf. The calf is capable of walking after just 15 minutes.
6. Wildebeest all tend to give birth within the same two to three week period, just before the rainy season. This gives the babies enough time to learn to run so they can accompany the herd when they migrate.
7. Calves depend on their mothers’ milk to survive for the first four months of life. After 10 days, though, they begin to eat grass in addition to drinking milk.
8. Female wildebeest remain in the same herd for life, but male wildebeest leave their herd upon adulthood and join a different herd or form small bands of bachelors.
9. Out of all animals native to the savanna in Africa, the wildebeest is one of the few species that has actually grown in number since the 1960s.
10. While not all herds of wildebeest migrate, some take part in a mass migration every year in May and June, alongside zebras and gazelles, to follow the rain and abundance of food to graze from. This yearly migration covers nearly 1,000 miles. The animals move the reverse journey in late fall.
11. There are two species of wildebeest: the blue wildebeest and the black wildebeest. The blue wildebeest is the most common and is a bluish-grey color. The black wildebeest may look black from a distance but is actually dark brown in color. The black wildebeest does not migrate.
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