The Waterbuck is a very beautiful antelope with a thick, brown furry coat, big doe eyes and a heart shaped nose. Although not very common we do have fairly regular sightings of them at Tanda Tula, here are some fun facts about these wonderful animals.
- Waterbuck are often found near a water source and will try and evade predators by rushing into the body of water for protection – hence the name and they are notoriously good swimmers.
- The long hair around the Waterbuck’s neck is in fact hollow which is perfect for adding buoyancy to this rather large antelope when it enters the water and making sure it keeps its head above water.
- Waterbuck have another special trick which helps them in the water, they are able to release an oil over their hair repelling water and keeping its coat dry.
- This oil has a really bad smell, so if the water does not keep the predators at bay the Waterbuck’s odor certainly should. In fact, it was believed for many years that because the smell was so bad that the meat also did not taste good, a perfect predator deterrent. However, the contrary has been proven many times over as there have been numerous sightings of lions, hyena and even leopard feasting on these hairy, smelly buck.
- Waterbuck are mostly silent animals, but occasionally will make an alarm snort to warn the herd or females may use communicative grunts with her calf.
- Generally, waterbuck are gregarious animals and form herds of up to 30 animals, the herds are either nursery herds, bachelor herds or territorial males.
- Waterbuck are sexually dimorphic which means the males and females look different, the males are defined by their beautiful, long rimmed horns which can reach up to 90cm!
- Waterbuck have an easily identifiable “follow-me” sign which is a perfect white circle around their rump. This mark has often led to the fable that when Noah built his ark the waterbuck were the first animals to arrive and use the loo, obviously the seat was still wet with white paint and so has marked them for eternity!