Bushbuck - The Fighting Antelope

BushbuckThe Bushbuck (Tragelaphus scriptus) is a very unusual specimen of the antelope family. It has several distinguishing characteristics that make it stand out from the herd, so to speak. An unusual coat, feisty temper and odd gait are amongst the traits that make the Bushbuck such a fascinating creature.

Instead of living on open grasslands and savannas, as many of its cousins do, the Bushbuck is a forest-dwelling antelope. It makes its home in a wide array of forest types. Rainforests, savanna-forest mosaics, light woodlands, and savanna bush forests are amongst its favorite habitats. It is also widely dispersed, and can be found across many parts of Africa, including Senegal, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Angola and Sahel and down to the Cape of South Africa.

Because the Bushbuck is a forest-dwelling antelope, it is a browser, not a grazer. While grass certainly isn't off the menu, the Bushbuck's main diet consists of buds, shrubs and herbs, with the occassional snack of fruits, tubers and flowers thrown into the mix as well. It tends to be active more at night than during the day, especially if its forest home has humans living nearby, in which case the entire Bushbuck population of that region may be entirely nocturnal.

In appearance, the Bushbuck displays a unique and beautiful coat.
The color of the coat can vary from red-brown, dark olive to almost black, depending on the habitat of that particular Bushbuck. Most Bushbucks also sport unusual white striping and splotching on their sides, as well as white patches on legs, ears, throat and tail. These white splotches and stripes help individual members identify one another and also act as a warning signal when danger is near. The white markings on some populations is more pronounced than on others, depending on genetics and habitat.

The Bushbuck is a medium sized antelope, growing to be between 80-90 centimeters at the shoulder and weighing anywhere from between 45 and 80 kilograms, with males being generally larger. The males grow spiraled horns that can be up to 55 centimeters long. Overall, the Bushbuck ranges from 110-150 centimeters in length, and is sometimes considered one of the more dangerous mid-sized antelope. Wounded Bushbucks have been known to charge and attack hunters or other predators. Natural predators include the leopard, hyena, wild dogs, crocodiles and the occasional lion.

The Bushbuck is a fascinating creature that merits more study and interest, despite being so widespread and relatively common. Their beautiful appearance, feisty nature and adaptability make it one of the most unique antelopes found in Africa.

Picture of the bushbuck by Hans Hillewaert, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Keywords: horn

The Bushbuck is listed as Least Concern (LR/lc), lowest risk. Does not qualify for a more at risk category. Widespread and abundant taxa are included in this category, on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species

Some facts about the

Adult weight : 60 kg (132 lbs)

Maximum longevity : 15 years

Female maturity :496 days

Gestation : 188 days

Litter size : 1

Litters per year : 2

Weight at birth : 3.8 kg (8.36 lbs)

Source: AnAge, licensed under CC

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