Visible Male/Female Differences
are taller than females, are more richly coloured, more distinctly marked and
Habitat and Distribution
Semi-arid bush savanna and open woodland. Independent of water but will drink if it is
available. Very widely translocated.
A selective grazer and browser. Selects specific species of plant and prefers leaves.
When no water is available they eat melons and dig for tubers for moisture.
Gestation is8 months. Calves begin grazing at 2 weeks and
are weaned at 7-8 months. Cows first calve
at three years and breed annually. Lifespan 15-16 years. A newborn calf lies
hidden in tall grass while its mother grazes; she returns at intervals to clean
and suckle it. Females leave the herd to give birth.
Behavior and Habits
Highly adapted to hot and dry conditions, they are most active in the early morning and late afternoon
and rest in shade in the summer and in
the open during winter. They will cover long distances to where rain has fallen. Their metabolic rate is low and
blood going to the brain is cooled by a unique heat exchange system with blood coming from the nasal
Small herds of up to 20 are formed. Mature bulls defend territories of 100-400 ha throughout the year and
control harem herds of females and juveniles of both sexes. Non-territorial males form
bachelor herds in unfavourable habitat but some adult males are solitary.
Territories are defended by with and horn
wrestling and both the antagonists go down onto their knees for better leverage. Fighters'
horns may jam together and skulls with interlocking horns are sometimes found. Territories are marked with
a gland from in front of the eyes and also by thrashing vegetation with the horns.
They defecate and
urinate in middens.
Red Hartebeest is one of Southern Africa's fastest antelope and can reach speeds of 70
that cannot keep up with a fleeing herd drop flat on the ground in an attempt to avoid
detection. . Often hunted by the larger carnivores
but its open habitat and speed make it difficult prey.
Dung and Field sign
Damaged vegetation from territorial bulls' horn thrashing. Dung middens. Horned up soil.
Dung pellets are 1,5 cm long, tapered at one end and blunt at the other.