Nyala

© Roger de la Harpe

Name

Nyala [Nyala angasii or Tragelaphus angasii]

Appearance

The handsome slate-brown shaggy coat is marked with white vertical stripes and spots on the flanks. Bulls appear more charcoal-grey in colour. The bulls have long inward curved horns (650 mm) and a white chevroned face. They have a ridge of long hairs along the underparts, from behind the chin to between the hind legs, they also have a mane of thick, black hair from the head along the spine to the rump. Bulls weigh 115 Kg and measures 1.05 m at shoulders. Cows are much smaller and do not have horns, and weigh 59 Kg and stand 900mm at shoulders. Cows are chestnut-coated with even more prominent white stripes on the flanks.

Diet

This antelope feeds by both grazing and browsing and will readily feed on leaves, fruit and flowers. This variety in their diet is one of the factors ensuring their successful survival.

Breeding

They breed throughout the year, but mating peaks in autumn and spring. Single calves are born after a gestation period of 220 days. Twins are not uncommon. Cows first conceive between 14 to 18 months. Average interval between births is 297 days. Mating opportunities for bulls are decided through dominance behaviour.
©Roger de la Harpe

Behaviour

An interesting fact is that the juvenile males look like females. It is thought that this camouflages the young males and protects them from the jealous eyes of the dominant bulls. The young males are therefore allowed to grow up peacefully under the protection of the herd.

Habitat

This rather large antelope inhabits dense woodlands and thickets along permanent water. It is very secretive and more easily seen at night. Nyala is non-territorial, but both sexes have overlapping home ranges. The home ranges of cows are twice the size than that of bulls.

Where they are found

As a result of translocation, Nyalas are found in a number of game reserves and private farms throughout South Africa. They are most numerous in the Kruger National Park.
©Roger de la Harpe

Vital Statistics


Latin Name
Tragelaphus Angasii

Weight (Female)
55 - 68 kg

Weight (Male)
92 - 126 kg

Gestation Period
8 months

No of Young
1 calf

Birth Weight
5 kg

Order
Artiodactyla

Family
Bovidae

Horns
64 cm (record - 84 cm)

Breeding
A single young is born anytime during the year (peaks in August - December), gestation period ± 7 months.

Spoor Description

The fore-feet of the males are relatively broader than those of the females. Adult males are also larger than females.
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