Do you ever wonder what wildebeest eat to make them live in the wild? What makes them run fast and become the beast antelope of the wild?
Well, here is where you’ll get the answers. We’ll talk about what do wildebeest eat.
Many know wildebeests to have one of the biggest wildlife migration events in the world. They need the power to run and survive many things besides migration.
So, let’s start. We’ll begin with the food that these animals eat.
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What do Wildebeest Eat in the Wild?
Being a unique type of antelopes, expect them to be herbivores. These animals have different ways of eating. Read on to see these styles and the foods they eat.
Wildebeests are always looking for food. So, expect them to be active all day and night. If they aren’t looking for water to drink or grass to eat, they’ll be resting.
But they never eat the red oat grass. Well, it’s because these animals prefer taking shorter grass instead of these long ones.
Remember, these animals are whole herbivores. They like to eat every time rather than take large amounts of meals.
When it’s not the rainy season in the plains, it’s when they move to the savannahs. They go to this place in search of fresh grass and water. It helps them survive.
Also, they prefer to stay close to the water areas. This move allows them to have a schedule for drinking water twice a day.
But they can only stay for a few days without taking water. So, it makes them fear drought seasons. Since they love water, they depend on the rains for water and fresh greens to eat.
These animals give birth to their claves during wet seasons. It’s to allow the young ones to get much fresh green grass and water.
Remember, the calves start eating when they get ten days old. They learn these eating habits from their mothers. But they’ll still keep suckling up until when they are six months old.
The Foods Wildebeests Eat
These animals have a simple diet. The food they eat is always available in the wild. What matters is the weather condition. So, here are the foods that wildebeests eat in the wild.
- Wildebeest love eating a lot of grass. Well, it’s because they are herbivores. Their wide mouth allows them to eat large amounts of grass in the wild.
- They eat sweet and stocky grasses. It gives their bodies proteins, sugars, and fats. They can get these elements through a bacterium in their stomach.
- The sugars and proteins help them get the energy to run fast. Proteins also help females to make milk for their young ones.
- Also, proteins from grass help repair their body parts. So, in case of injuries, it helps them heal fast.
- Fats and oil from some of the grass help wildebeests get the energy to run. It also makes them more fertile.
- Also, grass gives wildebeest minerals. They get calcium, sodium, Sulphur, among others. These things help their teeth and bones be strong.
- Grass gives wildebeest fiber. It’s what helps them have a strong rumen.
- This stomach allows them to keep good levels of fiber in the body. Remember, too much fiber isn’t good, and less of it can also be bad.
- When grass is hard to get during the dry seasons, wildebeests eat leaves and herbs. These foods help the bodies of these animals to work well.
- Herbs also help wildebeest reduce problems of inflammation. So, it’s what makes them have less pain in their bodies.
- Wildebeest drink a lot of water. It’s something that keeps them going. Also, water helps them have proper digestion.
Facts about Wildebeest
Wildebeests don’t have quite a different life compared to the other normal antelopes. It’s only that with them, they are always in search of fresh food.
Besides their unique eating behavior, wildebeests also have other habits in the wild. It won’t be hard to identify a wildebeest. But what can let you know?
So, here are some ten facts about wildebeests. We’ll start with facts about their biology.
The body and looks of wildebeests allow them to live in both plains and the savannahs. So, below are more interesting facts about their biology.
You can also call them gnus. They are large antelopes that mainly live in Africa.
They look like cattle, sheep, or even goats. But with them, they are thin, muscular with large backs that look like slop. Their tails are always 40 to 50 cm long.
These animals have horns that form a curve. Also, on their bodies, you’ll see more curves. They also have bushy beards and manes.
There are two species of these animals. They include the black and blue wildebeests.
A mature blue wildebeest can weigh from 118 to 270 kilos. They are also about 123 cm long.
The black wildebeest now has a whitetail. It weighs from 110 to 157 kilos and is up to 121 cm long.
Remember, both males and female gnus have horns. The difference is that the males are bigger and have a bigger forequarter compared to the back ones.
Also, the males have a shaggy mane and tail. Their muzzles are also bigger than that of the females.
A male wildebeest matures between 3 to 4 years old. The females mature between 2 to 3 years old. They can live for even up to 20 years.
Remember, females can only start reproducing at 16 months. The males become fertile at two years old.
The general name for their young ones is a calf. But the male is called a buck while the female is called a doe.
These animals have interesting habits. Remember, most of the things they do target to see that they get more fresh food and water in all seasons. Below are the practices of the wildebeests.
Wildebeests like to live in plains, grasslands, and savannahs. It will depend on which part has the rainy season. Well, it’s for them to get more grass and water for their diet.
While in these places, gnus love to move in large herds. Some will stay in one place, while others will always look for food like nomads.
The animals have the largest animal migration. It happens across the Kenya Masai Mara as they move to Serengeti plains in Tanzania in search of fresh food.
During this migration, these animals have to cross two wide rivers. A good number of these animals die in this event.
Some of them lose their lives to crocodiles in the rivers. This act happens to the weak ones. On the other hand, some die because of injuries coming from the migration across the river.
As they migrate, they move in their large herds to keep them safe. So, no predators like lions or crocodiles will dare pounce on them.
These wild animals are very active in the morning and rest more in the afternoon and night. Well, the rest comes because of the heat that comes in the afternoon.
Remember, while they are active, they make a lot of noise. They can make sounds like grunts, moans, and snorts.
It’s a way they speak to one another. But they also talk through smell and sight.
If the sounds tell them that there’s some danger around, they’ll stamp and come together. After that, they’ll start to run in large herds. They go at a speed of even up to 80 km per hour.
Remember, these defense herds are robust. A pack can have 500 gnus. The stampede in these herds can even kill the predator.
Also, when the males mature, they form bachelor herds. Well, it’s to attract many more females to their circles.
While in these bachelor groups, they set up territories using their feces and the things they secrete from their face. It also helps them defend themselves from other males.
They can give birth to up to 500 000 young ones in their herds. It happens in February and March. Remember, it’s during the onset of long rains in their areas.
Female antelopes give birth to the young ones in the middle of the herd. This act makes them unique from other antelopes that allow females to hide while giving birth.
The calves can stand and even run for minutes right after birth. But to survive, they must stay with their mothers. It keeps them safe from other predators.
In the next breeding season, the young females will remain with their mothers. The males will go to the bachelor herds.
Wildebeests are animals that value being social. They like eating every grass and drinking water every time. So, don’t expect them to take large amounts of food.
They are strict herbivores. Even when the fresh grass goes away during the dry season, they won’t eat any meat. These animals can also eat shrubs and leaves.
Also, expect to see wildebeest survive more in their large herds. It’s one of their biggest ways to keep them secure from predators. These herds cause a stampede that can even kill predators.
So, what more can you say about how the wildebeest eat? Do their habits seem fun or scare you? Would you please share your insights with us?