The Nyala

Latin Name: Tragelaphus Angasii

This native Southern African, spiral-horned antelope is known as the marker between antelope species.  In larger antelope species, the male is called a bull and female a cow, in smaller antelope species the male is a ram. The exception is the Nyala, due to their major size difference; the male is known as a bull and female a ewe.

The Nyala’s body length is 135–195 cm (53–77 in), and it weighs 55–140 kg (121–309 lb.) The male’s horns are typically 60–83 cm (24–33 in) long – the record is 84 cm – and yellow tipped.

Females and juvenile’s coats are rusty brown, but the males grow dark brown or slate grey as they age. Females and young males have ten or more white stripes on their sides.

The Nyala is mainly active in the cooler times of the day, early mornings and late afternoons. They tend to spend the rest of their day relaxing in the shade. They show no signs of territoriality, and individuals areas can overlap each other. Nyalas are typically shy but are becoming less so and even often move towards tourists.

Males and females reach sexual maturity at 18 and 11-12 months of age respectively, though they are socially immature until five years old.

Nyalas breed throughout the year but peaks in autumn and spring. They have a gestation period of ± 7 months. The female’s cycle is about 19 days long. Usually, only one calf is delivered from a single gestational period, yet twins are not uncommon. Males fight for dominance during mating and make a display by raising their white dorsal crests, lowering their horns and moving stiffly.

 

Written by: Tersha van Staden

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