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Tall, dun-coloured, with 4-12 pale stripes. Spiral horns reach record length of 181cm (along curve) in males. Both sexes have crest and mane. Males have a tessellated neck. Females normally hornless. Both sexes have very large, rounded ears. All living forms are substantially smaller than pleistocene greater kudus. Subspecies: T. s. strepsiceros (S and E Africa), T. s. chora (NE Africa), T. s. cottoni (Chad to W Sudan).
Originally throughout the drier areas of E and S Africa, wherever thickets and dense woodlands provide browse and shelter. Now increasingly restricted to stony, hilly country; thickets and evergreen forests along watercourses and on cloudy heights provide dry-season refuges. In wet season disperses through deciduous woodlands and may emerge at night to graze off herbs and grass on open Acacia/Commiphora pans.
Size: HB 185-235cm (female), 195-245cm (male). T 30-55cm. SH 100-140cm (female), 122-150cm (male). W 120-215kg (female); 190-315kg (male). Food: Very wide range of foliage, herbs, vines, flowers, fruits, succulents and grass. There are striking seasonal changes in diet, with choices much more restricted in the dry season, though the slow leaf-fall of bush willows (Combetrum) provides browse during this time. Behaviour: Wide dispersion during rains tends to separate sexes, but mating peak during the dry season draws animals back to the core of their range in valley thickets. Groups of 2-25 typically include several adult females with offspring of both sexes. Adults utter very loud and startling barks; males grunt when fighting or during confrontations; a hooting bleat signifies distress. Gestation lasts 9 months; the young lies up about 3 weeks and is weaned and fairly independent by 6 months. Greater Kudus have lived for 23 years in captivity