Sitatunga: life in the swamps and its consequences (10 photos + 1 video)

Category: Animals, PEGI 0+
8 November 2023

It seems that only frogs feel at ease in swampy areas. Well, maybe the Hound of the Baskervilles. But for other warm-blooded animals it’s uncomfortable, dirty and damp.

But the representatives of the bovid family inhabiting the Dark Continent had to make this choice themselves. The lesser of two evils.

Sitatunga is a cloven-hoofed antelope. At the withers the animals reach 125 centimeters. And the weight varies from 40 to 120 kg. Chocolate and gray males are much larger than females, which are characterized by a reddish-red color. Mature males grow a mane with age and have horns that can grow up to a meter in length.

There is no season of love and, accordingly, reproduction as such in the herd. Mating occurs without reference to the time of year. Pairs are formed for 2-3 days. After which the male goes to conquer new beauties, and the female bears the baby. There is usually only one calf; cases of twins being born are very rare. Until the onset of puberty (one year in females, six months later in males), the young live with the maternal group. And then he goes on a free voyage.

To the question about him. Why did these cute creatures choose to live in a strange habitat - a swampy area? Sitatunga not only wanders through the water in search of food, but can also lie calmly in it. To do this, the animal independently prepares a kind of pillow-bedding from grass. And, having compacted them well with his hooves, he makes himself comfortable and methodically chews the grass.

If in water the sitatunga feels almost like a fish, then on land it moves rather clumsily, slowly and warns its relatives of danger - crocodiles, lions and leopards with a sharp, abrupt bark, reminiscent of a dog.

The animals are very secretive, slow and try not to attract unnecessary attention to themselves. A specific semi-aquatic lifestyle was forced by evolution. The fact is that during its course, aquatic antelopes acquired a special water-repellent coat that prevents hypothermia, and grew elongated splayed hooves, capable of moving apart by 15-18 centimeters, on which it is convenient to move through a viscous substance such as silt or mud.

Animals are skilled swimmers. And combined with secrecy, they have learned to skillfully hide from natural predators, who are not too keen on endlessly chasing prey in the water when there is another one in the area.

But fitness has a second side to the coin. In the water element, antelopes become easy prey for people who set traps for the animals or drive the prey to great depths in boats and then spear them.

The species needs protection, since the total population currently does not exceed 150 thousand individuals.

1 comment
9 November 2023
881 comment
Як точно описане життя лаптєрогих тварюк на болотах.
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