Waterbucks are the biggest in their family. Placed under the genus Kobus, the Bovidae family, the large antelope is predominant in sub-Saharan Africa. Adult males weigh about 262kgs (578 pounds), while females weigh around 214kgs (about 472 pounds).

Male waterbucks have long, spiral hones that curve backwards and forward– it’s hard to miss them. Sometimes known as the aquatic antelope, the animal has many fascinating features to learn about. Here are some Waterbuck facts to get you started.

1. They Are Called Waterbucks Because of Their Water Affiliation

Waterbucks inhabit areas near water bodies. These can be savanna grasslands, gallery forests, or riverine woodlands. However, the difference between this species and other antelopes is its love for water.

They love water bodies as they can use them to escape from predators. Waterbucks are excellent swimmers. Enthusiasts narrate that these animals can swim across islands to escape danger or graze. Their predators include hyenas, African hunting dogs, cheetahs, and lions.

2. Waterbucks Have Unusual Rings around Their Butts

Over time, people have developed different theories about the white rings around Waterbucks’ butts. Some say they ignored the “wet paint” sign and sat down, only to wake up with the distinct circles on their behinds. However, the most logical one is that the ring is a “follow me” sign.

These species herd in groups, and one will likely see danger before others. The rings help them follow each other and flee if need be. For tourists, the rings can differentiate the species from others.

3. Only Male Waterbucks Have Horns

Apart from the rings surrounding the waterbucks’ butts, the species are famous for their horns. They are widely spaced, and they beautifully curve backwards then up. Waterbuck horns can grow up to 40 inches (100cm), which is seemingly unproprotional to the animal’s head.

Unfortunately, they can sometimes injure or kill each other using their horns. When two alphas fight over a territory or a mating partner, the results can be catastrophic. Waterbucks horns are their weapons.

4. Their Fur Emit a Pungent Smell

Talking of weapons, waterbucks have furs that release nasty-smelling odor. However, apart from using the pungent smell to locate their mating partners, the animals use it to repel other animals. Even though poaching is legal in most parts where these species inhabit, hunters still go after them for their meat.

A waterbuck’s meat is tasty. However, if the meat comes into contact with its fur, it becomes almost inedible. The stench produced is that bad.

5. They Usually Live in a Herd of 6-30 Animals

Waterbucks are mainly grazers –they feed on grasses and leaves. However, food is not always readily available, so they must move around often. They usually herd in a group of 6-30 animals. Each group has an alpha male that dictates much of the movements and protects the members from danger.

6. Waterbucks Are Polygamous Breeders

As aforementioned, the greasy, pungent-smelling substance released by Waterbucks fur is not only for protection but for mating, too. When ready for copulation, female waterbucks release the “greasy Kob” to alert the alpha male.

Waterbucks are polygamous breeders; males change their mating partners every breeding season. There is no specific time for mating for these species. It all depends on the regions they inhabit. For instance, those in the equatorial areas mate throughout the year.

7. There are 2 Waterbuck Varieties

Even though there are about 13 waterbuck subspecies, the common waterbuck (Kobus ellipsiprymnys ssp. Ellipsiprrymnus) and the defassa waterbuck (Kobus ellipsiprrymnys ssp. Defassa) are the only recognized waterbuck varieties.

Both survive in almost the same conditions, and in cases where their ranges overlap, they always readily interbreed. They have a lifespan of about 20 years.

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Animals & Plants,

Last Update: August 10, 2023