WATERBUCK FACT FILE

by Wildlife South Africa


WATERBUCK FACT FILE
Latin Name: Kobus ellipsiprymnus
Afrikaans: WATERBOK
 
Distribution in South Africa
 
Waterbuck in South Africa have always naturally occurred in the northern parts of the country (Limpopo) and in Mpumalanga, North West, KwaZulu–Natal and Eastern Cape. In these regions they can be found in private game reserves, farms, provincial parks and reserves as well as in National Parks like Kruger National Park, Mapungubwe National Park and Marakele National Park. They have also been reintroduced on many farms, game and nature reserves as well as in some parks and reserves throughout South Africa.
 
Habitat
 
Waterbuck prefer open dry country with savanna grassland, bushveld and even hilly areas as long as it is close to water, like rivers or dams. They are often found in reed beds near rivers and also on floodplains. They never live far from permanent water sources.
 

 
Habits
 
Waterbuck are herbivores and primarily grazers. They are gregarious and form herds of up to 20 or more animals. These herds are breeding or nursery herds and usually consist of a territorial dominant bull, cows and young calves. After about 1 year, young bulls are kicked out of the herd and they form bachelor herds with other bulls of varying ages.
 
Day or night
 
Waterbuck graze mainly during the day.
 
Difference between male and female
 
Bulls are larger and have horns, while cows do not have horns.
 
Mass
 
Male: 250 to 270 kilograms
Female: 210 to 240 kilograms
 
Reproduction and gestation period
 
Normally only one calf is born, mainly in summer after a gestation period of 280 days. The newly born calf is hidden in brush, in long grass or in undergrowth by the cow; and she brings the calf to join the herd after about 4 weeks.
 
 
Lifespan
 
12 to 15 years.
 
Diet / Food and water
 
Waterbuck are dependent on water and drink water daily. Therefore they do not usually live further than about 2 to 3 kilometers from permanent water. They usually graze on long grass from sweet to rough and like buffalo grass. They will wade into the water at times up to the shoulder while eating roots and water plants. They will browse on certain fruits and seeds and are fond of marula fruit in season.
 
Enemies
 
Lion, Leopard, Hyena, African Wild Dog, Crocodile, Humans.
 
Interesting Facts
 
The round white circle on its rump is a prominent feature. They also have very strong scent glands that produce a turpentine-like scent that can be smelled even by humans.