Lesser Kudu (Tragelaphus imberbis)
Lesser kudu are arguably the most striking species of antelope. This antelope has 11 to 14 white stripes running down its back sides standing out on a grayish-brown coat on males and a reddish-brown coat for females. Males are also adorned with impressive spiraled horns which will twist 2.5 times and can grow up to 3.5 feet (60 to 105 centimeters) long. Facial markings consist of black stripes running from each eye towards the nose, and a white stripe running from each eye to the center of the face. Legs are fawn colored, with white spots above the hooves. Two white spots adorn either side of the neck.
This pretty, dry-country antelope is similar in appearance to the greater kudu, but much smaller and more heavily striped (greater kudu have between six and ten stripes; lesser kudu have eleven to fourteen).
In safari in Uganda the Lesser kudu can be seen in Pian Upe Game Reserve and environs.
Lesser kudu reside in the arid and semi-arid areas of northeastern Africa, including parts of Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya, Sudan, Uganda (in Pian Upe) and Tanzania. Scrublands and woodlands make up the majority of this territory primarily avoiding open spaces and long grasses. This species has been documented at 5,700 feet (1740 meters) near Mount Kilimanjaro.
Interestingly, lesser kudu emit a bark vocalization when startled which warns others of potential predators. They are mostly nocturnal animals feeding primarily at dusk and dawn and eat a wide array of leaves, shrubs, twigs, grasses, herbs and roots. They will seek shelter and security in dense thickets by sunrise. This striking antelope inhabit traditionally dry area and have adapted to be independent of primary water sources, instead hydrating from the moisture collected in leaves.
Females form groups of two or three, but males generally remain solitary, occasionally forming small bachelor groups. Territorial behavior is nonexistent; no real hierarchical groups have been documented, and fighting only occurs rarely, usually around mating time.
A lesser kudu will live 10 to 15 years in the wild, and up to 20 years in human care.