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Eland - Characteristics

calf males five tail

The horns of eland are about 2 ft (0.6 m) long, with one or two tight spirals. Eland have five or six white stripes on their bodies and white markings on their legs as well. The young are reddish brown, while older males are a bluish gray. Other distinctive markings include a crest running along their spines, a tuft of hair on the tail (like a cow tail), and a large loose flap of skin below the neck (the dewlap). This adds to the eland's bulky appearance.

Eland are not fast runners, but they can trot at a speed of 13 mph (21 kph) for long periods and can easily jump over a 6 ft (2 m) fence. They are gregarious, living in loosely structured herds where bonding is only evident between mothers and their calves. The size of herds can be as large as 500 with subgroups made up of eland of the same gender and age. Their home range areas can encompass more than 150 sq mi (389 sq km) and they travel over greater distances throughout the year.

Female eland reach maturity at three years, males at four or five years. Males continue to grow even after maturity. Eland mate every other year. The gestation period lasts about nine months, resulting in a single calf. The newborn calf lies concealed in the grass or undergrowth for about a month and is visited for nursing by its mother twice a day. After this, the calf joins other young calves, forming a nursery group, watched over by female eland who protect the young from predators.

Eland - Adaptation [next]

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