The Eland

The Eland

Facts about the eland.

The Eland

Introduction

Elands are the largest antelopes in Africa, standing nearly 2 m high at the shoulder, and a fully grown male may weigh over 700 kg. Both the males and females have tightly spiralled, deep ridged horns which can reach up to 1m in length, and males also have a larger dewlap under their thick neck. Elands are water independent, so can survive in semi-desert areas, but are equally at home in woodland and mountainous areas. They are browsers, and feed off leaves, using their horns to bring twigs and branches into reach. They also consume certain fruits, large bulbs and roots, and grass when it is green and tender.

Females live together in large herds up to 50, but in the Kalahari herd numbers can be over 500.   The herds often live along zebras or giraffe, which offer added warning against predators such as lions or spotted hyena. If there are calves in the herd, the adult females will join together and staunchly defend them from any predator. Older male elands tend to be solitary, and younger males will form small groups of 3 to 4.    Adult males make a loud 'clicking' noise when they walk to assert their dominance, and the noise can be heard over a mile away.