Waterbuck inhabit areas that are close to water in savanna grasslands, gallery forests and riverine woodlands south of the Sahara in southern & eastern Africa (including countries such as Botswana, Kenya, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Nambia and South Africa). Such habitats not only provide sustenance but long grasses and watery places in which to hide from predators.
The Waterbuck has a shaggy brown grey coat with a conspicuous white ring encircling the dark rump. Waterbuck have large, rounded ears and white patches above the eyes, around the nose and mouth, and on the throat. The head-and-body length is typically between 177–235 cm and the average height is between 120 and 136 cm. Only the males have horns, which are prominently ringed and as long as 100cm. The horns are widely spaced and curve back and up.
- Did you know? The meat of older waterbuck takes on an unpleasant odour from the waterproofing secretions of its sweat glands, prompting predators to choose other prey.
- The male Waterbuck will use their horns for fighting to defend their territory. They do not have to "mark" their territories, as they can smell one another from great distances.
- The Waterbuck is a relative to the antelope.
- It is a social animal and lives in a herd of between 5 to 30 individuals which is led by an old bull. The males often form a separate independent group of about the same size
- Diet: grasses, reeds & leaves.
- Reproduction: Females reach sexual maturity at approximately 12 months of age, while males at 16 months. After being impregnated a female will give birth to a single baby which will be weaned off her milk at 8 months of age.
- Gestation: 280 days.
- Females will mate again within weeks of having a baby.
- The female signals the young child to follow her by raising her tail.
- Predators: Hyenas, Lions, Leopards, African Wild Dogs, Cheetahs & Crocodiles.
- Lifespan: up to 18 years.