The eland, which looks like a cow, is the world’s biggest antelope. It, on the other hand, has the stamina to keep trotting endlessly and can jump a 1.5 meter (4 foot) fence from a standstill. The horns of both men and females spiral closely, however female horns are longer and thinner. They are usually fawn or tawny in appearance, but as they age, they turn gray or bluish-gray; the eldest animals are virtually black. The male’s large dewlap, a loose flap of skin that hangs down from the neck, sprouts a tuft of black hair. A mat of hair develops longer and denser on the forehead of adult males as the animal ages. 

Let’s learn more together about the largest antelope in the world and what else makes the eland so special. 

Appearance

Males may reach 1,7 meters in height and weigh around 900 kg. Despite their bulk, eland are very nimble, and enormous bulls may quickly leap over ordinary fences. They have a pronounced dewlap and a small hump at the shoulders. The horns of both sexes are thick and slope rearward, reaching lengths of up to one meter.

Females, on the other hand, are substantially smaller, weighing around 450 kilos. On the males’ foreheads, a patch of black hair covers glandular skin. Fawn coats are found on both men and females. They also have small vertical white stripes on their sides that distinguish them from other eland species.

Diet

Elands are browsers who eat a broad variety of plant types. It can survive without open water for extended periods of time, but it must rely on the fruits of Tsamas and Gemsbok Cucumbers to supply its water needs.

Breeding

Despite the fact that the Eland has no set mating season, it has been observed in South Africa that there are peak months when substantially more calves are born than in other months. After a nine-month gestation period, a mother gives birth to a single calf. A few hours after birth, calves may run with the herd.

Behavior

One of the unique features of an Eland herd is the presence of a nursery for the calves. When the herd is endangered by predators, the huge males take the lead positions, protecting the calves and pregnant females behind the fortress of giant males.

Dominant bulls do not protect spatial regions because Eland herds travel widely in pursuit of suitable grass. During oestrus, however, bulls show territorial or possessive behavior toward cows. 

Habitat

Semi-deserts, grasslands, light savannah north of the Orange River, and light forest in KwaZulu-Natal are all preferred habitats. Elands are nocturnal animals, and the flora that collects moisture from the environment at night offers enough of fluid for his huge antelope, which lives in locations with little surface water.

Socialization 

Eland has a social behavior that is distinct from that of other antelopes. Older, dominant males tend to be solitary, whereas other adult males tend to congregate in small groups of three or four.

Adult females form significantly bigger groups, the size and composition of which varies from day to day. Hundreds of eland may congregate, and males may spend hours or even weeks with a female group before returning to their solitary status. 

Breeding

Eland cows reach reproductive maturity approximately three years after birth, when they are old enough to start breeding, and bulls reach reproductive maturity around four years. Elands give birth to a single calf following a nine-month gestation period, which corresponds with rainy seasons. The animal’s usual lifetime in the wild is 8 to 10 years.

How Fast Do They Move

The eland is not one of the savannah’s quickest creatures. Their peak speed is roughly 40 km/h, which isn’t bad given they share the same environment as predators like the cheetah, the world’s fastest four-legged mammal.

What the eland lacks in flying speed, it more than makes up for with a spectacular jump. When startled, the animal may jump up to three meters from a standing position. When you consider the size of the animal, it’s an incredible spring.

Fun Facts

The bulls test the ladies’ urine first, then hunt them down to see if they’re in estrus, so the fittest bulls have the best chance of finding a mate.

The eland is the most gentle of all African antelopes, and it has been successfully tamed. Its milk is appreciated for its nutritional value.

The source of an eland’s unique clicking sound, which can be heard from a mile away, is a cause of significant disagreement. Some say the sound is made by the eland’s legs, while others claim it is made by the eland’s spiral hooves.

— Bronwyn Reynolds, Fizzin