Sitatunga

The sitatunga lives in swamps and marshy areas of Central Africa. It ranges from the forests of the Gambia to southern Ethiopia and then south to the Okovango Delta in Botswana. It is an excellent swimmer and often moves to deep water to avoid predators. It may submerge completely with just its nostrils emerging above the water, such as when seeking refuge from predators. In shallow water, the antelopes run in bounds, which would be ungainly and slow on land but is the most effective way of moving through, or rather over, water.

Male sitatungas are considerably larger than females. Only the males carry horns. Sitatungas are non-territorial and have only the most basic of social systems. Females form herds, which also contain the young of both sexes. As they approach maturity, males leave their mother’s herd and adopt a solitary lifestyle.

The sitatunga is a semi-aquatic antelope that spends a great deal of time wading through water. Its hooves are elongated and widely splayed, and, like snowshoes, do not sink into soft wet ground.

Breeding occurs all year around. A male approaches a female and chases her through the water before mating Females produce a single young each year. Young are born in the water and hidden on a dry platform of reeds often surrounded by deep water.

Distribution: Central Africa from Namibia and Botswana in the south to Gambia in the west and Ethiopia in the east. Habitat: Swamps and marshes.

Food: Water plants.

Size: 1.1 - 1.7 m (3.5 - 5.5 ft); 50 - 125 kg (110 - 275 lb).

Maturity: Between 1 and 2 years old. Males mature a few months later than the females.

Breeding: Young born throughout year after a gestation of 8 months.

Life span: 20 years.

Status: Lower risk.

Gallery of Sitatunga