Kudus to You

It’s Mammaltastic around Lifeintrigued these days.  Unlike the last two, this particular animal may not be familiar to you.  I say that because it was definitely not something I could name off the top of my head and confirmation why I need to get these shoots posted sooner.  After a year and half I had completely purged my brain of what this antlered thingy was.  That means hours of surfing the internet trying to find a similar image or at least a lead on what family it belonged to.  I recommend not starting out your search with “Horny Mammals”.  You just might blush at the results…or at least give you a chuckle.  A few refined searches narrowed it down a bit but having only the head and a little bit of torso really doesn’t give much to go on.  Eventually I came across this very helpful website called Buzzle (link here).  To be honest, that site has a wide variety of topics – seems to be an answer-all for any of your questions.  My question – “what animals roam around Africa?”  Sure enough, they had a very nice list with … wait for it … PICTURES.  At least now I could narrow it down. At first it looked like it was a Waterbuck but they lacked the hair down the spine and under the neck and chin – would have been tougher to think up a clever title for that one anyway.

About half way down there it was!

Want to take a guess as to what it is?   If you said Antelope I’ll give you an ‘A’ for effort.  It is actually one of the largest in the Antelope family.  This species is called the Greater Kudu.  Once again, The Beast was bringing the animal front and center causing me to work to get the composition the way I wanted it.  The most interesting aspect of this animal is the unique antler formation and therefore wanted to make sure that was captured in the shot, but leaving enough of the body so it didn’t look like a trophy room mount.  It took me awhile, but I think I pulled it off.  Thanks to the large aperture the background was thrown somewhat out of focus (could have blurred that out a little more in the digital darkroom, but decided it wasn’t worth the risk of screwing up the sharpness of the Kudu.

How about some facts.  This particular specimen is older than 6.  How do I know this?  Turns  out (ha pun) the Kudu does not develop its full two and a half twists in the antlers until at least that age.  Wikipedia also points out they get their first twist around two.  That must help on the dating front – my generation had to use the smallpox vaccination scar to get a rough idea of someone’s age (note, the US stopped giving that in the ’72 time frame having eradicated the disease).  Oh, and I know it is a male since the females are hornless.

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