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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It is audience participation time. Do you prefer the shot above which has a more classic look to it or is the shot below more appealing.
I’m kind of leaning to the latter since it has a little bit more character/uniqueness to it. It almost seems like it is smiling – pleased at the aroma the thorny branch is giving off. The antlers also interlace very nicely. Unlike the bear shots on the previous post these two were taken a little later in the day – a little less harsh.
I highly recommend checking out the shot they have on the Wikipedia page. The front on shot shows the excellent symmetry in these animals – the antlers literally follow the ear outline until the endpoint and then start their spiral upward. Unfortunately, this symmetry also makes it very attractive for hunters. The size of these beasts also force it to adopt a different survival plan. Unlike their speedy brothers, they have to rely on using brush and other obstacles to slow down their predators. They also prefer the cover of woods/brush where the standard Antelope prefer the wide open expanses to spot their enemy sooner and employ their rockets.
Continuing the debate on mammal head shots, here is another example. A few posts ago we received a vote for head with full legs. How about a head with just a hint of leg?
The problem I have with this one is it doesn’t really imply that the leg is owned by the head – especially since the tone is slightly browner. Almost leads one to believe there was a photobomb by some jealous deer. If this was worthy of being printed (and it is not) I would take the time to clone that leg out – pretty easy with the randomness of the grass but need to be sure and extend that shadow at a realistic angle. The detail in the face lines is pretty interesting, but again you can tell by the ear shadow this particular shot was taken during harsh light. To test your reading comprehension, how old do you think this particular subject is? … or are you here just for the “perty piccies”? Either way, we appreciate you dropping by!
That’s all folks. Hope you enjoyed this new animal to the blog. Stay tuned, plenty more coming your way.