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The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

Red Hartebeest

Afrikaans name: Rooihartbees

A Red Hartebeest looks back at the camera in Weenen Game Reserve

Red Hartebeest in Weenen Game Reserve

Photo © Steven Herbert

Alcelaphus caama

Interesting facts about Red Hartebeest

The Red Hartebeest is an attractively coloured antelope. Males are larger than females and can weigh up to 150 kg. Females tend to weigh around 120 kg. Both sexes have horns.

The horns of the Red Hartebeest are of an unusual shape. When looked at in side profile they go backwards, then forwards and then backwards again. From the front they have the shape of a heart (without the top bit!)

The Red Hartebeest apparently has poor eye sight and relies more on its hearing and sense of smell. When startled by a predator they run in a zigzag pattern. They can reach a speed of over 50 km per hour.

Side profile of a Red Hartebeest

Side profile showing the interesting shape of the horns

Photo © Steven Herbert

Their main food item is grass.

The Red Hartebeest is normally found in small herds in grasslands, savanna and other more open habitats.

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References and further reading

African Wildlife - A photographic safari - Author: Nigel and Wendy Dennis - Year Published: 1999 - Page: 60

An Introduction to the Larger Mammals of Southern Africa - Author: Joanna Dalton - Year Published: 1987 - Page: 207

Chris and Tilde Stuart's Field Guide to the Mammals of Southern Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Chris and Tilde Stuart - Year Published: 1988 - Page: 206

Field Guide to the Cradle of Humankind - Author: B. Hilton-Barber & Prof. L. R. Berger - Year Published: 2004 - Page: 163

Field Guide to the Larger Mammals of Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Chris and Tilde Stuart - Year Published: 1997 - Page: 148

Field Guide to the Mammals of Southern Africa - 3rd Edition - Author: Chris and Tilde Stuart - Year Published: 2001 - Page: 206

Land Mammals of Southern Africa - A field guide - Author: Reay HN Smithers - Year Published: 1986 - Page: 159

Mammals of Southern Africa - Author: Burger Cillier - Year Published: 1987 - Page: 91

Mammals of the Kruger and other National Parks - Author: The National Parks Board - Year Published: 1980 - Page: 130

Reader's Digest Illustrated Guide to the Game Parks and Nature Reserves of Southern Africa - 2nd edi - Author: Editor - Alan Duggan - Year Published: 1991 - Page: 195

Reader's Digest Illustrated Guide to the Game Parks and Nature Reserves of Southern Africa - 2nd edi - Author: Editor - Alan Duggan - Year Published: 1991 - Page: 415

Signs of the Wild - 3rd Edition - Author: Clive Walker - Year Published: 1986 - Page: 195

Signs of the Wild - 5th Edition - Author: Clive Walker - Year Published: 1996 - Page: 180

Wildlife of Southern Africa - Author: Martin Withers and David Hosking - Year Published: 2011 - Page: 232

List of South African Mammals

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