Lesser kudu

Common Name: Lesser kudu

Scientific Name: Tragelaphus imberbis

Lesser kudu have 10 to 14 vertical stripes down the sides of their bodies. They can have a different number of stripes on each side of their body.

Male and female lesser kudu look very different. Males are pale grey, and females are a bright reddish-brown. Both sexes have white stripes on their bodies. The young have the same colouring as the females.

Only the males have horns.

Fast Facts

  • Status

    Near Threatened

  • Size

    Head-body males: 163-178 cm; females: 140 cm; Shoulder height: males: 98-118cm; females: 103cm

  • Gestation

    7.8-8 months

  • Young


  • Life span

    8-10 years

Lesser Kudu
Lesser Kudu
Marwell Zoo Lesser Kudu
Zoo Photographer Credit Jason Brown Kudu Calf
Zoo Photographer Credit Jason Brown Kudu Calf
Zoo Photographer Credit Jason Brown Kudu Calf

In the wild

Lesser kudu mainly eat the leaves and shoots of trees and shrubs. They get most of the water they need from their food.

This species is found in the semi-arid lowlands of Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya and Tanzania. They favour areas with thick vegetation which provide them with shelter.

Female lesser kudu are able to breed from about 1.5 years of age. The females usually leave their group before they give birth. The mothers leave their calves hidden for the first few weeks of their lives, and only return to feed them. The calves are weaned at about 6 months of age.

About a third of lesser kudu are found in protected areas. However, this species faces threats from livestock farming and ranching because they are vulnerable to the infectious disease rinderpest, which can affect cattle.

Meet Marwell's Lesser kudu

Meet Marwell's Lesser kudu

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