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Ears our latest addition!

August 25, 2022

A sitatunga calf hiding amongst the thistles at Marwell Zoo

Banana-shaped hoofs, big floppy ears, fluffy coats, and doe eyes make our latest new arrival a very cute one.

Affectionately named ‘Thistle’ by keepers, the sex of the new sitatunga calf is not yet known. As it grows older will become apparent thanks to several distinct differences between the sexes.

Born on 29 July to mother Violet and father Tumnus, the calf is particularly fond of hiding amongst the thistles.

Females are smaller with chestnut-coloured coats and males have darker fur and spiralled horns that point backward making it easier for them to navigate through dense vegetation.

This is particularly important because, in the wild, sitatunga live in densely vegetated African swamps.

Naturally very quick and shy, these allusive creatures can be hard to find, blending into their surroundings and moving with stealth.

They have banana-shaped hooves with two elongated, widely splayed toes, allowing them to move almost silently through water and avoid sinking in boggy mud.

Sitatunga are great swimmers and can paddle several miles if they need to. They have water-repellent fur and have been known to completely submerge themselves to avoid predation in the wild.

Populations of sitatunga are decreasing in the wild and the species is listed as being of Least Concern on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species.

A sitatunga calf hiding amongst the thistles at Marwell Zoo

Date posted: 25/08/22