Waterbuck

Pamushana | June 2019

Waterbuck in these parts tend to live in small herds of six to twelve, sometimes more, with one dominant male who defends the territory. We have a small herd of seven waterbuck which live around Sosigi Dam. Two females are pictured here in the early morning light, on the bank of the dam. Only the males have horns.

They are such beautiful antelope, and quite different looking from others. They are quite ‘fluffy’ with long brown-grey coats and white rings around their rump. The hair is hollow and allows for extra buoyancy when swimming, helping the waterbuck to keep their heads above water. Their colour blends in very well with their habitant, and to survive in the bush you need to have the right colours or you will end up being, breakfast, lunch or dinner for lions or hyenas!

Waterbuck are found not far from permanent water sources; they drink daily and feed on quality grass that grows along the water’s edges and flood plains. They are good swimmers and I’ve seen them escape in water to avoid predators. The white ring helps members of the herd to follow each other and stay together.

They have sweat glands which produces a pungent oil secretion – the smell of which helps them find one another, and the oiliness makes their coat waterproof. It is also a possibility that the oil may act as an insect repellent and minimise the number of ticks on a waterbuck.