A unique antelope species


The nyala is one of the many antelope species we find here at Arathusa. It is found in thicketed areas where it is known to feed mainly on leaves, but has been found to eat grass too.

The nyala is also a very unique species with regards to its extreme sexual dimorphism (i.e. the differences between males and females). The male is dark brown in colour while the female is a bright orange colour. Males are born the same colour as females, but as they mature they will gradually change from orange to a dark brown.

In the larger antelope species, the male is known as a bull and the female is known as a cow. With smaller antelope, the male is known as a ram and the female is known as a ewe. The nyala is used as a marker to distinguish between the names given to the males and females of other antelope species. This is because of the drastic difference in size between the male and female nyala. The male nyala is classified as a bull, while the female is classified as a ewe. Any male antelope smaller than the nyala bull is classified as a ram, and any female antelope bigger than the nyala female is classified as a cow.


The species is also unique in the way males compete for females. The males will display what is called a lateral display. This is when the fringe fur on the backs and bellies of the males will become rigid and stand up straight, giving them a bigger and bolder appearance. This display of size can settle a dominance dispute the majority of the time, but on rare occasions when two bull nyala are well matched, they will lock horns and fight for breeding and dominance rights. The displays are spectacular to see.

Best regards

Sean Gilbert

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