These Nyalas are one of the beautiful and unusual antelopes of Southern Africa. These species are the main attraction in South African safari. You can spot this species in the wild hiding behind the dense brush, fringe forests, and riverside thickets as they are shy by nature. But nowadays they are less shy and can be seen by the tourists on the safari.
In 1849, the Nyala species (Tragelaphus angasii) were first discovered by George French Angas. George French Angas named this species angasii after his father, George Fife Angas, as a tribute to him.
To experience these beautiful groups of Nyalas personally, you need to visit the Nyala farms or the African safari at Kruger National Park in Mpumalanga, Pilanesberg National Park, the Tembe Elephant Park in KwaZulu-Natal, the Limpopo reserves, which is three hours from Pretoria. But in the meantime, read all about them below!
The Nyala is a kind of antelope between a bushbuck and a kudu. After the Kudus, the Nyalas are the second taxon to the spiral-horned antelopes (tribe Tragelaphini, family Bovidae). The Nyalas are middle-sized antelope with spiral-horned with a yellow tip and have iconic white vertical stripes and spots on their body that get hidden under the long hair.
These Nyala antelope species belong to the Animalia kingdom of the family Bovidae and genus Nyala. They also belong to the class Mammalia and genus Tragelaphus.
The recent study estimates that there are at least 36,500 Nyalas in South Africa. The population of Nyala is stable, and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has listed it as Least Concern.
The Nyala is mainly found in the dense woodlands, dry savannas of Southern Africa, and near to a water source. The Nyala's home ranges include Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland, Zambia, Malawi, South Africa, and Zimbabwe.
You may find these Nyala groups near the bushes in the dry savannas, dense woodlands, and thickets of Southern Africa. The Nyala inhabits areas are close to grasslands and near to a water source. These Nyalas species are limited to geographic range and are specialized for mountain habitats between 3,000-4,500 m.
Male Nyala like to live a solitary life as they are not social, they form small individuals, which are temporary, but the female and the calf Nyala like to live a social life in groups of 2-30 herds throughout their lives. Monkeys are Nyala's best friends and have a special bonding with each other.
Nyalas have a life expectancy of about 19 years. Nyalas are strong animals. However, the Nyalas can also suffer from various diseases, and one of the primary diseases is myopathy; the symptoms are failure to suckle in newborns, inability to rise, and stiffness.
The Nyala species is a prime example of sexual dimorphism. The Nyala happens to breed throughout the year, but the mating period peaks during spring and autumn. The males reach sexual maturity at the age of 18 months, but the young males are immature until the age of five, and the female reaches the maturity at 11-12 months. The female's estrus cycle lasts for 19 days. During this cycle, the males mate with the female—the males when they enter the female's herd, display this by moving stiffly, raising his white dorsal crest, and lowering his horns. The Nyala female may conceive when they reach 14 months. A single 11 lb (5 kg) calf is born after a gestation period of 220 days. The mother feeds the calf with her milk. The calf stays with the mother until the other calf is born.
The Nyalas' population is stable, and it has been listed as Least Concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and CITES. The main threats to the species are cattle grazing, poaching, and habitat loss resulting from human settlement. Currently, 80% of the Nyalas are protected by sanctuaries and national parks.
The Nyala bulls are larger than the females. Both males and females have vertical white stripes on their bodies. Only the males have horns. These African Nyala males have spiral horns with a yellow tip. The female and the young have a rusty brown coat and the males have dark brown or dark gray. They have a white underside. The females and the calves have more than ten vertical white stripes on their body sides and few spots on their faces, thighs, flanks, and throats. The stripes are less in older males. Both the male and female Nyalas have a long bushy tail, a white chevron between their eyes, and a dorsal crest of hair running right from the back of the head to the end of the tail. The fur of the Nyala is short in summer and shaggy in winter.
The Nyalas have a soft light brown or gray-brown colored coat of fur with pretty white stripes and large rounded ears that make them look especially cute and attractive. They are seemingly elegant creatures. These special features of Nyala make them more cute and beautiful.
Nyalas are the most cautious antelope and can sense danger and communicate by hearing and smelling, as well as by sight. Whenever a Nyala senses danger, they will look at each other and warn others by giving a sharp barking sound, and the other Nyalas will react and run away from there.
The adult males are larger than the Nyala females. The head and body length of the Nyala is between 53–77 in (135–195 cm). The height of the male Nyala is up to 43 in (110 cm), and the female height is up to 36 in (90 cm). They are smaller than kudus and are bigger than bushbucks.
Nyalas are neither a fast runner nor a vital species than other antelopes. They protect themselves from the predators like lions, hyenas, leopards, and wild dogs by their camouflage and play hide and seek with the predators.
The male Nyala weighs 98–125 kg (216–276 lb), while the females weigh 55–68 kg (121–150 lb).
The male Nyalas are known as bulls, and the females are known as cows. In appearance, both the male and female Nyala are different. The only common similarity between the Nyala bull and the female Nyala is the shaggy coat with white vertical stripes and highs and stomach spots. The females and young have these vertical stripes until old age, and males lose these stripes from 10-12 years of age. The males have double twisted spiral horns. The home ranges of the females are twice the size of the bulls. The male Nyala bull is in high demand as game animals in Africa.
The baby Nyalas are called calves. These calves stay with their mother until the next young one is born. The mother Nyala protects the calves from the predators for 18 days and hides them in the thicket.
Nyalas are herbivores; they feed on leaves of the plants, stem, fruits, flowers, and twigs in summer, and in the rainy season, they feed on freshly sprouted grass. These eating habits help them survive long, healthy. These South African antelopes need water in more quantities, so they choose to stay near the water.
Nyalas are shy animals. They mostly prefer hiding behind the dense bushes. The male Nyalas have horns by birth. They use the horns to fight with other bulls to decide the hierarchy and dominance among the groups. Sometimes these battles are dangerous, and they get injured.
They are very shy animals by nature and can make good pets. However, it is not suggestible to keep them as pets since they love to live in dense woodlands and thickets. They prefer places with high-quality grasses and freshwater.
Kidadl Advisory: All pets should only be bought from a reputable source. It is recommended that as a potential pet owner you carry out your own research prior to deciding on your pet of choice. Being a pet owner is very rewarding but it also involves commitment, time and money. Ensure that your pet choice complies with the legislation in your state and/or country. You must never take animals from the wild or disturb their habitat. Please check that the pet you are considering buying is not an endangered species, or listed on the CITES list, and has not been taken from the wild for the pet trade.
The appearance of the lowland Nyala and the mountain Nyala is the same, but they are different. The lowland Nyala belongs to the genus Tragelaphus angasii, and the mountain Nyala belongs to the Tragelaphus buxtoni. The Nyala is native of Southern Africa, and the mountain Nyala belongs to the Bale region of Ethiopia. The Mountain Nyala eats herbs and shrubs, whereas Nyala eats plants, fruits, flowers.
The lowland Nyala animal or simply Nyalas are scientifically known as Tragelaphus angasii. The actual meaning of Nyala is Southern African antelope which has a conspicuous crest on the neck and back and double spiral-shaped horns. Nyala is pronounced as Ny-ala.
Every living thing, small or big, is essential in the ecosystem. The main reason why Nyalas need to be preserved is that humans are killing the species at a faster rate, and it is necessary to preserve them in their natural habitat. A few of these species are lost and are becoming rare.
You may find them in the Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Game Reserve, Mkuze Game Reserve, Ndumo Game Reserve, and Kruger National Park, South Africa.
You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our nyala coloring pages.