Fun Hartebeest Facts For Kids | Kidadl


Fun Hartebeest Facts For Kids

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The hartebeest (Alcelaphus buselaphus) or locally known as the Kongoni is an African antelope suffering from habitat destruction with many of its subspecies either being critically endangered or endangered. A. buselaphus is a popular herbivore in Africa and is known throughout the world by wildlife enthusiasts. They feed on grass and live in the grasslands or savanna found in certain areas of Africa. The name "hartebeest" originates from the Dutch word "hertebeest" that translates into "deer beast".

The red hartebeest (Alcelaphus Caama) is the most wide spread hartebeest around and can be found extensively across many countries with it's population steadily being on the rise alongside the Lichtenstein's hartebeest. The different subspecies of the hartebeest can be found across the countries of Africa and once used to inhabit many areas in this continent. The hartebeest are quite popular and can be observed across many journals and pieces of literature. Hartebeest are generally social unless they are fully adult males and otherwise live in herd of hundreds of members. They have been been reported to have formed aggregations of thousands of these creatures. The hartebeest are facing danger due to lack of foraging, hunting and habitat destruction.

If you enjoy reading fun facts about animals, you can definitely check out fallow deer and key deer.

Fun Hartebeest Facts For Kids

What do they prey on?


What do they eat?


Average litter size?


How much do they weigh?

165-440 lb (75-200 kg)

How long are they?

5-8 ft (1.5-2.4 m)

How tall are they?

3-5 ft (1-1.5 m)

What do they look like?

Grayish-brown, reddish-brown or pale brown

Skin Type


What were their main threats?


What is their conservation status?

Least Concern

Where you'll find them?

Grasslands And Open Plains


Ethiopia, Namibia, Botswana, Nigeria, Tanzania, South Sudan, The Democratic Republic Of The Congo, South Africa Ghana, Kenya.









Hartebeest Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a hartebeest?

A hartebeest is a large African antelope.

What class of animal does a hartebeest belong to?

A hartebeest belongs to the class of Mammalia, which fundamentally means that they give birth to live young like other mammals.

How many hartebeest are there in the world?

According to the African Wildlife Foundation, there are around 360,000 hartebeests out there inhabiting 25 African countries. African Wildlife Foundation also reports that there are seven subspecies of hartebeests that are contributing to this number as the Bubal hartebeest has been declared extinct.  There are about 42,000 Coke's hartebeest inhabiting African countries such as Kenya and Tanzania. There are around 70,000 of the Lelwel hartebeest subspecies and 130,000 belonging to the red hartebeest subspecies. There are less than 250 mature specimens of the Swayne's hartebeest and Tora hartebeest subspecies.

Where does a hartebeest live?

These large antelopes live in open plains, wooden grasslands, dry savannas and can sometimes even be observed to have moved to an arid habitat or desertic locations as well. Hartebeest could be found throughout Africa before, however, now they only can be found in a few areas across sub-Saharan Africa.

What is a hartebeest habitat?

Hartebeest can be found in the savannas and grasslands of sub-Saharan Africa. They are more comfortable in medium and tall grasslands or woods, unlike other plains antelopes. They move to more arid scrub areas after rainfall and have even been reported in high altitudes such as Mount Kenya. Some males have been known to move around in large territories of 77 sq mi (200 sq km) while females roam in areas of over 390 sq mi (1000 sq km).

Who do hartebeest live with?

Female hartebeests live in herds of 5 - 12 animals while territorial adult males live a solitary life. Both female hartebeests and males gather together in large groups when there is a scarcity of water and food during dry periods. Hartebeest is mostly calm around the members of its species, however, adult males are known to fight each other using their horns during the breeding season after threatening other males with head movements and by defecating on dung piles. Adult females are not known for forming secure groups with other mothers or females and a dominant relationship has been reported between the females inside a herd. Females inside a single herd have been observed to also get in fights with each other. Males stay with their mothers till maturity and then leave to conquer a territory and the females in it.

How long does a hartebeest live?

The average lifespan of these animals is 20 years in the wild while hartebeests live up to around 19 years in captivity. However, the mortality of young males is much higher in the wild as they are attacked by territorial adult males who also end up taking their food.

How do they reproduce?

Hartebeest mate year-round, especially when there is an abundance of food. Males and females both reach maturity at the age of 1 - 4 years and mate in territories that are defended by single adult males. Males smell the females to check if they are in oestrus and accordingly proceeds to mount the female once she is standing still. These antelopes copulate multiple times and last for a very short time. Unlike other antelopes who give birth in herds on plains, hartebeest generally gives birth alone in bushes and grasslands. Females carry the baby for about eight to nine months and then give birth to a single calf.

What is their conservation status?

The  hartebeest (Alcelaphus buselaphus) falls under the Least Concern category in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. However, this is for the species as a whole. Some of its subspecies are Extinct or Threatened. The Bubal hartebeest is extinct while the Lelwel hartebeest and Swayne's hartebeest is endangered in the African countries they can be found at. The tora hartebeest(A. buselaphus tora) is critically endangered while the western hartebeest in near threatened as they are decreasing in numbers from most of their range. The western hartebeest subspecies is extinct in many countries it used to be found in. Coke's hartebeest, Lichtenstein's hartebeest and the red hartebeest are listed as Least Concern and can be even found in areas outside their range now. These hartebeest are in danger as they are game animals and are hunted by humans. They are also victims of habitat destruction and are in need of being protected by African authorities.

Hartebeest Fun Facts

What do hartebeest look like?

A. Buselaphus can be easily recognized through its horns, legs and steep sloping back. These animals are known for a tufted tail and short smooth body hair. They are large creatures resembling antelopes and have a grayish-brown or brownish-red coat, the color of their coats depend on their individual subspecies but most of the adults have pale hair on their chests and rumps to either attract mates or for warding off predators. They have two horns which are curved and meant for attacking any creature that poses a danger to its habitat.

Hartebeest facts are great for lovers of this large chocolate brown or reddish brown antelope

How cute are they?

Hartebeest are more beautiful than they are cute but hartebeest calves can definitely appeal to many animal lovers.

How do they communicate?

These animals use vocalizations for communicating. Young males and adult males both use vocal cues to show sub-ordinance. These animals are also known for warning the herds of predators through using varying volumes of snorting in accordance with the danger at hand.

How big is a hartebeest?

Hartebeest is big animals, being about 5-8 ft (1.5-2.4 m) in length and standing at about 3-5 ft (1-1.5 m) tall at shoulder level. Hartebeest can be classified as a big antelope and are almost twice the length of a white-tailed deer while being almost as tall as a human being. The size of a hartebeest is standard across the sub-species as well.

How fast can a hartebeest run?

Hartebeest can reach speeds of up to 34.2 mph (55 kph) but have been reported to flee at speeds close to 50 mph (80 kph) when fleeing from predators.

How much does a hartebeest weigh?

A hartebeest weighs up to 165-440 lb (75-200 kg) and is a heavy antelope.

What are the male and female names of the species?

Males and females of this species are simply referred to as male hartebeests and female hartebeests.

What would you call a baby hartebeest?

A baby hartebeest is referred to simply as a baby hartebeest or a hartebeest calf and is not known by any other name.

What do they eat?

The Alcelaphus buselaphus species is known for primarily feeding on grass. Like any other antelope, they are herbivores and can feed on legumes and certain plants, leaves, seeds and nuts other than grass. They are able to tolerate poor quality or dry tough grass as well. When there is a short supply of water, they survive on tubers, roots and melons.

Are they dangerous?

They are not dangerous if they are not irritated but can cause damage to animals such as lions, jackals and leopards when defending themselves. Thus, the Alcelaphus buselaphus can be considered dangerous to humans as well if they feel like they are in danger.

Would they make a good pet?

Hartebeest are generally composed and calm, however, it would be advisable to not keep them as pets as these animals are truly wild and are capable of badly injuring a human being if they feel threatened for any reason.

Did you know...

Hartebeests flee by running in zigzag patterns which confuse predators and make it difficult for them to prey on fleeing hartebeest.

Jackals and cheetahs target younger hartebeest while lions, leopards and hyenas target larger hartebeest. Hartebeest, however, is one of the fastest antelopes in the world and can out run their predators normally.

Any female antelope belonging to this species roams around in a home range large enough to include 20 - 30 territories belonging to the males.

Young males are known for leaving their original herds and mothers to join in bachelor herds after three years of age. These antelopes, later on, proceed to own their individual territories where they reproduce.

When these large antelopes fight, the clashes from the horns are so loud that they can be heard from hundreds of feet away.

These animals are known for producing grunts and quacking sounds. The young males tend to make a quacking call when in danger.

How many species of hartebeest are there?

There are eight known species of hartebeest. Out of the ones which can still be found in their African habitat, there is the western hartebeest, Coke's hartebeest, Lelwel hartebeest, Lichtenstein's hartebeest, red hartebeest, Tora hartebeest and Swayne's hartebeest. There is also the Bubal hartebeest but it is extinct now.

How do red hartebeest protect themselves?

Red hartebeest or cape hartebeest use their horns that curve upward and inward to protect themselves against predators and members of their own species. Males are generally known for using their horns to defend themselves and possess horns that are thicker and larger than females. They are fast as well and can escape danger from other animals or even hunting dogs.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these brown bear facts and Dutch Shepherd facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable hartebeest coloring pages.

Written By
Moumita Dutta

Moumita is a multilingual content writer and editor. She has a PostGraduate Diploma in sports management, which enhanced her sports journalism skills, as well as a degree in journalism and mass communication. She's good at writing about sports and sporting heroes. Moumita has worked with many soccer teams and produced match reports, and sports is her primary passion.

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