Nilgai Facts

Nilgai Facts
Nilgai is the largest antelope that is native to Asia. It can be found all the way from the Himalayas in the north, to the state of Karnataka in the south. Nilgai was introduced to Texas in the first part of the 20th century for recreational purposes. Couple of animals managed to escape from private ranches leading to formation of the large population of nilgais in the wild parts of Alabama, Texas and Mexico. Nilgai prefers grassland and woodland areas, plains with shrubs and low hills. They are not endangered.
Interesting Nilgai Facts:
Nilgai is large animal. It usually has 4 to 5 feet in height, 6 to 6.6 feet in length, weighing up to 530 pounds.
Females and males can be easily distinguished. Males have grey to bluish-grey coat, spots on the cheeks and white marks on the edges of the lips. Females are tawny to brown in color.
Only males have horns. They are conical in shape, slightly curved forwards. In adult nilgai, horns can reach 5.9 to 9.4 inches in length.
Nilgai is herbivorous animal (plant-eater). They eat grass, leaves, buds and fruits.
Nilgai can survive long periods without water.
Nilgai is diurnal (active during the day) animal that usually lives in small herds, composed of animals of only one sex.
Herds of nilgai live on the territory that can be 1.7 square meters wide. Both male and female animals use urine to mark their territory. They also defecate on a single place, creating a pile of dung that can be 9.8 feet in diameter.
Nilgais release a scent from the glands on their feet to mark the place where they take a rest during the day.
Nilgai is generally known as quiet animal. They produce short grunts when alarmed and clicking sounds when females feed their babies.
Although large in size, nilgai has a lot of predators. Main predators are: tigers, leopards, feral dogs, hyenas, wolves and lions.
Mating usually takes place between June and October. Females reach sexual maturity at the age of two and males one year later.
Males will mate with more than one female during mating season. They do not form harems but rather wander around looking for females that are ready for mating.
Pregnancy lasts between 243 and 247 days. Female can have one, two or three babies. In 50% of cases, female gives birth to two babies.
At the end of pregnancy, female moves away from the herd to find a shelter for the babies. Babies are able to stand on their feet 40 minutes after they are born. Few weeks later, they begin to forage.
Nilgai lives 12 to 13 years in the wild and up to 21 years in captivity.

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