The Story Of Wild Animals:
Sacred Monkeys Of India.
Story Of The Antelope
Gnu, Or Wildebeest
Pala Or Roy-bock
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( Originally Published Early 1900's )
The African eland is the largest of the antelope tribe. They vary in color from a tawny yellow to a slaty blue, while in the extreme northern part of their range they are sometimes marked with white stripes. An average-size bull eland stands five feet nine inches at the withers and will weigh from 1,100 to 1,500 pounds.
Eland are found both in the desert-country, and in wooded districts, both hilly and flat. In Nyasaland, their favorite haunts are undulating, well timbered country, where the grass is not too long, and where there are intervening open plains; as a rule, they visit the plains at night or in the early mornings to drink, and then wander back long distances to the forest, where they spend the hot hours of the day. In the great Kalahari Desert, where they are still common, the eland go a long period without drinking any water, except that which they may obtain by eating watermelons and other plants. Eland are generally found in large herds, numbering from fifty to upwards of a hundred head, but solitary bulls or small parties of bulls are not unfrequently observed.
Elands are generally accompanied by "rhinoceros birds," which, in addition to their natural timidity, make them difficult to approach on foot. Consequently they are generally hunted on horseback. The bulls, when fat, can be easily ridden down by a good horse; but the cows have greater speed and staying power. When pursued, eland frequently leap high in the air. When they have their calves with them, the cows will attack and impale dogs on their horns; but at other seasons both sexes are quite harmless. Mr. Selous states that the flesh of the eland has been very generally over-estimated; and during the dry season, when these animals often subsist entirely upon leaves, it is quite uneatable.