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What would an enormous group of wildebeests make the same trip every year in a big circle? In this lesson, we’ll learn about wildebeests, an animal that lives in Eastern Africa, and their incredible migration.

What Is a Wildebeest?

Crossing a river full of crocodiles is not anything you or I would probably ever want to do. Luckily, we’re not wildebeests, who have to face crocodiles and other predators during their annual migration, a trip they take every year.

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Wildebeests, a kind of antelope, are also called gnus.They live in Eastern Africa in the savanna, a large grassy area with shrubs and trees. There are several different kinds of wildebeests, depending on where they live. The western white-bearded wildebeest are the most common type, and the smallest in size.

Wildebeest
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Facts about Wildebeests

Wildebeests, whose name comes from the words ”wild beast,” are large animals – they weigh between 265 and 600 pounds and are about 4-5 feet tall at the shoulders. When you look at a picture of a wildebeest, one of the first things you might notice is their big heads and manes.

They have tall shoulders, black or white beards, and gray coats. Both males and females have horns on their heads.Wildebeests make loud noises, snorts, and grunts, and can run about 40 miles per hour, which is as fast as a car! They usually live about 20 years, but some live longer.

Lions, cheetahs, hyenas, and hunting dogs all hunt wildebeests. Wildebeests themselves are herbivores and just eat plants. They’re always grazing or eating grass, which is what leads them on their great migration.

Herd of wildebeest on the savanna
Migrating wildebeest
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Lesson Summary

Wildebeests, also called gnus, live in the savanna in Eastern Africa and eat grass.

Every year, over a million wildebeests go on a huge migration, traveling 500 to 1,000 miles in a giant circle. Just after the wildebeest babies are born and when the dry season begins, the wildebeests leave the Serengeti plains to begin their journey; they’ll return for the rainy season.

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