Thursday, May 28, 2009

Playing with Bongos - The Bongo Antelope

The Bongo Antelope is a large colorful antelope with large ears, bright chestnut to dark brown with vivid white-yellow markings and stripes and spiral-horns.

Some fast facts on Bongos are:

1. Bongos are the largest forest antelope.

2. Native people believe if they eat or touch bongo they will have spasms similar to epileptic seizures. Because of this superstition, bongos have been relatively unharmed in their native ranges.

3. Population counts are sketchy as these are very secretive animals. Even researchers who study these antelope often do not see them. Much of what is known about them comes from captive animals and studies at salt licks on the edge of forests.

4. They have been known to eat burned wood after lightning storms. This behavior is believed to be a means of getting salt or minerals.

5. Bongos are great high jumpers but prefer to go under or around obstacles.

6. Bongos use their prehensile tongue to grasp the vegetation they feed on.

7. In order to swiftly maneuver through the dense forest vegetation, bongos tilt their chin up, causing their horns to lie flat against their back. They take this position so frequently older bongos often have bald spots on their back from the tips of their horns rubbing away the fur.

Click here to listen to Jason Barry discuss Bongos.

For further information on the Melbourne Zoo, please visit


Anonymous said...

i sincerely hope that bongo is living

Adam Barralet said...

Hi Anon,

The bongos are still around. They are currently listed as Near Threatened by IUCN.

Thanks for reading.