Friday, December 2, 2016

Rate the Mara: Common Eland (Taurotraigus oryx)

Hello all! Rate The Mara is a possible series I may post every now and then, when the blog is need of an infusion of subpar humor.  It's intended to be a gleeful series presenting some facts about the animal, having some fun, and giving a completely arbitrary, subjective, and overall meaningless rating to species we encounter in the Maasai Mara.  We'll see where it goes.  Enjoy!

A magnificent bull Eland sporting a trendy dewlap* around its jowly neck.
Height: 1.6m (♂♂) and 1.4m (♀♀) at the shoulder    

Weight: 500-600kg (♂♂) and 340-445 kg (♀♀), largest being 942kg

First Described By: Peter Simon Pallas in 1766

Number of Horns: 2                            Number of Legs: 4

Does it have a tail?: Yes! Very handy for swatting those pesky biting insects.                   

Circadian Rhythm: Diurnal 

Mara High School Superlative: Largest antelope in Kenya…definitely largest antelope in its graduating class, only the Giant Eland is greater in size but he plays for our cross-continent rivals and is not considered in this analysis.

Best Friend in the Mara: Sadly, none really – Eland are kind of stuck up and they don’t like associating with others outside of their herd.  They are still really beautiful though!

Predator Response:  Not many carnivores are insane enough to attack Eland.  They congregate in large herds of up to 500 individuals, are very wary and shy of outsiders, can move surprisingly quickly for animals of their size…oh yeah and their size, would you want to take on an animal capable of acquiring the mass of a metric ton? But if a carnivore was insane enough, the Eland would utilize postural movements, its advanced vocal repertoire of loud barks, and the flehmen response to warn others of danger.  The herd would then gracefully vacate the area.  Normally predators are so very mesmerized by the graceful, synchronized gliding of the Eland that they simply stop and stare to relish such a beautiful sight. 

Preferred Habitat: Common Eland prefer habitats with a wide variety of flowering plants like savannah, woodlands, and even montane grasslands…but they despise dense forest because even though they won’t admit it, they are very afraid of the dark (some even sleep with night lights!).

Special Powers: The Eland is capable of jumping 2.4 meters straight into the air from a standstill, which not only means that it can box jump Yao Ming – but also complete a 100m hurdle involving Dikembe Mutombo, Shaquille O’Neal, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Frankenstein, James P. Sullivan from Monsters Inc., and the Flying Spaghetti Monster faster than Kendra Harrison.  Also as a footnote, males are capable of growing a dewlap*, very special indeed.  This unique feature is a continuous piece of loose skin which hangs about their necks with a tuft of thick black hair growing on the end that increases their sexiness to female Eland.

Weaknesses: The Eland cannot sprint, anatomically cannot – perhaps due the fact that it can outweigh a Volkswagen Beetle.  However, as meager compensation evolution saw fit to grant them the power to out-trot every other antelope in the animal kingdom.  Seriously they are really good a trotting.

If it was rendered into one of the Original 151 Pokémon:
650 HP, 450 Defense, 300 Attack, 330 Special, 240 Speed.

Is it Noble?: Absolutely, look up nobility in your dictionary and you will find a picture of an Eland.  Eland is also a synonym for nobility if you have one of those fantastic pocket thesaurus gizmos on your person.

What would happen if it fought a Lion?: First of all, female Eland would not fight a lion, they would abstain peacefully.  However, male Eland with lower moral standards could be tricked into fighting a lion.  The Eland could not out-sprint the lion, since it literally can’t, but it could trot away from it for a significant period of time.  Whenever the lion got close the Eland would simply box jump over it and continue trotting in the opposite direction.  Eventually, the lion would become so exhausted from dehydration that it would faint – ceding the KO to the Eland by default.

Final Rating: 9/10

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