The African buffalo is called the coffee buffalo, while the Asian is called the water buffalo. The water buffalo is far larger than the African, but otherwise they are confusingly similar to each other. The buffalo is part of ” The Big Five ” in Africa, and is thus an animal that is highly coveted to see on a journey. The buffalo is the largest beef species found in Africa and Asia. The buffalo is widespread in Central Africa, but also especially in Southeast Africa. In Asia, the water buffalo is widespread from west to east, where it has a very special place in parts of India, Thailand and Indonesia.
Facts about the buffalo
|Location:||Africa and Asia|
|Life expectancy:||20-25 years|
|Size:||110-160 centimeters high|
|Quantity:||Over 2 million|
|Funfact:||The milk from the Asian water buffalo is the main ingredient in mozzarella.|
The buffalo has an impressive appearance and is more solidly built than other bulls. The male becomes slightly larger than the female and measures a height of approx. 170 cm above the back. The buffalo looks black-gray, but some buffalo can also appear in reddish-brown shades. The color often depends on whether the buffalo lives in a forest area or on the open savannah. The buffalo has a motley body with relatively long legs. On the head grows the two large horns, which hook slightly, and otherwise become pointed at the end. The horns can grow to a massive size. Some grow up to 150 cm long. The horns are extra strong at the root and act as a natural shield for the buffalo.
The buffalo are ruminants like the cows we know in Denmark. Like the cow, the buffalo has 4 stomachs, and it likes to spend 8-10 hours a day eating grass. The coffee buffalo lives in the African highlands by river areas, so it is always near lush areas, with dense shrubs. If there is a drought, the buffalo sometimes seeks out lower grasslands. in Asia, the water buffalo lives in lush vegetable areas close to rivers. The characteristic of buffaloes is that they generally find their food close to the river bank.
According to DigoPaul, the buffalo is pregnant for 310-340 days, after which it gives birth to its calf. It typically gives birth to only one young at a time and can weigh up to approx. 40 kg. The buffalo can get pregnant all year round, however, mating most often occurs during the African rainy season from March to June. Here it is most lush, and there is therefore more food for the little calf in its first months of life. The male finds out if it is mating time by sniffing for the female’s urine. The male then selects a cow and guards the cow. But the cow is picky and therefore does not choose the first and best bull. She waits for bulls with a higher rank to pass by.
The bulls also fight over the right to the cow. The winning bull licks the cow’s butt, rests its head on it and waits for the cow’s acceptance. If the cow accepts the bull, they mate twice in half an hour. The bull calves are banished from the herd when they are about 2 years old. They often join other bulls and form bachelor groups. The cows like to stay with their mother until they have given birth themselves – sometimes even longer. The buffalo is sexually mature when it is around 5-9 years old.
The buffalo is a herd animal, and lives well together with each other. Only the females live together. Here, families and generations live side by side. The size can vary from 50-1,500 buffaloes in a herd. The most normal, however, is group of a few hundred. One can i.a. see large buffalo herds on safari to Kenya or Tanzania. The bull calves leave the group when they are 2 years old approx. then they wander around alone, or gather in bachelor groups of 4-7 buffaloes. They are separated from the group, to mate with cows in heat. The buffaloes are generally very protective of each other. Buffaloes form circles around injured animals, and are not afraid to take up the fight with e.g. lions on the African plains. Buffaloes can become incredibly aggressive, especially as they get older. Older buffaloes usually leave the herd to walk around alone.
The buffalo is in a family group called the vaginal horn family. The characteristic of this relative is that the hooves of the animals are shaped like hooves and that at least one of the sexes gets horns. In the genus of sheath horn animals, in addition to buffaloes, there are also different variations of bison, oxen and cows. Other animals are somewhat surprising animals such as antelopes and gazelles, but also sheep, goats and bucks. In general, the Asian buffalo is most closely related to the African buffalo. The biggest difference between the two is the size. The Asian is somewhat larger than the African.
Travelers’ questions about the buffalo
Is the buffalo a domestic animal?
The buffalo lives wild in several parts of Africa and Asia. The Asian buffalo has proven to be an excellent domestic animal, whereas the African buffalo is more aggressive and shy towards humans.
The Asian can be trained so that it can be used for agriculture. It can even be tamed so much that it poses no danger to children. The buffalo is used in Asia to plow the fields, i.a. rice fields. The buffalo has proven to be an extremely hardy and useful animal when it comes to agriculture, which is why the buffalo is also widespread in large parts of northern Australia and South America. The buffalo is also used as a domestic animal in Italy, where the Italians use the milk to produce mozzarella. Thus, the buffalo’s milk is also highly recognized.
Is the buffalo dangerous?
Yes it is – especially the African buffalo.
The African buffalo is far more aggressive and shy towards humans than the Asian. Asian buffaloes that live wild can also pose a threat. In Africa, the buffalo is among the most dangerous animals on the savannah. The buffalo is responsible for 200 fatal accidents each year. It is due to its aggressiveness. If the buffalo feels threatened, it will pursue and attack those who want to harm it. With its large horns and massive strength, it can easily throw a human or a lion into the air. The buffalo protects itself from its enemies. The closest enemies are in addition to humans, lions, hyenas, leopards, cheetahs and other predators such as crocodiles. However, the predators are aware of the buffalo’s enormous strength, which is why they often only go after the weakest. Tamed buffaloes, on the other hand, are not dangerous, and many Asian buffaloes are so used to humans that children can easily approach the animal.
Why mud buffaloes?
In both Asia and Africa, there are many blood-sucking fly species that find it interesting to sting the buffalo. Large flocks of flies often swarm around the buffaloes, which can be a great inconvenience to the large animal. The way they protect themselves from insect bites is by dipping into water and then rolling into the ground. The soil protects the buffalo from insect bites. Thus, the buffalo can often be seen with large mud cakes stuck in its fur. Another way the buffalo protects itself from insect bites is by being in mud holes.