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The Buffalo
Buffalo

The African, or Cape, buffalo is a member of the so-called "Big Five" group of animals, with the elephant, rhino, lion and leopard. Once popular trophies for hunters, these large and often dangerous animals have continued to capture the imagination.

About the Ferocious Buffalo
 

Parks Where Found

Physical Characteristics

  • Buffaloes are large, heavy cowlike animals.
  • Adults are usually dark gray or black (or even look red or white if they have been wallowing in mud of that color) and the young are often reddish-brown.
  • Both male and female buffaloes have heavy, ridged horns that grow straight out from the head or curve downward and then up.

Natural Environment

Buffaloes are found in savannas and low forest.

Behaviour

They are unpredictable and can be dangerous if cornered or wounded. Though they have been known to ambush men and are often accused of deliberate savagery, they are usually placid if left alone.

Buffaloes can live in herds of a few hundred, but have been known to congregate in thousands in the Serengeti during the rainy season. The females and their offspring make up the bulk of the herd. Males may spend much of their time in bachelor groups.

Sight and hearing are both rather poor, but scent is well developed in buffaloes. Although quiet for the most part, the animals do communicate. In mating seasons they grunt and emit hoarse bellows. A calf in danger will bellow mournfully, bringing herd members running at a gallop to defend it.

Diet

  • Grass whereby they feed at night
  • Buffaloes lose condition faster than other savanna ungulates without fresh green feed.

Predators and Threats

  • Humans
  • Lions
  • Hyenas

Facts for Fun

  • The African buffalo differs from the domesticated water buffalo found in other parts of the world, although they both superficially resemble one another.
  • The buffalo is one of the most abundant of Africa's large herbivores. It depends on water and does not live in regions with less than 10 inches of rain a year.
Herbivores

Giraffe

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