Facts about African Buffalo
The African buffalo is the only wild cattle species found in Africa. It is also known as the Cape buffalo, forest buffalo, and savanna buffalo. The African buffalo inhabits parts of sub-Saharan Africa. There are four subspecies of the African buffalo that differ in color, size and type of habitat in which they are found. The African buffalo lives in open forests, savannas, woodlands, and deep-lying rainforests. Because the African buffalo is water dependent, it needs habitats that receive at least 10 inches of rain per year. African buffalo is not endangered.
Buffalo’s kill more hunters than any other species.
African buffalo is large animal that can reach 6.8 to 11 feet in length, 3.2 to 5.6 feet in height and weight between 660 and 1900 pounds.
Buffalo rarely have twins.
African buffalo has large head, broad chest and strong legs. It is four times stronger than ox.
Buffalo are good swimmers.
Body of African buffalo is covered with hair that can be brownish to black in color.
Buffalos are known to kill Lions.
Horns of African buffalo are shaped like question marks. Males have longer and thicker horns.
African buffalo roam by the thousands in sub-Saharan Africa.
African buffalo is a grazer. It feed mainly on the grass. When the grass sources are scarce, it may eat shrubs and trees.
African buffalo have a complex social structure based on what scientists call a “dominance hierarchy”.
African buffalos live in large herds that sometimes include thousand animals. Usually, herds are smaller, with up to 12 animals on average.
Both males and females travel together in the same herd, with a group of related females forming the core of the herd, while a group of subordinate males and older animals form sub-herds.
Herds usually consist of females, their offspring and one or more males. Males that are not part of the herd can form bachelor herds, or live a solitary life.
Buffaloes are pregnant for about 11 and a half months before giving birth to new calves.
Solitary animals are easy target of lions, which are their natural enemies.
Calves stay with their mothers for about one year before they become more independent within the herd.
Life in herd ensures certain advantages. Animals are well informed about the best feeding areas and sources of water. Besides that, they are protected against the predators.
The African buffalo has never been domesticated thanks in large part to its unpredictable behaviour.
When faced with predators, animals of the herd form a circle around the young, old or weak animals, exposing their large and sharp horns toward the predators. This barrier is very effective and prevents predators to reach the animals that are not strong enough to fight.
African Buffalo will often kneel down and rub their necks and heads on the ground in a display of aggression to establish dominance.
African buffalo is well known for its exceptional memory. It will recognize a person (such as hunters) that hurt it in the past and it will attack it at their next encounter. Same is with lions. They will “preventively” kill cubs of lions that are known attackers of the herd.
Although not the fastest bovine at 35mph (56kph), African Buffalo can still outrun lions.
African buffalo has poor eyesight and sense of hearing, but their sense of smell is excellent.
African Buffalo do not have very good eyesight but their hearing and especially their smell is exceptional.
Mating season of African buffalo takes place between March and May. Pregnancy lasts 11 and half months and ends with one baby (calf).
The African buffalo has a symbiotic relationship with many African birds such as the Oxpecker. They are often found eating insects off the buffalo and will also warn the buffalo of approaching danger.
Bond between mother and calf is very strong. Calf is completely dependent on its mother during the period of suckling, which lasts one year.
When grass is scarce or of too poor quality, buffaloes will browse woody vegetation.
Average lifespan of the African buffalo in the wild is 20 years.