The African buffalo is a member of “Big Five” group of African animals. But how much do you actually know about one of Africa’s largest and most common herbivores?
The African Buffalo is massively built with short, powerful limbs and weighing in at up to 1750 lbs (793 kg). The hook-shaped horns of the African buffalo, which can grow up to 63″ (1.6m) long, are often used to defend themselves against predators, such as lions, and also to show dominance between the males in the herd.
The hard shield in the middle of the male’s horns is called the boss.
Some great Africa safari destinations where African Buffalo are abundant and relatively approachable are: Masai Mara Nature Reserve, Kenya; Ngorongoro Crater, Manyara National Park, Tanzania; Kafue National Park, Zambia; Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe and Kruger National Park, South Africa.
I invite you to learn more about the African Buffalo in the latest edition of our animal facts blog series!
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Below are some interesting facts about African Buffalos:-
- African buffalo is a large animal that can reach 6.8 to 11 feet in length, 3.2 to 5.6 feet in height, and weigh between 660 and 1900 pounds.
- African buffalo has a large head, broad chest, and strong legs. It is four times stronger than an ox.
- The body of African buffalo is covered with hair that can be brownish to black in color.
- Horns of African buffalo are shaped like question marks. Males have longer and thicker horns.
- African buffalo is a grazer. It feeds mainly on the grass. When the grass sources are scarce, it may eat shrubs and trees.
- African buffalos live in large herds that sometimes include thousands of animals. Usually, herds are smaller, with up to 12 animals on average.
- 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.
- Solitary animals are easy targets of lions, which are their natural enemies.
- Life in the herd ensures certain advantages. Animals are well informed about the best feeding areas and sources of water. Besides that, they are protected against predators.
- 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 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. The same is with lions. They will “preventively” kill cubs of lions that are known attackers of the herd.
- African buffalo have poor eyesight and sense of hearing, but their sense of smell is excellent.
- The mating season of African buffalo takes place between March and May. Pregnancy lasts 11 and half months and ends with one baby (calf).
- The bond between mother and calf is very strong. The calf is completely dependent on its mother during the period of suckling, which lasts one year.
- The average lifespan of the African buffalo in the wild is 20 years.
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