A-z - Animals

buffalo

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buffalo-1

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"The buffalo is known as the live tractor of the East."

The buffalo, also known as the Asiatic buffalo, Asiatic buffalo, or arni, is the second largest member of the bovidae family, closely related to the yak, bison, African buffalo, ox, and various other bison.

Its great strength and high fat content of its milk led to its worldwide domestication, which, combined with ritual hunting, has unfortunately driven the wild buffalo to the brink of extinction.

Wildlife sanctuaries in Southeast Asia are the last refuges for wild populations whose numbers are believed to be in decline.

Incredible Buffalo Facts!

buffalo
Not even a top predator like a lion can outwit an entire buffalo herd.

©Peter Betts/Shutterstock.com



  • While the domestic buffalo is an extremely common animal, its wild ancestor is endangered with an estimated population of fewer than 4,000 head of which only 2,500 are adults.
  • The two main subspecies of these buffaloes were actually domesticated for different reasons; the river buffalo were domesticated for their milk, while the swamp buffalo were domesticated for strength as draft animals.
  • The largest horn length recorded for a wild buffalo is 13 feet 10 inches, longer than a Volkswagen Beetle!
  • These buffaloes spend almost all day in water with their nostrils covered, or wallow in mud like pigs.
  • The arni's ball joint, a joint above the ankle, is extremely flexible; this unique adaptation allows the arni to move freely in the thick, deep mud at the bottom of rivers and swamps.

Check out more incredible facts about buffalo.

scientific name

Heaviest Animal: Cow
An African buffalo in the Serengeti, Africa. Buffalo are ferocious and known for killing lions.

©BonnieBC/Shutterstock.com

These buffaloes are closely related to the yak, bison, African buffalo and several other wild bovids. The scientific name of the domestic buffalo is Bubalus bubalis and the scientific name of its wild buffalo is Bubalus arnee.

There are two subspecies of these buffaloes, river and marsh, which were both domesticated for different reasons. The Asian buffalo is a close relative of the African Cape buffalo. The word Bubalus means bison or antelope in Latin.

List of Buffalo Species:

  • mora buffalo
  • Nelly Ravi
  • buffalo
  • Italian Mediterranean
  • buffalo
  • Nagpuri

evolution and origin

The buffalo or Bubalus bubalis is a large domesticated mammal belonging to the family Bovidae. They are widely distributed all over the world, especially in Asia and Africa, and are famous for their milk, meat and labor. Although buffaloes are now common in many parts of the world, their evolution and origins remain an area of intense interest and research.

The earliest known buffalo ancestor is Anoa, a small buffalo-like animal that lived in Indonesia more than 2 million years ago. Over time, the Anoa evolved into two distinct species: the swamp buffalo found in Southeast Asia and the river buffalo found in South Asia.

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The swamp buffalo is thought to have originated in the Brahmaputra region of present-day Bangladesh and eastern India. From there, it spread to Southeast Asia, where it became an important animal for agriculture and transportation. The river buffalo, on the other hand, is believed to have originated in the Ganges region of northern India. It was later introduced to other parts of the world such as the Middle East, Africa and Europe.

The domestication of buffalo is believed to have begun more than 5,000 years ago in the Indus Valley Civilization, which spanned parts of present-day Pakistan and India. Archaeological evidence, such as terracotta figurines and seal marks, shows that buffalo were an important part of the agricultural system of the peoples of the Indus Valley. They were used to plow fields, pull carts, and as a source of milk and meat.

appearance and behavior

Wild Arni is a huge animal. It was nearly 10 feet long and nearly 6 feet wide at the shoulders.

©PACO COMO/Shutterstock.com

Wild Arni is a huge animal. It was nearly 10 feet long and nearly 6 feet wide at the shoulders. They are mainly dark gray or black and have large, backward-curved horns. Males are larger, typically weighing around 2,600 pounds, and have full-sized horns, while females have smaller horns. The male weighs about the same as two and a half grizzly bears!

The average male horn length is about 5 feet, but the longest recorded horn length is 13 feet 10 inches. By comparison, the Volkswagen Beetle is only 13 feet 5 inches.

Domestic buffalo range in weight from less than 1,000 pounds to 2,000 pounds. Some of the 74 different breeds of domesticated buffalo remain largely the same in color, but the shape and size of their horns can vary widely.

These buffaloes spend most of their day submerged in the water of rivers or swamps, sometimes even up their nostrils. This serves two main purposes. First, these buffaloes don't have enough sweat glands to keep themselves cool by evaporating sweat, so staying submerged allows them to regulate their body temperature in the hot, humid Southeast Asian climate.

Second, the water protects the buffalo from various biting insects that also inhabit the jungle. To help provide additional insect protection, buffaloes use their horns to scoop up mud from the bottom of rivers or swamps and throw it at themselves, a process called wallowling.

These buffaloes usually travel in small groups called herds. A herd consists of about five to eight adult females (called cows) and their respective calves. Herds may or may not be accompanied by males or bulls.

Young bulls travel in groups of all males of similar age, called single herds, but older bulls will travel alone. Herds of 30 to 40 buffaloes are not uncommon, but due to the prevalence of free-range farming in the area, it can be difficult to distinguish between domestic buffalo, wild buffalo and wild buffalo.

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Habitat

Buffalo bathing in a sinkhole in Vietnam
The domestic buffalo is an animal found in Europe, Asia, Africa, Japan, Hawaii, and North and South America.

© ansieee/CC BY 2.0 – License

The domestic buffalo is an animal found in Europe, Asia, Africa, Japan, Hawaii, and North and South America. However, wild buffalo are only found in small protected areas in Southeast Asia such as India, Nepal, Thailand and Bhutan. It should be noted that the current habitat of these buffaloes does not represent their true preference. Overhunting means they can only survive in remote, inaccessible or protected areas.

Dense jungle or swamps provide adequate cover and water for buffaloes, as well as adequate vegetation for eating purposes. These buffalo migrate almost as the weather seasons change. As water becomes more common, the rainy season allows for more exercise.

diet

These buffaloes are herbivores and feed on foraging. They love grass, but will also eat fruit, shrubs, bark, and other leaves. In areas free of human contact, buffalo will forage in the open air at dawn and dusk and remain hidden during the hottest part of the day.

Wild buffalo and those without adequate sun protection will occasionally graze on grass. This may be due to the effects of interbreeding with their domestic counterparts, as well as the fact that they behave more like cattle than their pure wild cousins.

Predators and Threats

Male buffalo bathing in a pond in Sri Lanka
The two main threats to Arni are humans and domestic buffalo. Humans hunt buffalo for meat, horns and for ritual purposes

©Sergey Uryadnikov/Shutterstock.com

The two main threats to Arni are humans and domestic buffalo. Humans hunt buffalo for meat, horns and also for ritual purposes. In addition, habitat loss due to deforestation for farmland or residential use is also human-induced.

Crossbreeding with various types of domesticated buffalo and cattle resulted in the loss of the genetic characteristics of wild buffalo. This close contact with domesticated breeds exposes buffalo to the same diseases that have decimated bison herds.

The main predators of these buffaloes are humans, tigers, leopards and crocodiles. Almost all of these hunters attack by way of ambush as these buffaloes can be extremely aggressive and dangerous when threatened.

Reproduction, Babies and Longevity

The average lifespan of wild buffalo is 25 years, while domestic buffalo can live up to 40 years.

©Kletr/Shutterstock.com

Female buffaloes usually give birth to one calf every other year. Single herd males or lonely older bulls will search for acceptable mates in the female herd. Gestation lasts 10 or 11 months, and male offspring remain in the herd for three years, while female offspring usually live their entire lives.

The average lifespan of wild buffalo is 25 years, while domestic buffalo can live up to 40 years.

population

While domesticated buffalo and related hybrids account for about 165 million individuals, the true population size of bison is unknown. Their remote, inaccessible habitats, and the difficulty of distinguishing between domestic, wild, and feral groups present significant challenges to the study of this species.

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The researchers estimate that of the roughly 4,000 wild buffaloes kept free, fewer than 2,500 of them are adults. The population is believed to be declining as small wild cattle herds continue to interbreed with domestic, wild and hybrid buffalo.

The wild buffalo, Bubalus, is endangered and is found almost exclusively in protected areas in Southeast Asia. These reserves are the only effective conservation measures designed to keep wild herds genetically pure.

zoo

Arnis are a fairly common sight in American zoos. Even smaller zoos and rescue facilities, like the Little Ponderosa Zoo in Clinton, Tennessee, have arni on site. Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, New Jersey even offers a drive-in safari featuring Asian buffalo.

See all 104 animals that start with W

Buffaloes get their name because they spend the vast majority of their day submerged in water. In fact, their hooves grow very wide to prevent them from sinking into the thick mud of swamps and river bottoms.

The short answer is, "It depends." Typically, buffalo avoid human contact and prefer to be alone. However, when threatened, the entire herd will lower their horns and head straight for the threat. Due to their enormous size and strength, buffaloes can kill humans with ease, and they pose enough of a threat to their predators that almost all of them hunt entirely through ambush. Buffalo are significantly less aggressive than Cape buffalo in Africa, which kill an average of 200 people a year.

The main difference between buffalo and water buffalo is very similar to the old square vs. rectangle adage. All buffaloes are buffaloes, but not all buffaloes are buffaloes. The term buffalo has come to be used colloquially to refer to animals that are far removed from the water buffalo, such as the American bison.

Buffaloes are unique in that they spend most of their time submerged in water or wallowing in mud. While most other buffalo species have a hump between the shoulders, a distinctive hallmark of the Asian buffalo is a flat back.

Buffalo eat grass, herbs, shrubs, bark and other available greenery. They are completely herbivorous.

The buffalo is a large bovid native to remote parts of Southeast Asia. They have been widely domesticated; however, wild buffalo are endangered, with fewer than 4,000 remaining in the wild.

Buffaloes belong to the animal kingdom.

Buffaloes belong to the phylum Chordate.

Buffaloes belong to the class Mammalia.

Buffaloes belong to the family Bovidae.

Buffaloes belong to the order Artiodactyla.

Buffaloes belong to the genus Buffalo.

Buffaloes are covered with tough skin.

Buffalo live in swamps and swamps.

Predators of buffaloes include humans, feral cats and crocodiles.

The average number of babies a buffalo has is 1.

The scientific name of the buffalo is Bubalus bubalis.

Buffalo can live 15 to 25 years.

Buffaloes can travel at speeds of up to 30 miles per hour.