Cape Buffalo

Buffalo, Cape

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  • Information
  • Conservation
  • Lifestyle

Description

Considered to be one of the deadliest mammals in Africa, Cape buffalo are very large and dangerous when threatened. Their coloring ranges from dark brown to black with large, drooping, fringed ears. Young buffalo have dense reddish hair that darkens with age. The size and shape of their horns reflects sex and age. Older males have large horns of up to 40 in (100 cm) that form a boss in the middle; this boss is a shield that covers the entire head and is used in fighting. Size varies between subspecies of the African buffalo; S. c. caffer, found in the eastern savannas, may be twice as large as S. c. nanus, which occurs in equatorial forests.

Classification

Class
Mammalia
Order
Cetartiodactyla
Family
Bovidae
Genus
Syncerus
Species
S. caffer
Conservation Status
Least Concern

Key Facts

Height
4-5.5 ft (~100-170 cm)
Weight
700-2000 lb (~300-900 kg)

The IUCN Red List describes Syncerus caffer as a species of Least Concern with a population estimated at around 900,000 animals. Nearly all of these animals are savanna buffalo with the population of forest buffalo at 60,000 individuals.

Social Life
Cape buffalo are highly sociable animals that travel in large, 50-500 animal, non-territorial herds. These herds are composed of related cows and their young with an age dependent dominance hierarchy. There is usually one dominant male associated with a group of females with the ostracized males forming bachelor herds of 2-12 individuals. Older males tend to live solitary lives apart from the group. Cape buffalo are extremely powerful and dangerous if threatened and can run at speeds up to 35 mph (57 kph).

Habitat and Range
Cape buffalo are one of the most widespread African ungulates and live in a broad range of habitats in eastern and southern Africa. The savanna sub-species inhabit open grasslands, woodlands and forests. They maintain home ranges near permanent sources of water. The forest subspecies are found in rainforests of Central and West Africa.

Diet
Cape buffalo are herbivorous grazing animals that primarily eat tall, coarse grasses but will also browse on foliage and herbs. They spend 8-10 hours per day grazing and need to drink water at least once every day.

Lifespan
Life expectancy in wild Cape buffalo is 18-20 years and 26-30 years captivity.

Predators
Primary predators for adults include lions and crocodiles while the young, elderly and sick are additionally vulnerable to attacks by spotted hyenas.

Reproduction
Sexual maturity: Male: 4.5 years, Female: 4 years
Mating Season: Year-round
Birth Season:    Year-round
Gestation:         11.5 months
No. of Young:     1, rarely 2

Information

Description

Considered to be one of the deadliest mammals in Africa, Cape buffalo are very large and dangerous when threatened. Their coloring ranges from dark brown to black with large, drooping, fringed ears. Young buffalo have dense reddish hair that darkens with age. The size and shape of their horns reflects sex and age. Older males have large horns of up to 40 in (100 cm) that form a boss in the middle; this boss is a shield that covers the entire head and is used in fighting. Size varies between subspecies of the African buffalo; S. c. caffer, found in the eastern savannas, may be twice as large as S. c. nanus, which occurs in equatorial forests.

Classification

Class
Mammalia
Order
Cetartiodactyla
Family
Bovidae
Genus
Syncerus
Species
S. caffer
Conservation Status
Least Concern

Key Facts

Height
4-5.5 ft (~100-170 cm)
Weight
700-2000 lb (~300-900 kg)
Conservation

The IUCN Red List describes Syncerus caffer as a species of Least Concern with a population estimated at around 900,000 animals. Nearly all of these animals are savanna buffalo with the population of forest buffalo at 60,000 individuals.

Lifestyle

Social Life
Cape buffalo are highly sociable animals that travel in large, 50-500 animal, non-territorial herds. These herds are composed of related cows and their young with an age dependent dominance hierarchy. There is usually one dominant male associated with a group of females with the ostracized males forming bachelor herds of 2-12 individuals. Older males tend to live solitary lives apart from the group. Cape buffalo are extremely powerful and dangerous if threatened and can run at speeds up to 35 mph (57 kph).

Habitat and Range
Cape buffalo are one of the most widespread African ungulates and live in a broad range of habitats in eastern and southern Africa. The savanna sub-species inhabit open grasslands, woodlands and forests. They maintain home ranges near permanent sources of water. The forest subspecies are found in rainforests of Central and West Africa.

Diet
Cape buffalo are herbivorous grazing animals that primarily eat tall, coarse grasses but will also browse on foliage and herbs. They spend 8-10 hours per day grazing and need to drink water at least once every day.

Lifespan
Life expectancy in wild Cape buffalo is 18-20 years and 26-30 years captivity.

Predators
Primary predators for adults include lions and crocodiles while the young, elderly and sick are additionally vulnerable to attacks by spotted hyenas.

Reproduction
Sexual maturity: Male: 4.5 years, Female: 4 years
Mating Season: Year-round
Birth Season:    Year-round
Gestation:         11.5 months
No. of Young:     1, rarely 2

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Buffalo, Cape