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African Buffalo

From Academic Kids

African Buffalo
African Buffalo, 19th century drawing.
Scientific classification
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Mammalia
Order:Artiodactyla
Family:Bovidae
Subfamily:Bovinae
Genus:Syncerus
Species:caffer
Binomial name
Syncerus caffer
(Sparrman, 1779)

The African Buffalo or Cape Buffalo (Syncerus caffer) is a bovid from the family of the Bovidae. It is up to 1.7 meters high, 3.4 meters long, and can reach a weight of 900 kilograms.

The Cape Buffalo is not closely related to the Asian Water Buffalo, but its ancestry remains unclear. It is a very powerful creature, demanding respect from even a pride of Lions when paths cross. Known as one of the "big five" in Africa, the Cape Buffalo can be a volatile and formidable beast.

Cape Buffalo prefer areas of open pasture, close to jungle and swampy ground where they can wallow. They are found in Zimbabwe, Namibia, Botswana, Mozambique and South Africa, with a significant seasonal presence in Kenya and Tanzania.

Other than man, they have few natural predators and are capable of defending themselves against (and sometimes killing) Lions, who will attack only old, sick, or immature buffaloes. The Leopard is a threat only to newborn calves. Crossbreeding with domestic cattle has had only limited success, and the African Buffalo remains a wild animal.

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The main herd consists of all sexes and ages, though bachelor groups are also found. Males are recognizable by the thickness of their horns, called 'the Boss'. Bulls mature at 8 years of age.

Cows first calve at 5 years of age, after a gestation period of 11.5 months.



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