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Fun Facts About Buffalo

Shara Burger | Wildlife

Fun Facts About Buffalo 

Have you ever heard the joke that when a buffalo looks at you it is as though you owe him money? This may be looking at things from the funny side, but these massive bovines are not known for their sense of humor! 

The steely gaze and intimidating stare are enough to make the bravest safari goer feel uncomfortable, buffalo are generally pretty grumpy and therefore are one of the most dangerous animals in Africa. 

However, they are also rather interesting (when they not staring you down). We decided to share a few fun and interesting facts to shed a better light on these often-misunderstood herbivores.  

  • The pathfinders are the most experienced females in a herd, they will lead the herd to water or grazing. 
  • Their eyesight is not good; however, they have excellent hearing and a sense of smell. 
  • Adult male buffalo horns grow so close that they fuse creating what is known as a “boss”, females do not have this feature. The size of the boss and horns will often determine the hierarchy of a male within a herd. 
  • Buffalo are nature’s lawnmowers, they prefer short shrubs to tall grass, as they move through an area feeding, they leave behind exposed foliage for other animals 
  • They are very good swimmers and in areas where they have to, they will swim across bodies of water to get better grazing. 
  • The most used collective noun for a group of buffalo is a “herd”, however other terms include “gang” or “obstinacy” which seem more appropriate. 
  • Old male buffalo who have separated from the herd is known as “dagga boys”, they usually spend their days wallowing in the mud with other males who have passed their prime. 
  • When buffalo want to display their strength and aggression they will get onto their front knees and rub their necks and heads into the ground.  
  • Female buffalo usually have their first calf at 4 years old, this calf is always born during the rainy season and is completely dependent on its mother. 
  • Researchers have identified 5 different vocalizations used by buffalo to communicate with one another. 
  • Buffalo and Oxpeckers (the birds often found sitting on buffalo) have a symbiotic relationship, the birds eat the ticks that have become embedded in the skin of the buffalo while also warning them of any impending danger. 

Hopefully, this has given you something to think about and when you come across these bovines on your next safari you will treat them with new respect. 

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