Buffalo and its varieties
The buffalo is a ruminant from the family of bovids, a subfamily of bulls, and a cloven-hoofed detachment. Previously, all buffalo were attributed to the genus Bubalus. Now only Asian is attributed to him, the rest are identified in the genus Anoa and Syncerus. The closest relatives of the buffalo are baten, gaura, cupri, as well as the American bison, yak and bison living in the temperate zone. Buffaloes are common in the southern regions of Asia, on some islands of Oceania, in Africa.
The main types of buffalo
As already mentioned, buffaloes belong to the family of bovids, which includes quite a lot of animals. The genus of buffalo is heterogeneous, includes several species:
These animals live in different parts of the world, differ in size and appearance. Asian buffaloes were domesticated about 5, 000 years ago. They are still used as pets in India and some other South Asian countries. Buffalo meat replaces beef for Hindus, because these animals are not considered sacred. Their milk is very oily and nutritious.
100 years ago, buffaloes were hunted intensively. Many species have completely disappeared from the face of the earth, some are on the verge of extinction now. Buffalo horns, especially Asian ones, were considered a very valuable trophy. Since these large animals are quite smart, they are very aggressive, it was not easy to shoot them, because the trophy in the form of horns and carcasses of a buffalo spoke of the great skill of the hunter. Now most of the wild animals of this species are listed in the Red Book, hunting for them is either completely prohibited or limited.
African or black buffalo populate the shroud below the Sahara. At present, the population of these animals is growing, but they are not yet excluded from the Red Book. African buffalo includes several subspecies:
- Typical black, or Cape;
- Red dwarf;
African buffalo is a huge beast, one of the largest on the African continent. His height is less than that of the Asian, but the mass is larger. Here's what the largest Cape buffalo subspecies looks like:
- The head is large, low set.
- Horns in males from 5-6 years of age grow together in the middle, forming a helmet, bent down and to the side, the distance between the ends reaches a meter.
- The body is muscular, the front part is more massive than the back.
- The legs are powerful, they are better developed in front than in the back.
- The coat is liquid, black, in old males white spots appear around the eyes.
- At the tip of the tail is a long brush.
In buffaloes, sexual dimorphism is pronounced. Females are much smaller than males, their horns are small. Often, the hair of cows is lighter, with a pronounced red tint. The weight of an adult buffalo is 700-900 kg, there are individuals of 1200 kg. Height - 1.5-1.8 m, body length - 3-3.4 m.
The buffaloes have a good sense of smell and hearing, and their vision is poor, they are shortsighted. The dwarf species is shorter, the coat is red, only the head and neck are painted black. He lives in a forest zone.
Habitat and lifestyle
African buffalo lives in the shroud, where there is enough rainfall. He keeps close to the watering hole, rarely moves away from him further than 4 km. Animals eat tall grass, which contains a lot of fiber. Shrubs make up about 5% of the diet. Buffalos prefer to eat certain types of herbs, while others eat only involuntarily.
African buffalo is a herd animal. So he can better defend himself from enemies, not a single predator will dare to approach a large group of animals. Even the pride of lions, bulls and heifers are able to drive away, especially when they protect cubs. A herd of buffaloes can range from a few hundred to a thousand heads.
Herds of buffalo move slowly, no large migration was noticed behind them, but in case of danger they can reach speeds of up to 60 km / h. During the rut, which begins in March or April, the herd breaks up into smaller groups.
The main natural enemies of cloven-hoofed animals in Africa are the lion, leopard, cheetah, and less commonly the hyena. Most often they hunt calves and pregnant females, weakened and sick animals. When attacking the victim's defense, the whole herd can stand up. The battle or battle between buffaloes and lions is short, but very fierce. Water buffalo suffer from insects, ticks, some flies lay eggs in their skin, at the base of the horns. Crocodiles can wait for bulls at a watering place, they mainly hunt cubs. In some cases, a hippopotamus, or rer, as the ancient Egyptians called this large animal, may attack.
Wild Asian buffalo - a rare species that lives in India, Nepal, in Sri Lanka, it is acclimatized in Australia. He used to populate vast territories from Mesopotamia to southern China. Now the main habitat of this species is the reserve. The fact is that the intensive development of territories for agricultural land reduces the environment where these large artiodactyls live. Crossbreeding with pets is also a problem, which is difficult to prevent since buffaloes live close to people.
An Asian or Indian buffalo is taller than an African one, but its body is not so powerful, therefore the weight can be somewhat lower. Here is his description and characterization of appearance:
- Head with a square muzzle, down.
- Triangular horns on a section, laid back, bend by an arc, forming a crescent, the length can reach 2 m.
- The body is powerful, muscular, the front part is better developed than the back.
- The skin is covered with liquid black wool.
- The tail is long, with a stiff tassel at the end.
As in the African, the Asian species has sexual dimorphism. The female buffalo is approximately 1.5 times smaller than the male. The average bull weighs 800-900 kg, sometimes reaches 1000 kg and very rarely - 1200 kg.
Habitat and lifestyle
Asian buffalo lives in a wooded or steppe area. Animals need ponds and do not go far from them. In the heat, this type of buffalo likes to wallow in the mud: it not only gives coolness, but also allows you to get rid of parasites. Bulls eat juicy large cereals: they are more choosy to food than African ones. This herbivore grazes in the early morning and late evening, sometimes at night. Prefers to relax during the day.
Water buffaloes from Asia also gather in herds, but not as large as African ones. During the rut period, the herd breaks up into smaller groups. Males arrange among themselves fights for the attention of females. Living near people made Asian buffaloes very angry, because a person for them is always an enemy and a threat to life. A bull can attack even for no apparent reason. If there is a cub at the buffalo, it will protect it even more aggressively.
These large animals have few natural enemies. Tigers, sometimes leopards, crocodiles, hunt for buffalo. In Indonesia, they become victims of an attack by Komodo lizards. Thick-skinned bulls and heifers are plagued by mites and insects, from which they flee in the swamp. There are several species of birds that peck parasites from the skin of a buffalo.
Homemade Asian Buffalo
Domestic buffalo can be seen in the fields of southeast Asia. It is actively used in various sectors of the household. Buffalo milk is very rich and nutritious, although the milk yield is not as large as that of cows. Since this species is not considered sacred, buffalo meat is actively used in India. It is a little tougher than beef, but quite edible.
They are bred as domestic animals in some European countries (Italy, Greece, Hungary). Buffalo milk is used to make the famous Italian mozzarella cheese, although a product made according to the original recipe is now difficult to find. Most manufacturers use cow's milk.
Small island buffalo
In the Philippines, or rather, on the small island of Mindoro, there lives a small dwarf buffalo tamarou. Its height is only 110 cm, the length of the body is 2-3 meters, and its weight is 180-300 kg. In appearance, it looks more like an antelope than a buffalo. The horns of the tamarou buffalo are flat, bent back, each about 40 cm long. They form a triangle at the base. The coat is liquid, black or chocolate, sometimes gray.
Even 100-150 years ago, the places where the tamarou buffalo lives were sparsely populated. On the island of Mindoro, there was a very dangerous strain of malaria, they were afraid to master it. Animals could calmly walk through the tropical thickets without fear of anything, because there are no large predators on the island, and tamarou is the largest species there. But they learned to fight malaria, the island began to be actively populated, which led to a sharp decline in the population. Now in the world there are no more than 100-200 individuals of this species, it is listed in the Red Book.
Another small buffalo lives on the island of Sulawesi. It is called anoa, even smaller in size than tamarou. Anoa is only 80 cm tall and body is 160 cm long. Females weigh about 150 kg and males weigh 300 kg. There is almost no hair on their body, the skin color is black. Calves are born almost red. There are two varieties of this buffalo: mountain and flat buffalo Anoa. In flat Anoa, there are straight horns with a triangular cut, about 25 cm long. In mountain Anoa, they are twisted and round.
The small island buffalo has a lifespan of about 20 years, which is significantly longer than other species. Anoa are now extremely rare. Despite the fact that they are protected in Indonesia, animals often become victims of poachers. Wherever a person appears, active development of the territory begins.
Sulawesi is one of the most densely populated islands, so there is less and less space for anoa, which affects the population in the best way. Perhaps soon this view can only be seen in the photo and video.