Discover Water Buffalo Fun Facts

Light Future Art is paying special attention to the water buffalo today! And if you’re interested in water buffalo, check out this blog post about American bison afterward!

Water Buffalo in Water1. Water buffalo, true to their name, spend most of their time in marshy waters in Asia’s tropical forests. Their hooves are wider than other bovines’ in order to keep a steady footing on muddy terrain. They are even known to dive underwater to eat plants growing on the lake- or riverbed.
2. Water buffalo are native to South and Southeastern Asia, although domestic populations now live in places as far as Central and South America, the Mediterranean, and Australia.
3. Although water buffalo are a major source of livelihood for many in Southern and Southeastern Asia, the religions of this area often connect water buffalo with death. In Tibet, a water buffalo head was a symbol of death. Yama, the Hindu god of death, rides a water buffalo. Another Hindu figure, Mahishasura, is a half-demon, half-buffalo who is known for being deceitful and evil. In China, though, water buffalos are associated with living a contemplative life.

 

Water Buffalo with Bird on Back4. Water buffalo’s only natural predators are lions and tigers, and those two big cats are usually unsuccessful when hunting water buffalo. They are very aggressive towards predators and will come to each other’s aid. If need be, they can also outrun big cats at speeds of up to 30 miles per hour.
5. Water buffalo don’t rely as much on their eyesight as they do on their hearing. They communicate to one another with snorts and grunts when on the move, and through body language at other times. Touch is an important part of communication between a mother and her calves.
6. The gestation period for water buffalo is the longest of any bovine: 300 to 340 days! At the end of their pregnancy, most water buffalo mothers give birth to one calf. Very rarely do they have twins.

 

Adult Water Buffalo7. Calves nurse from their mothers for 6 to 9 months, and live in their maternal herd for life if female, or until they are three years old if male. The bulls form bachelor groups, much like other animals who form maternal groups.
8. The milk of water buffalo has less cholesterol and lactose than dairy cows’ milk and contains higher levels of protein, iron, and calcium. It is most commonly used in making mozzarella.
9. Water buffalo herds are fairly small. Most herds are only 10 to 20 individuals strong, but some herds might be as large as 100 buffalo. Bachelor herds never get this large and usually stay around 10 bulls.
10. Feral herds in Australia can be even bigger than those in other parts of the world. Maternal groups form clans, and these clans are part of a wider herd of up to 500 cows and calves that come together at night.

 

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