The Animals of the Aberdare Ranges of Kenya: Buffalo


Buffalo

Buffalo
Syncerus Caffer

The buffalo is reddish brown to total black in color and belongs to the Bovidae Family.

Both sexes are horned, with the males being heavier and more robust than the female. Males can weigh up to 1,765 ponds (800kg) . The dominant bull is normally the oldest in the herd. Buffalo have a lifespan of up to 20 years in the wild.

Females weigh up to 1,325 ponds (600kg). They become sexually mature at the age of five. The gestation period is 11 months, and only one calf is born.

As a buffalo ages, it might lose hair on the neck and the forehead.

The buffalo is a very adaptable animal and can live in thickets, open grasslands, wooded Savannah, dense forests and marshland.

Although they live peaceably among each other, buffalo are very aggressive and can be extremely dangerous, particularly when cornered or injured and will then charge. A mature male buffalo will take on a pride of lions and is a fierce and formidable adversary. Buffalo have been known to send a lion shimmying up a tree to escape the ferocity of the charge.

Buffalo are exclusively grazers, 80% of their food being grass, and the rest is made up of twigs and leaves.

A buffalo’s natural enemies are lion, man and disease.

The Swahili name for buffalo is Nyati. The Agikuyu, who share their habitat in the Aberdares, call them Mbogo.

The old hunter’s folklore says that the buffalo has a long and unforgiving memory. Buffalo injured by hunters have been known to reconnoiter and ambush the hunter. These encounters normally have a fatal outcome. Buffalo are also said to be well able to express rage. They will charge with tears streaming down their face. They continue to gore until nothing flutters in the wind.

It is considered preferable to face an injured lion than an injured buffalo, an angry buffalo being far more dangerous than an angry lion.

The Animals of the
Aberdare Ranges of Kenya
by
Nyambura Kiarie

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