The African buffalo lives from 18-20 human years and has a maturity period of three and a half to five years when it can mate and breed freely. it needs to be noted that some individuals, that have been bred in captivity, manage to live up to almost 30 years of age.
”Dwarf forest buffalo”
Although being nicknamed “dwarf forest buffalo”, the African buffalo is actually a relatively large animal. Its length from head to the end of its large and bulky body is sometimes as much as 340cm! The average is from 170, though, to above 3 metres. The tail usually adds from70cm to 110cm to this number. The height of this ‘dwarf’ animal is about 150cm while its weight varies from 300 to 900 kilograms. Other important visual characteristics for the species that distinguish it from its relatives are the lack of markings on the body, the large head and the very muscular built of the limbs and the body as a whole. When it comes to colours, the African buffalo ranges from dark brown to black, where the darkness of the shade deepens with the higher temperature and longer exposure to the sunlight. One of the things that differ the different species of the African buffalo are the horns. While all females and male have them, the individuals that live in the savannahs are hook-horned while the ones outside of these zones are straighter. The savannah buffalo’s are more similar to coils with the ends curling inwards and then outwards. These horns can reach up to 1.6metres! The forest buffalo, whose fur also darkens with time and may appear as though having markings on its rather brown-red body, has horns that are much shorter – less 40cm and are straight. Other similar species to the African buffalo are the Asian water buffalo that a much slimmer body and thinner horns and the domestic subspecies of the water buffalo (which differs by the smaller horns that are curling at the very tip).
The African buffalo is a species that lives mainly in the warm areas and humid zones. They can be found in savannahs as well as in rainforests. Very active and strong, these animals move in herds that are usually moving 18 hours per day – time spent in finding a good place for the members to sleep and foraging. This species is very able to defend itself and its young ones through brute force and centuries of experience. The only animals that have remained as natural predators for this buffalo type are the lions and crocodiles. Otherwise, there are no other animals that are strong enough to disperse the wall of buffalos and defeat one of the herd’s members in order to feed on it.
This said, however, does not put light on why the number of buffalos has decreased as much as it has during the last decades. The main reason for the future disappearance of this important animal are humans that hunt It for meat, bones, skins and more, destroying their natural habitats and the buffalo as a symbiotic partner to many smaller animals, birds and insects that trust this large scale being to clear their path to food, water and homes.