"Water Buffaloes are one of the most dangerous animals you can come across in the Serengeti," Robert told us. "That's because they're unpredictable. They'll give you no warning before they charge." He told us this as a warning so we would keep quiet as he drove slowly toward a herd.
"When they become startled," he continued, "They freeze, staring at the danger. Their noses start to run and they have diarrhea."
"The next moment they may back away or they may charge right at the danger with their heads down, and their horns looking for trouble! And it's not just the males who have horns. The females have them too!"
Take a look at this video and you can see what we saw. Notice how some stand guard while others go back to their grazing.
These massive animals can be over 5 1/2 feet tall and weigh 2000 pounds! It takes several lions working together to bring down a single buffalo.
They have a very democratic way of deciding where to graze next. During rest time, the females stand up, shuffle around, and then sit down facing the direction they think the herd should go. The majority wins the vote, and the herd knows where to head next!
Like many other animals, Water Buffaloes make many different sounds to communicate with each other. Each one means something different. For example, a low deep sound means, "Let's get going." A loud call made toward an enemy means, "Back off or I'm going to attack you!" A high-pitched call means, "I want my mommy!"
The Water Buffalo has a symbiotic relationship with other animals on the Serengeti. Like the zebras, the buffaloes eat tall coarse grass. This leaves the shorter, more tender grass for the other herbivores, such as the antelopes. They are interdependent because they depend on each other to survive. Similarly, the buffalo allows Oxpeckers to sit on its back and eat the ticks and bugs that are annoying the buffalo. It even lets them eat the bugs out of its nose and ears!