Water Buffaloes

The Water Buffalo is very unpredictable.

"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."

"Can't wait to see THAT," I thought.

A Water Buffalo may charge by itself or as a group.

"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 and Oxpeckers have a symbiotic relationship. They're interdependent.

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!

Water Buffaloes usually live near a swamp. They drink the water, and put mud on their backs to help keep the bugs off.

Think about the many symbiotic relationships there are between the animals of the Serengeti habitat. How would the ecosystem change if the Water Buffalo becomes extinct?

21 thoughts on “Water Buffaloes

  1. I find it very cool that the Water Buffalos allow the birds to sit on their backs. If I were a Buffalo, I would not like the birds sitting on my back, and I would definitely get annoyed by it. The Buffalos seems nice, but it seems like they get agitated and startled easily.

  2. If the water buffoloes are wipped off of the earth then the grass in their area that is high will grow even higher not letting the animals that eat the lower grass like antelopes get through.

  3. If the water buffoloes are wipped off of the earth then the grass in their area that is high will grow even higher not letting the animals that eat the lower grass like antelopes get through.

    • Yes, water buffaloes are easily scared. We stayed very quiet and still in the truck to get the pictures. I also used a zoom lens on my camera so I could get a better picture without being right in the water buffalo’s face!

    • No I haven’t. Whenever the safari truck pulled up, the Water Buffaloes stopped what they were doing and stared at the truck, trying to determine if it was a dangerous animal.

    • No I haven’t. Whenever the safari truck pulled up, the Water Buffaloes stopped what they were doing and stared at the truck, trying to determine if it was a dangerous animal.

  4. I never thouht that a Buffaloes were so heavy. I thouht they were scavengers but now I know. That is cool how the birds eat the tics and bugs!

  5. I  think it is very cool that you got to take the year off to go to South Africa to experiece and learn all these cool things and learn about so many different exotic animals!

  6. it is really cool that you know so much about so many animals and really like water bufflos.  I learned so much on this page

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