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Harvey's Safari Adventure, Day 7

Today, Harvey and his friends got to see another impressive animal... the Cape Buffalo.

This amazing animal might look a bit different than what you think of when you hear the word "buffalo." The one pictured here is a true buffalo. What we call a buffalo in America is actually an American bison, like Harvey's friend Brutus. Here are some cool things to know about the Cape buffalo:

  1. Buffaloes are very large, heavy animals that are similar to cows. Their sizes range from about 660 pounds to 1,840 pounds! They are usually about 4 to 5 feet tall and 7 to 11 feet long.

  2. You might be surprised to learn that an animal this big doesn't eat meat! Buffaloes are herbivores, meaning they only eat plants. Grass is the main item on a buffalo's daily menu.

  3. Both males and females have large, curved horns that they use to protect themselves from other animals. Crocodiles, lions, leopards, and hyenas are all meat-eaters who will attack buffaloes, so God gave them those horns for self-defense.

  4. Buffaloes are extremely social animals and live in large herds - sometimes as big as 2,000 buffaloes or more! Staying together in a large group is another way they can protect themselves from predators. A lion is a lot less likely to single out a buffalo and attack it if it's surrounded by hundreds or thousands of other buffaloes!

  5. Cape buffaloes change colors and start losing their hair as they age. They will likely be a reddish-brown color when they are young, but dark gray or black as adults.

  6. They might be big, but they're not slow! Cape buffaloes can run up to 37 miles per hour!

  7. Buffaloes don't have very good hearing or sight, but they seem to have a well developed sense of smell.

  8. Buffaloes are also pretty bad at regulating their body temperature. That's probably why they eat most of their food at night, when it's cooler outside.

  9. Cape buffaloes have a special relationship with birds. The birds will sit on the backs of the buffaloes and pick off fleas, ticks, and lice to eat. It cleans the buffaloes and provides an easy meal for the birds! The birds also warn the buffaloes when they see danger.

  10. A baby buffalo is called a calf, and it weighs 50 - 90 pounds at birth. A calf can stand on its feet only 10 minutes after it's born!

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