The buffalo may come across as peaceful and passive at times. They are, in fact, very dangerous and unpredictable. They use their horns for fighting and these are extremely powerful and even bulletproof. Were you to shoot a buffalo's horns, the bullet would merely ricochet.
As gregarious animals they live in herds, which can number in the thousands and in the wild they can live for up to 18 years. Extremely large animals, their front hooves are larger than their hind ones in order to support the heavy bulk of their head and neck. Males and females have horns, but the males' tend to be bigger and are used in fights. Their natural habitat encompasses grass, shade and water as they drink regularly and prefer to stay close to water when feeding. They only mate and give birth to calves during the rainy season. Its main predator is the lion and, of course, humans – having once been a popular trophy for hunters. When danger threatens, buffalos will protect their calves by pushing them into the middle of the herd.
Buffalos in captivity have been known to be susceptible to different conditions, but at Inverdoorn the buffalo herds are healthy and happy. Allowed to roam free, the buffalo herds are flourishing at Inverdoorn.
The African buffalo, affalo, nyati, Mbogo or Cape buffalo (Syncerus caffer) is a large African bovine. The African buffalo is a very robust species. Its shoulder height can range from 1 to 1.7 m (3.3 to 5.6 ft) and its head-and-body length can range from 1.7 to 3.4 m (5.6 to 11 ft). Compared with other large bovids, they have a long but stocky body (their body length can exceed the Wild water buffalo which is rather heavier and taller) and short but thickset legs, resulting in a relatively short standing height.
The tail can range from 70 to 110 cm (28 to 43 in) long. Savannah type buffaloes weigh 500 to 910 kg (1,100 to 2,000 lb), with males, normally larger than females, reaching the upper weight range. A record-sized savannah-type male weighed 1,000 kg (2,200 lb). In comparison, Forest type buffaloes, at 250 to 455 kg (550 to 1,000 lb), are only half that size. Its head is carried low, its top located below the backline. The front hooves of the buffalo are wider than the rear, which is associated with the need to support the weight of the front part of the body, which is more powerful than the back.
Savannah type buffalo have black or dark brown coats with age. Old bulls have whitish circles around their eyes. Females tend to have more reddish coats. Forest type buffalo are reddish brown in colour with horns that curve back and slightly up. Calves of both types have red coats.
The horns of African buffalo are very peculiar. A characteristic feature of them is the fact that the adult bull's horns have fused bases, forming a continuous bone shield referred to as a "boss," which can not always be penetrated even by a rifle bullet. From the base the horns diverge, then bend down, and then smoothly curve upwards and outwards. The distance between the ends of the horns of large bulls is more than a metre. The young buffalo horn boss forms fully only upon reaching the age of 5–6 years. In cows the horns are, on average, 10-20% less, and the boss is less prominent. Forest buffalo horns are much smaller and weaker than those of the savannah buffaloes and are almost never fused. They rarely reach a length of even 40 cm.
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