The Cape buffalo’s range is throughout Sub-Saharan Africa.
Open savannas and grasslands near permanent water sources in eastern and southern Africa.
- Males can reach seven to 11 feet (2.1-3.4 meters) long, weigh nearly 2,000 pounds (907 kg), and stand three to five feet (1-1.7 meters) at the shoulder.
- Females are smaller than males.
- Cape buffalo have dark brown to black fur.
- Both males and females have large curved horns.
- Have drooping, fringed ears.
What Does It Eat?
In the wild: Coarse grasses, leaves, herbs and foliage.
At the zoo: Hay and vitamin supplements.
What Eats It?
Large crocodiles and packs of lions prey on adult buffalo; lions, hyenas and leopards attack young, old or sick buffalo.
Cape buffalo are non-territorial and extremely sociable animals. They live in clans consisting of a dozen or more related cows and their offspring from the past two birthing seasons, accompanied by four or five breeding bulls. Each clan has a “pathfinder” that leads the way to pasture and water. When food is plentiful, the clans gather in large herds of up to 2,000 buffalo.
Breeding is seasonal. Cows have their first calves when they are about five years old. Bulls are mature at about eight years. Gestation is about 340 days - the longest gestation period in the bovine family. Females give birth to a single calf weighing 50-90 pounds (23-40 kg). Calves are up on their feet within 10 minutes after birth and can follow their mothers after several hours. The calves need several weeks to keep up with the herd. Females remain with their clan but adolescent males leave the clan at about three years forming a subgroup that stays with the larger herd. Old bulls past their prime leave the breeding herds and associate in bachelor groups, of 4-5. Cape buffalo can live 15-25 years in the absence of disease.