Little-Known Facts About the Cape Buffalo
Often touted as the most dangerous of the Big Five, the massive, ill-tempered Cape buffalo (Syncerus caffer) ranges throughout the...
Often touted as the most dangerous of the Big Five, the massive, ill-tempered Cape buffalo (Syncerus caffer) ranges throughout the savanna regions of sub-Saharan Africa. Though generally a placid grazer, this oxlike bovid displays cunning and savage behavior when injured or threatened. A full-grown bull will easily stand 5 feet at the shoulder, measure 10 feet from nose to rump, and weigh close to 1,600 pounds. –JACK LARSON
 Oxpecker: Cape buffalo have a symbiotic relationship with the oxpecker, which feeds on dead skin as well as the fleas and ticks that plague the animals.
 Stomach: The four-chambered stomach of the Cape buffalo is best adapted for digesting tough, fibrous grasses, which make up the bulk of its diet on the savannas.
 Legs: The Cape buffalo’s powerful legs are capable of propelling the animal at a swift 37 miles per hour–faster at full gallop than even a pursuing lion.
 Mouth: The prehensile tongue, broad incisors, and enormous molars of the Cape buffalo are especially suitable for grazing on the long, tough grasses of the plains.
 Boss: Males can be distinguished by the horny plate, or boss, that protects the fore-head. It begins to develop at around 3 years and becomes more impressive with age.
 Hide: The Cape buffalo has a thick, protective skin. When threatened, the animal is capable of plowing through dense, thorny brush impenetrable to its pursuers.