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Cape Buffalo

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The Cape Buffalo is a large, hoofed mammal that lives on the African savanna. This plant-eater usually lives in large herds of up to a thousand animals. Some herds consist of only males, others consist only of females and their young.

Cape Buffalo can run up to 37 miles per hour (60 kph). Male buffalo fight one another during mating season, ramming each other with their large horns. Oxpeckers are birds that often perch on the Cape Buffalo. These birds eat parasites on the buffalo's skin (like fleas and ticks).

Anatomy: The Cape Buffalo is about 4 to 6 ft (1.2-1.8 m) tall at the shoulder and 8 to 11 feet (2.4-3.4 m) long. Bulls (males) are larger than cows (females). Males weigh about 1,500 pounds (680 kg); females weigh about 1,000 pounds (450 kg). Both bulls and cows have horns. The hide is very thick and the hair is black. Buffaloes have a life span of about 16 years.

Diet: These herbivores (plant-eaters) graze on grass, shrubs and other plants. They swallow their food without chewing it and later regurgitate and chew a cud. Cape Buffalo drink a lot of water and also spend a lot of time wading in water to cool themselves off in hot weather.

Predators: Large crocodiles and packs of lions prey upon Cape Buffalo, usually catching injured or isolated buffalo. The Cape Buffalo will fight its predators using its large horns.

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