Habitat of the Wild Water Buffalo

By Janhvi Johorey, Psychologist specialized in animal therapy. Updated: December 1, 2016
Habitat of the Wild Water Buffalo

The scientific name for the impressive water buffalo is Babulus bubalis. This species is also known by several other names, most of them referencing its habitat. They include:

  • Asian buffalo
  • Indian wild buffalo
  • River buffalo
  • Swamp buffalo
  • Wild Asian water buffalo
  • Wild water buffalo

Water buffaloes are large, powerful animals weighing close to 1,000 kg (2000 lb). The size of water buffaloes is massive, deterring predators from attacking them. Among the most interesting traits of water buffaloes you can find their big horns - they have the widest horn span - and their long gestation period.

The wild water buffalo is endangered, and it's considered more dangerous than its domesticated counterpart. Do you want to learn more about this fascinating species? Stay with us at AnimalWised and learn all about the habitat of the wild water buffalo.

Where do wild water buffaloes live?

The wild water buffalo or Asian buffalo is the largest member of the Bovidae family, which includes the bison, the yak, the African buffalo and other wild cattle species. It originated in Asia but has since moved to Australia, Africa, Europe and North America.

Unlike other buffaloes, wild water buffaloes are most often found wallowing in muddy water holes. This is one of the main differences between buffaloes, water buffaloes and bison. Spending time in water ensures that these buffaloes remain cool. Water buffaloes have very few sweat glands, so they need the help. Moreover, the consequent mud covering protects them from midges.

Habitat of the Wild Water Buffalo - Where do wild water buffaloes live?

How big are wild water buffaloes?

The wild water buffalo is the largest bovine in the world, measuring 2.4–2.7 m (7'10''-8'10'') from the head to the rump. Additional 65-100 cm (2' to 3'3'') long tails and a massive weight of 700 to 1200 kg (1,500 to 2,650 lb) makes the water buffalo huge. Male water buffaloes have large, curved horns and are a third larger than those of a female.

The wild water buffalo lives in herds with anywhere from small numbers to massive groups. Herds of wild water buffaloes are led by old females. Buffalo herds don't usually have more than 30 members, but when they gather together into clans - as has happened in Africa - they can appear to have hundreds of animals per herd.

Asia: The wild water buffalo's home

Wild water buffaloes spend most of their time in the muddy waters of Asia's tropical and subtropical forests. The water buffalo is able to maintain its cool in the heat and humidity of the jungle, and it's perfectly adapted to its habitat.

The hooves on the wild water buffalo's feet are spread out, which permits the water buffalo to stop from sinking in swamps and river beds, allowing them to move around wetlands. The wild water buffalo is a herbivorous animal. It eats aquatic plants in water, but marshes are perfect for foraging, and wild water buffaloes prefer to graze on grasses herbs and leaves found in the grasslands where they flourish.

Habitat of the Wild Water Buffalo - Asia: The wild water buffalo's home

Commercial farming and domestic water buffaloes

Although the wild Asian water buffalo is endangered, commercial farmers raise a domesticated variety of water buffaloes across the globe. They are the same species, but over time they have developed different characteristics. For instance, domestic water buffaloes are smaller.

By some estimates, there are more than 150 million commercially farmed water buffaloes across the globe. They are farmed for meat, leather and milk. Water buffaloes have been domesticated for more than 5,000 years, which explains the immense population.

Wild water buffaloes: In muddy waters?

Since wild water buffaloes are endangered, many live in protected areas stretching across Bhutan, Nepal and India and a wildlife Thai reserve. Their population is on the decline as they interbreed with the domesticated water buffalo. Here you can learn more about why is the wild water buffalo endangered.

Other habitats of wild water buffaloes

Wild water buffaloes not only live in tropical forests, but also in grasslands, swamps, lowland floodplains, savannas, mixed forest and glades. One common factor in the wild water buffalo's habitats is that these animals never go beyond 12 miles from a water body.

Water buffaloes also lie under trees to keep cool and graze in the fresh air at night. Water buffalo herds are segregated according to sex. Young males stay with the maternal herd for about three years and then join the male herd. Maternal herds have a mixture of females and calves. The leader is always an old cow.

Habitat of the Wild Water Buffalo - Other habitats of wild water buffaloes

Long lifespan on the decline

The wild water buffalo lives for around 25 years. It is currently endangered, and there are few areas where the water buffalo still thrives. Asia was the area where the wild water buffalo originated and was domesticated.

The domestic variety is now doing well in Australia, where humans bred it. Water buffaloes live in regions where there is warm temperature and plenty of water and mud for them. This is why they do well in tropical and subtropical regions. Currently, the domestic water buffalo is also found in South America, Southern Europe and Northern Africa.

Nowadays, many water buffaloes are living in reserves instead of forests due to habitat loss. The wild water buffalo's habitat is disappearing, and we must do our best to protect it.

If you want to read similar articles to Habitat of the Wild Water Buffalo, we recommend you visit our Facts about the animal kingdom category.

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