Mud, mud, glorious mud

It is mud season in Maine, but also in the South Luangwa valley.

Competing with the kudu on the horn front, the African or Cape Buffalo (Syncerus kaffer) has a formidable pair. The bases of the two horns have fused, forming a continuous bony shield called a boss.


This fellow was one of a pair of old bulls, wandering forlornly around having just come from a comforting roll in the mud. The older animals especially like the mud, because their coat is thinning, with bald spots, and the mud protects against parasites, and the strong sun. A new treatment for male-pattern baldness, perhaps?

You can see the teeth of the one below, showing clearly how the sharp incisors cut the grass, the tongue bundles it up, and the rear molars grind their food down; see how worn they are by this age. Because of this, when they are older they seek out areas with tender young grass that is easier on their teeth.

Buffalo. Note his teeth.

They have poor eyesight, but they are extremely dangerous if you catch their attention, and they charge. They can measure up to 1.7m  (5.6 ft) at the shoulder, and weigh up to 1000Kg (2200lbs), so it is a good idea to get out of the way fast.


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