Buffalo Facts: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Diane Sieverson

Diane has taught all subjects at the elementary level, was the principal of a K-8 private school and has a master's degree in Measurement and Evaluation.

African buffalos are large animals that live in Africa. This lesson will teach you about African buffalos, what their habitat is like, what they eat, how big they can get, and some other neat facts about these buffalos.

What Are Buffalos?

You are walking through a grassy area when suddenly you see a group of large animals, some with big horns. You decide not to get too close, which is smart because you are watching a herd of African buffalos!

African buffalos are large bovine animals that live in Africa that have hooves divided into two toes and a stomach with four chambers to help them digest their food. Bovines are cattle animals, like cows and yaks.

African buffalo are sometimes confused with American bison which aren't really buffalo. Another similar animal is called the water buffalos. Water buffalo are bigger than African buffalos, but live in Asia.

Both males and female African buffalos have horns on their head, which can grow to be more than four feet tip to tip. That's about half a foot longer than the average adult man's leg! Just like people have different hair colors, African buffalos can have different-colored fur, which may be black, dark brown, muddy brown, or red.

The biggest kind of male African buffalos can weigh more than 1,800 pounds, which is more than two and a half times heavier than a brown bear!

Kinds of African Buffalos

Though they are all related, there are different kinds of buffalos that live in different areas in Africa, and sometimes their ranges, the land they live on, overlap. Those buffalos are:

Cape buffalo
Cape buffalo

  • The Cape buffalo lives in eastern and southern Africa, including the country of South Africa, on savanna (grasslands).
  • Forest buffalo live in central and western Africa and like rainforests; their range overlaps with the Cape buffalo's.
  • West African savanna buffalo live in the central northwestern part of Africa in countries near the coast on savannas; their range overlaps with the forest buffalo's.
  • Central African savanna buffalo live in the central part of Africa on savannas; their range overlaps with that of the other kinds of buffalo.

Life in the Herd

African buffalos like to hang out together in groups called herds. Some herds, called mixed herds, have males, females, and babies. Other herds, called bachelor herds, only have males.

Buffalo herd
Buffalo herd

Some African buffalo herds may only have a few members, while others can have around 2,000!

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