Búffalo acuático, Búffalo Asiático de agua (Sp), Wasserbüffel, Sumpfbüffel (G), Buffle d'eau, Buffle de l'Inde (F). Also called Asian water buffalo or Indian water buffalo. Some authorities distinguish between the domestic (including feral) water buffalo as Bubalus bubalis and the wild Asian water buffalo as B. arnee, while others, including ourselves, do not differentiate. As it was the domestic form that was first described for science, the name bubalis Linnaeus, 1758 takes precedence.
DESCRIPTION The wild water buffalo in Asia stood 59-75 inches (150-190 cm) at the shoulder and weighed 1,550-2,650 pounds (700-1,200 kg). The domestic form is usually smaller, measuring 48-60 inches (122-152 cm) and weighing 550-1,200 pounds (250-550 kg). Females are smaller than males.
A large, heavily built animal with stout legs, large, splayed hoofs, a large head and a large, hairless muzzle. The ears are relatively small and lightly haired. The tail reaches to the hocks and ends in a small tuft. Coloration is normally black or gray with the lower legs a dirty white. The coat is moderately long, coarse and sparse, with the hairs directed forward from hindquarters to head. The horns (both sexes) are heavy at the base, triangular in section, flat on top with conspicuous wrinkles, and grow out from the sides of the head without forming a boss, in a variety of configurations. The horns of the female are rounder and slimmer than those of the male, but are sometimes considerably longer.
DISTRIBUTION Private ranches in Texas and Florida.
REMARKS Wild water buffaloes were once widespread in southern Asia, but have disappeared from most of their original range, occurring now only in parts of Nepal and northeastern India in greatly reduced numbers, and are listed as endangered. They were domesticated about 5,000 years ago and have been widely introduced outside their natural range. Today, at least 130 million are found throughout the world in warmer climates, both as domestic and feral animals. There are no biological differences between the wild and domestic varieties; however, the domestic water buffalo may be smaller and have smaller, more tightly curled horns. Water buffaloes on game ranches in North America are of this type.
HYBRIDIZATION The water buffalo is either known or believed to crossbreed, or to be the result of hybridization, when in a game ranch environment.