Difference Between Bison And African Buffalo : It’s not an uncommon occurrence to find the two-horned ox-like animals; the American bison being equated to the African famous and abundant wildlife buffalo unsurprisingly due to their striking similarities as well as their genetic origin i.e. they all come from the Bovidae family. In slang language, you may even sometimes hear a bison referred to as buffalo or completely interchangeably! to thrill with East Africa Safari Guides.

However, there are several differences between these two animals that live in two different geographies, the American Bison scientifically called (Bison Bison) and the other main species live on completely different continents, thus the natural difference enables them to adapt suitably to their environment.

Their differences are summarized by the three H’s, the home, horn, and humps. 

While the bison is found in America and some parts of Europe, its counter species the African Buffalo, the Cape buffalo scientifically known as (Syncerus Caffer) is predominantly found in Africa. Also, there is another species living in Southeast Asia famously called the water buffalo

The other most obvious is the large hump that is present on the back of the bison but not found on the Buffalo. The hump on the bison acts as a pillow that sweeps away drifts of ice in the winter. The A Bison have a massive head, but buffalo have a head that is smaller and more “cow-like.”

Buffalos live in generally warmer climates than bison hence their predominant existence in the African plains, on the other hand, Bison are able to survive and thrive in harsh conditions, like the bitter cold winters of the prairie. The fur of the American bison is much thicker than the fur of a African buffalo suiting them for the cold habitats.

Another difference is in weight, Bison weighs up to 2500lbs while a Buffalo reaches a maximum of 2000lbs. Also, Bison are slightly taller and can reach up to 6fts while buffalos remain relatively short with a maximum of 4.5 feet.

While a buffalo runs up to 30mph, a bison runs at a speed of about 35mph.

When it comes to senses, a bison has poor eyesight given their near-sightedness coupled with their powerful sense of smell that can detect predators and other animals, miles away in addition to their great auditory abilities. On the other hand, a buffalo is blessed with all the three senses in excellent levels: great sense of smell, very good eyesight, and excellent hearing.

Defensively, a bison uses a trampling technique and sometimes ramming with horns, and a buffalo can both trample and gore enemies with horns.

While both animals remain pretty dangerous, the African Cape buffalo is the most dangerous on earth to hunt. A wounded buffalo would usually make sure to take revenge and it is surely capable given its ranking in terms of strength second to an elephant. Older buffalo are wearier and slyer than young ones giving them a nickname the “dagga boys”. An angry buffalo could storm a vehicle and damage it beyond recognition. There are documented incidences of an old bull, after receiving 3.505 Gibbs shots, still attacking the hunters, the vehicle, and everything else in the near vicinity.

A bison lives an average of 15-25 years while a buffalo lives a little longer up to 25 years, their pastures are pretty much similar while their habitats slightly differ. A bison lives in grasslands, prairies, and forests while a buffalo is found in woodlands, grass pastures, and marshes.

Difference Between Bison And African Buffalo
African Buffalo

Physically, Bison horns are shorter and more pointed than buffalo horns whereas Buffalos are typically more docile animals, allowing them to be more easily domesticated even though it is a very common thing to find a domesticated buffalo. However, there have been attempts to cross the buffalo with a domesticated cow to get bulls that are used in extreme sports and as labor for plowing. Bison are known as aggressive and unpredictable animals. Buffalos are used for both meat and milk production in Asia and Africa. American bison are raised by some farmers/ranchers for their meat. 

Best Buffalo views in Tanzania

Buffalos are one of the celebrated big fives that are found in Tanzania, there are numerous of them usually found in socially able groups to enhance courage and defense against their usual predator the Lion. With the teaming, they would usually sustain a tight security and for an impatient lion, the buffalo may even attack it to death while trying to prey on them.

While it would be a challenge to differentiate a bison from a buffalo, you will have an even more challenge to yourself to differentiate a male from a female buffalo.

Top camps in Tanzania to see buffalo with the best views include the multiple spots within the Nyerere National Park including the sand rivers camps, Beho, and Lake Anze adventure camp.

Aside from the Nyerere National Park, the Ngorongoro Crater, Serengeti, and Tarangire are some of the other parks where buffalo can be viewed just to mention a few.

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