The African civet is a large viverrid native to sub-Saharan Africa, where it is considered common and distributed in woodlands and secondary forests. It is listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List since 2008. In some countries, it is threatened by hunting, wild-caught individuals are kept for producing civetone for the perfume industry; the African civet is nocturnal and spends the day sleeping in dense vegetation, but wakes up at sunset. It is a solitary mammal with a unique coloration: the black and white stripes and blotches covering its coarse pelage are an effective cryptic pattern; the black bands surrounding its eyes resemble those of the raccoon. Other distinguishing features are its disproportionately large hindquarters and its erectile dorsal crest, it is an omnivorous generalist, preying on small vertebrates, eggs and vegetable matter. It is capable of killing venomous snakes. Prey is detected by smell and sound rather than by sight, it is the sole member of its genus. Viverra civetta was the scientific name introduced in 1776 by Johann Christian Daniel von Schreber when he described African civets based on previous descriptions and accounts.
Schreber is therefore considered the binomial authority. In 1915, Reginald Innes Pocock described the structural differences between feet of African and large Indian civet specimens in the zoological collection of the Natural History Museum, London; because of marked differences, he proposed Civettictis as a new genus, with C. civetta as only species. The following subspecies were proposed in the 20th century: C. c. congica described by Ángel Cabrera in 1929 was a zoological specimen from the upper Congo River. C. c. schwarzi was proposed by Cabrera in 1929 for African civet specimens from East Africa. C. c. australis described by Bengt G. Lundholm in 1955 was based on a male type specimen and three paratype specimens collected near the Olifants River in northeastern Transvaal province. C. c. volkmanni described by Lundholm in 1955 was a specimen from the vicinity of Otavi in Namibia. C. c. pauli described in 2000 by Dieter Kock, Künzel and Rayaleh was a specimen collected close to the coast near Djibouti.
A 1969 study noted that this civet showed enough differences from the rest of the viverrines in terms of dentition to be classified under its own genus. A 2006 phylogenetic study showed that the African civet is related to the genus Viverra, it was estimated. The authors suggested that the subfamily Viverrinae should be bifurcated into Genettinae and Viverrinae; the following cladogram is based on this study. The generic name Civettictis is a fusion of the French word civette and the Greek word ictis, meaning "weasel"; the specific name civetta and the common name "civet" come from the French civette or the Arabic zabād or sinnawr al-zabād. The African civet is the largest viverrid in Africa, its head-and-body length is a weight range from 7 to 20 kg. Females are smaller than males, its shoulder height averages 40 cm. It is a stocky animal with a long body and appears short-legged for its size although its hind limbs are noticeably larger and more powerful; the African civet has a short broad neck, a pointed muzzle, small rounded ears, small eyes and a long bushy tail.
It has five digits per manus in which the first toe is set back from the others. It has long, semi-retractile claws, its feet are compact and unsuitable for digging or climbing and the soles of the feet are hairless. It has a modified synapsid skull, heavy-built and is the longest of any viverrid; the zygomatic arch provides a large area for attachment of the masseter muscle. The skull has a well-developed sagittal crest which provides a large area for attachment of the temporalis muscle; this musculature and the African civet's strong mandible give it a powerful bite oriented to its omnivorous diet. It has 40 teeth and a dental formula of 188.8.131.52.1.4.2Like many mammals, the African civet has two types of fur - under fur and guard hairs. The pelage of the African civet is wiry; the coat is unique to each individual, just like a human fingerprint. The dorsal base color of the fur varies from white to creamy yellow to reddish; the stripes and blotches which cover the animal are deep brown to black in coloration.
Horizontal lines are prominent on the hind limbs, spots are present on the midsection of the animal and fade anteriorly into vertical stripes above the forelimbs. The tail of the African civet is black with a few white bands and the paws are black; the head and ears are marked. A black band stretches across its eyes like that of a raccoon and the coloration of its neck is referred to as a double collar because of the two black neck bands. Following the spine of the animal extending from the neck to the base of the tail is the erectile dorsal crest; the hairs of the erectile crest are longer than those of the rest of the pelage. If an African civet feels threatened, it raises its dorsal crest to make itself look larger and thus more formidable and dangerous to attack; this behavior is a predatory defense. The perineal gland is what this civet has been most harvested for; this gland secretes a white or yellow waxy substance called civet, used by civets for marking territory and by humans as a perfume base.
Perineal and anal glands are found in both male and female African civets, the glands are bigger in males, which can p
Crocodiles or true crocodiles are large semiaquatic reptiles that live throughout the tropics in Africa, the Americas and Australia. Crocodylinae, all of whose members are considered true crocodiles, is classified as a biological subfamily. A broader sense of the term crocodile, Crocodylidae that includes Tomistoma, is not used in this article; the term crocodile here applies to only the species within the subfamily of Crocodylinae. The term is sometimes used more loosely to include all extant members of the order Crocodilia, which includes the alligators and caimans, the gharial and false gharial, all other living and fossil Crocodylomorpha. Although they appear similar, crocodiles and the gharial belong to separate biological families; the gharial, with its narrow snout, is easier to distinguish, while morphological differences are more difficult to spot in crocodiles and alligators. The most obvious external differences are visible in the head, with crocodiles having narrower and longer heads, with a more V-shaped than a U-shaped snout compared to alligators and caimans.
Another obvious trait is that the upper and lower jaws of the crocodiles are the same width, the teeth in the lower jaw fall along the edge or outside the upper jaw when the mouth is closed. When the crocodile's mouth is closed, the large fourth tooth in the lower jaw fits into a constriction in the upper jaw. For hard-to-distinguish specimens, the protruding tooth is the most reliable feature to define the species' family. Crocodiles have more webbing on the toes of the hind feet and can better tolerate saltwater due to specialized salt glands for filtering out salt, which are present, but non-functioning, in alligators. Another trait that separates crocodiles from other crocodilians is their much higher levels of aggression. Crocodile size, morphology and ecology differ somewhat among species. However, they have many similarities in these areas as well. All crocodiles are semiaquatic and tend to congregate in freshwater habitats such as rivers, lakes and sometimes in brackish water and saltwater.
They are carnivorous animals, feeding on vertebrates such as fish, reptiles and mammals, sometimes on invertebrates such as molluscs and crustaceans, depending on species and age. All crocodiles are tropical species that, unlike alligators, are sensitive to cold, they separated from other crocodilians during the Eocene epoch, about 55 million years ago. Many species are at the risk of some being classified as critically endangered; the word "crocodile" comes from the Ancient Greek κροκόδιλος, "lizard", used in the phrase ho krokódilos tou potamoú, "the lizard of the river". There are several variant Greek forms of the word attested, including the form κροκόδειλος found cited in many English reference works. In the Koine Greek of Roman times and crocodeilos would have been pronounced identically, either or both may be the source of the Latinized form crocodīlus used by the ancient Romans. Crocodilos or crocodeilos is a compound of krokè, drilos/dreilos, although drilos is only attested as a colloquial term for "penis".
It is ascribed to Herodotus, describes the basking habits of the Egyptian crocodile. The form crocodrillus is attested in Medieval Latin, it is not clear whether this derives from alternative Greco-Latin forms. A corrupted form cocodrille was borrowed into Middle English as cocodril; the Modern English form crocodile was adapted directly from the Classical Latin crocodīlus in the 16th century, replacing the earlier form. The use of -y- in the scientific name Crocodylus is a corruption introduced by Laurenti. A total of 15 extant species have been recognized. Further genetic study is needed for the confirmation of proposed species under the genus Osteolaemus, monotypic. A crocodile's physical traits allow it to be a successful predator, its external morphology is a sign of its predatory lifestyle. Its streamlined body enables it to swim swiftly. Crocodiles have webbed feet which, though not used to propel them through the water, allow them to make fast turns and sudden moves in the water or initiate swimming.
Webbed feet are an advantage in shallow water. Crocodiles have a palatal flap, a rigid tissue at the back of the mouth that blocks the entry of water; the palate has a special path from the nostril to the glottis. The nostrils are closed during submergence. Like other archosaurs, crocodilians are diapsid; the walls of the braincase lack supratemporal and postfrontal bones. Their tongues are not held in place by a membrane that limits movement. Crocodiles have smooth skin on their bellies and sides, while their dorsal surfaces are armoured with large osteoderms; the armoured skin is thick and rugged, providing some protection. They are still able to absorb heat through this armour, as a network of small capillaries allows blood through the scales to absorb heat. Crocodilian scales have pores believed to be sensory in function, analogous to the lateral line in fishes, they are seen on their upper an
African forest elephant
The African forest elephant is a forest-dwelling species of elephant found in the Congo Basin. It is the smallest of the three extant species of elephant, but still one of the largest living terrestrial animals; the African forest elephant and the African bush elephant, L. africana, were considered to be one species until genetic studies indicated that they separated an estimated 2–7 million years ago. From an estimated population size of over 2 million prior to the colonization of Africa, the population in 2015 is estimated to be about 100,000 forest elephants living in the forests of Gabon. Due to a slower birth rate, the forest elephant takes longer to recover from poaching, which caused its population to fall by 65% from 2002 to 2014; the African forest elephant was once considered to be a subspecies, Loxodonta africana cyclotis, of the African elephant, together with the African bush elephant. DNA tests, indicated that the two populations were much more genetically distinct than believed.
In 2010, a genetic study confirmed they are separate species which diverged from each other an estimated two to seven million years ago. Still, many governmental and non-governmental agencies consider the forest elephant to be a subspecies for regulatory and conservation purposes. In 2016, DNA sequence analysis argued that L. cyclotis is more related to the extinct European straight-tusked elephant, Palaeoloxodon antiquus, than it is to L. africana. The disputed pygmy elephants of the Congo Basin considered to be a separate species are forest elephants whose diminutive size or early maturity is due to environmental conditions; these forest-dwelling elephants are smaller and darker than their savanna relatives, the bush elephants. The species has five toenails on the fore foot and four on the hind foot, like the Asian elephant, but unlike the African bush elephant, which has four toenails on the fore foot and three on the hind foot, they protect themselves from the sun by using sand. A male African forest elephant exceeds 2.5 m in height smaller than the bush species,which is over 3 m and sometimes 4 m tall.
L. cyclotis weighs around 2.7 tonnes, with the largest specimens attaining 6 tonnes. Pygmy elephants of the Congo Basin, presumed to be a subgroup of L. cyclotis, have weighed as little as 900 kg as adults. Elephants have sensitive skin which can make them prone to sunburn when young; the wrinkles in the elephants’ skin help keep them cool by giving heat a larger surface area through which it can dissipate. The creases in the hide of the elephant absorb moisture longer than one with smooth skin. Since these elephants live in areas where temperatures can reach up to 120 degrees Fahrenheit in the daytime, the forest elephants skin is more wrinkled than that of Asian elephants. Compared to the bush elephant, the African forest elephant has a longer, more narrow mandible, its tusks are point downward, unlike the savanna elephants that have curved tusks. They are harder and have a more yellow or brownish colour; these strong tusks are used to push through the dense undergrowth of their habitat and bull elephants are sometimes known to have exceptionally long tusks that reach to the ground.
Their tusks can grow to about 1.5 m long and can weigh between 50 and 100 pounds, around the same size as a small adult human. Males use their tusks when fighting with one another and to establish dominance; the top lip and nose are elongated into a trunk, distinctly more hairy than savanna elephants. The trunk, having sensitive tactile perception, serves numerous functions. Elephant trunks are more sensitive than human fingers and are used for signaling, detection and snorkeling through water, sound production and communication, bathing and offense, their trunks have over 100,000 individual muscles, making them strong and useful appendages. The trunk of this species ends in two opposing processes, which contrasts that of the Asian elephant, whose trunk concludes in a single process. Forest elephants have more rounded ears than the bush elephant, their ears serve as a cooling system and by flapping them, they can reduce their body temperature by up to 10 degrees Fahrenheit. Air permeates the thin ears of the elephant, thereby cooling blood as it goes through a web of blood vessels inside the ear before going back to the body.
African forest elephants travel in smaller groups than other elephant species. A typical group size consists of two to eight individuals; the average family unit is three to five members made up of female relatives. Most family groups are a mother and several of her offspring, or several groups of females and their offspring that interact with one another at forest clearings. Female offspring are philopatric, male offspring disperse at maturity. Unlike African savanna elephants, African forest elephants do not interact with other family groups. Male African forest elephants tend to be solitary and only associate with other elephants during the mating season. Males have a dominance hierarchy based on size. Since this species is newly recognized, little to no literature is available on communication and perception. For these mammals and smell are the most important senses they possess because they do not have good eyesight, they can recognize and hear vibrations through the gro
African golden wolf
The African golden wolf known as the Egyptian jackal or grey jackal, is a canid native to north and northeastern Africa. The species is the descendant of a genetically admixed canid of 72% grey wolf and 28% Ethiopian wolf ancestry; the species is common in north-west and north-east Africa, occurring from Senegal to Egypt in the east, in a range including Morocco, Algeria and Libya in the north to Nigeria and Tanzania in the south. It is a desert-adapted canid, is common in plains and steppe areas, including ones lacking abundant water. In the Atlas Mountains, the species has been sighted in elevations as high as 1,800 metres, it is a predator, targeting invertebrates and mammals as large as gazelle fawns, though larger animals are sometimes taken. Other foodstuffs include animal carcasses, human refuse, fruit; the African wolf is a monogamous and territorial animal, whose social structure includes yearling offspring remaining with the family to assist in raising their parents' younger pups. It was classified as an African variant of the Eurasian golden jackal, with at least one subspecies having been classified as a grey wolf.
In 2015, a series of analyses on the species' mitochondrial DNA and nuclear genome demonstrated that it was in fact distinct from both the golden jackal and the grey wolf, more related to grey wolves and coyotes. It is nonetheless still close enough to the golden jackal to produce hybrid offspring, as indicated through genetic tests on jackals in Israel and a 19th-century captive crossbreeding experiment; the IUCN has assessed the African wolf's conservation status as Least Concern. It plays a prominent role in some African cultures; the African wolf is intermediate in size between the African jackals and small subspecies of grey wolves, with both sexes weighing 7–15 kg, standing 40 cm in height. There is however a high degree of size variation geographically, with Western and Northern African specimens being larger than their East African cousins, it has a long snout and ears, while the tail is comparatively short, measuring 20 cm in length. Fur colour varies individually and geographically, though the typical colouration is yellowish to silvery grey, with reddish limbs and black speckling on the tail and shoulders.
The throat and facial markings are white, the eyes are amber coloured. Females bear two to four pairs of teats. Although superficially similar to the Eurasian golden jackal, the African golden wolf has a more pointed muzzle and sharper, more robust teeth; the ears are longer in the African wolf, the skull has a more elevated forehead. Aristotle wrote of wolves living in Egypt. Georg Ebers wrote of the wolf being among the sacred animals of Egypt, describing it as a "smaller variety" of wolf to those of Europe, noting how the name Lykopolis, the Ancient Egyptian city dedicated to Anubis, means "city of the wolf"; the African golden wolf was first recognised as being a separate species from the Eurasian golden jackal by Frédéric Cuvier in 1820, who described it as being a more elegant animal, with a more melodic voice and a less strong odour. The binomial name he chose for it was derived from the Arcadian Anthus family described by Pliny the Elder in his Natural History, whose members would draw lots to become werewolves.
Eduard Rüppell proposed that the animal was the ancestor of Egyptian sighthounds, named it Wolf's-hund, while Charles Hamilton Smith named it "thoa" or "thous dog". An attempt was made in 1821 to hybridise the two species in captivity, resulting in the birth of five pups, three of which died before weaning; the two survivors were noted to never play with each other and had contrasting temperaments. English biologist St. George Jackson Mivart emphasised the differences between the African wolf and the golden jackal in his writings: it is a nice question whether the Common Jackal of North Africa should or should not be regarded as of the same species... The differences of coloration which exist between these forms is not nearly so great as those which are to be found to occur between the different local varieties of C. lupus. We are inclined... to keep the North-African and Indian Jackals distinct... The reasons why we prefer to keep them provisionally distinct is that though the difference between the two forms is slight as regards coloration, yet it appears to be a constant one.
Out of seventeen skins of the Indian form, we have only found one, wanting in the main characteristic as to difference of hue. The ears are shorter than in the North-African form, but there is another character. However much the different races of Wolves differ in size, we have not succeeded in finding any constant distinctive characters in the form of the skull or the proportions of the lobes of any of the teeth. So far as we have been able to observe, such differences do exist between the Indian and North-African Jackals; the canids present in Egypt in particular were noted to be so much more grey wolf-like than populations elsewhere in Africa that Hemprich and Ehrenberg gave them the binomial name Canis lupaster in 1832. Thomas Henry Huxley, upon noting t
African bush elephant
The African bush elephant known as the African savanna elephant, is the larger of the two species of African elephants, the largest living terrestrial animal. These elephants were regarded as the same species, but the African forest elephant has been reclassified as L. cyclotis. The bush elephant is much larger in height and weight than the forest elephant, while the forest elephant has rounder ears and a trunk that tends to be more hairy; the adult bush elephant has no predators other than humans. While the most numerous of the three extant elephant species, its population continues to decline due to poaching for ivory and destruction of habitat. Elephants are social animals, traveling in herds of females and adolescents, while adult males live alone; the desert elephant or desert-adapted elephant is not a distinct species of elephant, but there are African bush elephants that live in the Namib and Sahara deserts. The African bush elephant and the African forest elephant were once considered to be a single species, but recent genetic studies have revealed that they are separate species and split 2 to 7 million years ago.
A detailed genetic study in 2010 confirmed that the African bush elephant and the African forest elephant are distinct species. By sequencing DNA of 375 nuclear genes, scientists determined that the two species diverged around the same time as the Asian elephant and the woolly mammoth, are as distinct from one another as those two species are from each other; as of December 2010, conservation organisations, such as the United Nations Environment Programme's World Conservation Monitoring Centre and the International Union for Conservation of Nature, had not distinguished between the two species of African elephants for purposes of assessing their conservation status. As of March 2010, the IUCN Red List classified African elephants as a whole as vulnerable species and the Central African elephant population as endangered. Another possible species or subspecies existed; the North African elephant known as the Carthaginian elephant or Atlas elephant, was the animal famously used as a war elephant by Carthage in its many wars with Rome.
The African bush elephant has several distinct features which sets them apart from other similar species. They are larger than the African forest elephant, which has rounder ears and straighter tusks; the bush elephant is known to have a concave back with stocky legs and a thickset body, compared to the Asian elephant who has a convex back. The African bush elephant's trunk has more than 40,000 muscles and tendons that allows them to lift heavy objects, they tend to have dull brownish-grey skin, wrinkly with black bristly hairs, large ears, a long and flattened tail. The skull of the African elephant is large, making up twenty-five percent of its total body weight; the estimated population size is near 300,000, they live up to 70 years in age when in the wild. However, in captivity, they tend to only live up to 65 years. African elephants utilize their long trunks and four large molars to break down and consume a large bulk of plants, shrubs and branches. In particular, they use their trunks to strip leaves, break branches, dismantle tree bark, unearth roots, drink water, bathe.
Without their trunks, these elephants would find their everyday routine of bathing and eating more difficult. Their molars, aiding in the consumption and digestion process, measures nearly 10 cm wide and 30 cm long withering away until the age of 15. Towards the age of 30, their baby teeth known as their milk teeth, are replaced by a new set which are larger and stronger; as these elephants age, their teeth undergo two more stages of growth, ages 40 and 65-70, until the animal dies from an inability to appropriately feed. The African bush elephant is the largest and heaviest land animal on Earth, being up to 3.96 metres tall at the shoulder and 10.4 tonnes in weight. On average, males are about 3.2 metres tall at the shoulder and 6 tonnes in weight, while females are much smaller at about 2.6 metres tall at the shoulder and 3 tonnes in weight. Elephants attain their maximum stature when they complete the fusion of long-bone epiphyses, occurring in males around the age of 40 and females around the age of 25.
Their large size means that they must consume around 50 gallons of water every day in order to stay hydrated. Birthing of the African bush elephant hits its highest point just before the rainy season of each year. Females carry their young in the womb for about 22 months, known as the gestation period, they give birth every five years; when born, calves can immediately walk to maximize their chances of survival. Newborns tend to weigh around 90 -- 120 kg. Females tend to reach sexual maturity at age 10, but they are most fertile from ages 25 to 45; the mating system of the African bush elephant includes females and males both pairing with several others at a time known as polygamy. The African bush elephant can first reproduce at the age of 9.5 years. Generation length of the African bush elephant is 25 years. Mating happens; when she is ready, she starts emitting infrasounds to attract the males, sometimes from kilometers away. The adult males start arriving at the herd during the
The common eland known as the southern eland or eland antelope, is a savannah and plains antelope found in East and Southern Africa. It is a species of the family genus Taurotragus, it was first described by Peter Simon Pallas in 1766. An adult male is around 1.6 metres tall at the shoulder and can weigh up to 942 kg with an average of 500–600 kg, 340–445 kg for females). It is the second largest antelope in the world, being smaller on average than the giant eland. An herbivore, its diet is grasses and leaves. Common elands are not territorial; the common eland prefers habitats with a wide variety of flowering plants such as savannah and open and montane grasslands. It uses loud barks and postural movements and the flehmen response to communicate and warn others of danger; the common eland is used by humans for leather and rich, nutritious milk, has been domesticated in many areas. It is native to Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe but is no longer present in Burundi.
While the common eland's population is decreasing, it is classified as "Least Concern" by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The scientific name of the common eland is Taurotragus oryx, composed of three words: tauros and oryx. Tauros is Greek for a bullock, meaning the same as the Latin taurus. Tragos is Greek for a male goat, referring to the tuft of hair that grows in the eland's ear and its resemblance to a goat's beard. Oryx is Latin and Greek for pickaxe, referring to the pointed horns of North African antelopes like the common eland and scimitar-horned oryx; the name'eland' is Dutch for "elk" or "moose". It has a Baltic source similar to the Lithuanian élnis, which means "deer", it was borrowed earlier as ellan in the Elend. When Dutch settlers came to the Cape Province, they named it after the herbivorous moose. In Dutch the animal is called "Eland antelope" to distinguish it from the moose, found in the northern boreal forests. Common elands are spiral-horned antelopes.
They are sexually dimorphic, with females being smaller than the males. Females weigh 300–600 kg, measure 200–280 cm from the snout to the base of the tail and stand 125–153 cm at the shoulder. Bulls weigh 400–942 kg, are 240–345 cm from the snout to the base of the tail and stand 150–183 cm at the shoulder; the tail is 50–90 cm long. Male elands can weigh up to 1,000 kg, their coat differs geographically, with elands in north Africa having distinctive markings that are absent in the south. Apart from a rough mane, the coat is smooth. Females have a tan coat. Bulls may have a series of vertical white stripes on their sides; as males age, their coat becomes more grey. Males have dense fur on their foreheads and a large dewlap on their throats. Both sexes have horns with a steady spiral ridge; the horns are visible as small buds in newborns and grow during the first seven months. The horns of males are thicker and shorter than those of females, have a tighter spiral. Males use their horns during rutting season to wrestle and butt heads with rivals, while females use their horns to protect their young from predators.
The common eland is the slowest antelope, with a peak speed of 40 kilometres per hour that tires them quickly. However, they can maintain a 22 kilometres per hour trot indefinitely. Elands are capable of jumping up to 2.5 metres from a standing start. The common eland's life expectancy is between 15 and 20 years. Eland herds are accompanied by a loud clicking sound, subject to considerable speculation, it is believed that the weight of the animal causes the two halves of its hooves to splay apart, the clicking is the result of the hoof snapping together when the animal raises its leg. The sound carries some distance from a herd, may be a form of communication; the common eland was first described in 1766 by the German zoologist and botanist Peter Simon Pallas. It belongs to family Bovidae and subfamily Bovinae. Common elands are sometimes considered part of the genus Tragelaphus on the basis of molecular phylogenetics, but are categorized as Taurotragus, along with the giant eland. Three subspecies of common eland have been recognized.
T. o. oryx: called alces, barbatus and oreas. It is found in southwest Africa; the fur is tawny, adults lose their stripes. T. o. livingstonii: called kaufmanni, niediecki and triangularis. It is found in the Central Zambezian Miombo woodlands. Livingstone's eland has a brown pelt with up to twelve stripes. T. o. pattersonianus: called billingae. It is found in east Africa, hence its common name, its coat can have up to 12 stripes. Male elands have 31 diploid chromosomes and females hav
The African buffalo or Cape buffalo is a large Sub-Saharan African bovine. Syncerus caffer caffer, the Cape buffalo, is the typical subspecies, the largest one, found in Southern and East Africa. S. c. nanus is the smallest subspecies, common in forest areas of Central and West Africa, while S. c. brachyceros is in West Africa and S. c. aequinoctialis is in the savannas of East Africa. The adult buffalo's horns are its characteristic feature: they have fused bases, forming a continuous bone shield across the top of the head referred to as a "boss", they are regarded as among the most dangerous animals on the African continent, according to some estimates they gore and kill over 200 people every year. The African buffalo is not an ancestor of domestic cattle and is only distantly related to other larger bovines, its unpredictable temperament means that the African buffalo has never been domesticated, unlike its Asian counterpart, the water buffalo. African Cape buffaloes have few predators aside from large crocodiles.
As a member of the big five game, the Cape buffalo is a sought-after trophy in hunting. The African buffalo is a robust species, its shoulder height can range from 1.0 to 1.7 m and its head-and-body length can range from 1.7 to 3.4 m. Compared with other large bovids, it has a long but stocky body and short but thickset legs, resulting in a short standing height; the tail can range from 70 to 110 cm long. Savannah-type buffaloes weigh 500 to 1,000 kg, with males larger than females, reaching the upper weight range. In comparison, forest-type buffaloes, at 250 to 450 kg, are only half that size, its head is carried low. The front hooves of the buffalo are wider than the rear, associated with the need to support the weight of the front part of the body, heavier and more powerful than the back. Savannah-type buffaloes have dark brown coats with age. Old bulls have whitish circles around their eyes and on their face. Females tend to have more-reddish coats. Forest-type buffaloes are 30-40% smaller, reddish brown in colour, with much more hair growth around the ears and with horns that curve back and up.
Calves of both types have red coats. A characteristic feature of the horns of adult male African buffalo is that the bases come close together, forming a shield referred to as a "boss". From the base, the horns diverge downwards smoothly curve upwards and outwards and in some cases inwards and or backwards. In large bulls, the distance between the ends of the horns can reach upwards of one metre; the horns form when the animal reaches the age of five or six years but the bosses do not become "hard" till 8 to 9 years old. In cows, the horns are, on average, 10–20% smaller, they do not have a boss. Forest buffalo horns are smaller than those of the savanna buffalo from Southern and Eastern Africa measuring less than 40 centimetres, are never fused. Syncerus caffer caffer is the nominate subspecies and the largest one, with large males weighing up to 910 kg; the average weight of bulls from South Africa was 753 kg. In Serengeti National Park, eight bulls averaged 751 kg. Mature cows from Kruger National Park averaged 513 kg.
In both Kenya and Botswana, the average adult weight of this race was estimated as 631 kg. It is peculiar to East Africa. Buffaloes of this subspecies living in the south of the continent, notably tall in size and ferocity, are the so-called Cape buffalo. Color of this subspecies is the darkest black. S. c. nanus is the smallest of the subspecies. The color is red, with darker patches on the head and shoulders, in the ears, forming a brush; the dwarf buffalo is common in forest areas of West Africa. This subspecies is so different from the nominate subspecies that some researchers still consider it to be a separate species, S. nanus. Hybrids between the nominate and dwarf subspecies are not uncommon. S. c. brachyceros is, in morphological terms, intermediate between the first two subspecies. It occurs in West Africa, its dimensions are small compared to other buffalo found in Cameroon, which weigh half as much as the Cape subspecies. Adults average in weight up to 400 kg. S. c. aequinoctialis is confined to the savannas of Central Africa.
It is similar to the Cape buffalo, but somewhat smaller, its color is lighter. This subspecies is sometimes considered to be the same as the Sudanese buffalo. S. c. mathewsi is not universally recognized by all authorities. It lives in mountainous areas of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda; the African buffalo is one of the most successful grazers in Africa. It lives in swamps and floodplains, as well as mopane grasslands, the forests of the major mountains of Africa; this buffalo prefers a habitat with dense cover, such as reeds and thickets, but can be found in open woodland. While not demanding in regards to their habitat, they require water daily, so they depend on perenn