Asian Water Buffalo

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Scientific name: Bubalus bubalis

Other common names: Water Buffalo; Asian Buffalo; Asiatic Buffalo; Bufalo Arni; Buffle d'Eau; Buffle de l'Inde; Carabao; Indian Buffalo

The basics:
Native to many Asian countries like Thailand, India, Malaysia, the Philippines, Pakistan, and Turkey, the Water Buffalo is so called because of its tendency to wallow in shallow water. The Water Buffalo has been domesticated for thousands of years, becoming the primary bovine in Southeast Asia valued for its meat, milk and butterfat, and as a strong and reliable pack animal and means of transportation.

Because of its adaptability to water and mud-covered terrain, the Asian Water Buffalo is widely used in plowing muddy rice paddies, which comprise the leading agricultural landscape of the region. The Water Buffalo’s fat-rich milk is used for mozzarella cheese, curd, and yogurt. The buffalo’s tough hide is processed into leather for shoes and helmets; the bones and horns are made into jewelry.

Appearance / health:
Asian Water Buffalo are large bovines with dark curved horns spanning as much as 6 ft. across. The skin is thick and tough and typically gray to black in color. The legs are strong and massive; the hooves are wide and splayed, an adaptation that allows them to walk over muddy and soft ground. The tail is usually thin and long with a tuft of hair at the tip and is swung by the animal to shoo flies and insects away from its skin. Because of its tendency to wallow in water and muddy pools, the Water Buffalo is often seen with dried mud on its body.

The health of the Water Buffalo depends on the level of care and nutrition that the animal receives. Access to a veterinarian for regular checkups and inoculations is recommended.

Behavior / temperament:
Water Buffaloes enjoy wallowing in water and muddy pools especially in mid-day when the temperatures in their Asian home countries are high. They stay in the water, sometimes totally submerged, to cool down and wash away ticks and parasites. They are docile and easily trained to carry loads, plow fields, or pull carts.

Housing / diet:
Water Buffaloes require freshwater marshes or mud pools to remain healthy. The water pools must be large enough to allow the animal to submerge. Rivers and streams also serve the purpose. A shed or barn is best provided to protect them from harsh weather conditions like heavy rains or typhoon winds.

Asian Water Buffaloes eat grass, assorted plants and herbs, and aquatic vegetation. They are grazers and usually feed in the morning and late afternoon.


small time farmers, magnificent animal, good milk, mozzarella


commercial viability, strong willed trainers, fencing problems


extra income, sweets pastillas

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