|Annabelle the African Buffalo has just had her new calf, Cassie! Continue reading to learn all about what it's like to be a buffalo, straight from the buffalo's mouth!|
The birth of any animal can cause much excitement here at Animal Adventures Inc. (AAI.). I mean, just check out what happened when the hadrosaurs had their baby. There were balloons, confetti, birthday cake and other things literally everywhere! Seriously, someone decided that my desk would make a great place to store the birthday cake until the party. I don't know why they couldn't put it in the fridge! I mean, whoever did that was extremely uncreative . . . oh, Daniel P. Smithwater just informed me that I did that because I was the one who was supposed to be decorating it, but Rack-coon ended up doing it because I was in a business overload.
Anywho, I'm getting off topic here! The latest animal birth is a baby African Buffalo named Cassie, just last Thursday. When her mother, Annabelle had finished with the labor process and the young one was on her feet, the AAI. veterinarian Elizabeth Sorkin called us to say that we could have our exclusive interview with Annabelle. So naturally, my trusty, junior photographer, Daniel P. Smithwater, and I went over to the Animal Adventures Institute in a flash.
Now before I go on, there is something I must explain: Annabelle and Cassie aren't water buffaloes. Though related, Water buffaloes are native to Asia, and I think we already know where African Cape Buffaloes are found. Cape Buffaloes are also slightly larger than their Asian cousins. Cape Buffaloes are also cousins of the American Bison, which is incorrectly referred to as a buffalo.
Annabelle was more than happy to talk about her newborn. When asked why she named her Cassie, Annabelle was quoted for saying, “Oh I'm not sure. She just sort of looks like a Cassie, doesn't she to you? She looks just like her mama did at her age – big brown eyes, stubby horns, wet muzzle . . . well actually, she's completely wet! And she's got the same brown fur I did too.” Daniel and I noticed Cassie's striking dis-resemblance to her mother. So this is when I asked if Cassie's features were normal for African Buffalo. “Yes, they are,” says Annabelle.
She went on to explain that buffalo mothers have a gestation period lasting 11.5 months. Once born, the calves born in the wild are hidden in dense foliage for several weeks. During this time, the mother buffalo visits her young one to feed it milk every so often. “It may seem cruel,” Annabelle said, “[but]. . . the calf actually has a higher chance of surviving when its hiding in the foliage at that age. We mothers can't spend too much time with our young in the wild because we don't want our scent attaching to the baby – that will attract predators.”
Finally, the calf is old enough to join the herd – the calf stays in the center of the herd for protection against predators. Then I asked Annabelle what predators would hunt buffalo. She said, “Well, we have a lot of predators in the wild. Cheetahs, leopards and spotted hyenas try to kill calves. But they are too small to take on adult buffalo. No, that role belongs to predators like lions and crocodiles.”
I could tell that it was probably almost Cassie's bedtime, as every newborn needs a lot of sleep! So just before we left, we asked Cassie how she liked her new home and stuff like that. “Bubble!” she responded. OK, so maybe her vocabulary isn't the best at this age, but when she grows up, she'll be – 3.3-5.6 feet tall at the shoulders and 5.6-11.2 feet long – an awe-inspiring African mammal!
Written by: Mr. Smiley
Photographer: Daniel P. Smithwater
Edited by: Christian Ryan, Joy Hammond
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Next Issue: Lizzy and the Riddler pt. 4