The African savanna is home to thousands of species. African buffaloes are one of many, but they are one of the most visible. These bovine behemoths can weigh nearly 2,000 pounds and travel in herds that average 350 individuals of all ages. During the rainy season on the Serengeti, their herds can number in the thousands.
While they’re members of the Bovinae family, just like our domesticated cattle, they are not gentle. They’re only distantly related and have never been domesticated, most likely due to their wildly unpredictable behavior. Ranchers consider them pests because they do not respect fences, and they tend to protect their own from any perceived threat using their large curved horns. They’re big, aggressive, and have a top speed of 35 miles per hour. This, and the fact that they have attacked and killed people, earned them the nickname “black death.”
African buffaloes have few natural predators as adults, and only lions, hyenas, and large crocodiles are likely to prey on them. Unfortunately, the water they need to drink is often the same water that one of those predators inhabits. During a trip to Mabula, South Africa, YouTuber “HeWho SaysHmm” captured a video of a crocodile big enough to try taking a bite of one.
A Monster Lurks
Nile crocodiles are the largest in Africa and the second largest in the world, growing up to 20 feet long; exceptionally large individuals can top out at over 2,200 pounds. They are apex predators that can take down huge animals and kill about 200 people yearly. So naturally, you’d want to avoid being near these giant lizards, right?
These ambush predators lurk in many rivers and lakes in Subsaharan Africa, waiting for their chance to strike. Crocodiles have immense bite power that they use to grab and hold their prey. Like many crocodiles, they go for the head and try to drag it under the water to drown the animal.
If you look carefully, several feet in front of the buffalo that’s waded furthest into the water, there is a shadow. Keep your eyes on that spot.
At about 40 seconds into the video, disaster strikes.
A Second Chance at Life
There aren’t many times where you nearly die and get a second chance to live. However, predators fail more than they succeed in hunting, so you never really know how it’s going to end. Getting grabbed by a monster crocodile doesn’t sound like something a buffalo would, let alone could survive.
When what appears to be a 12 or 13-foot crocodile decides to take on a fully-grown buffalo and pulls it under, it looks like that buffalo’s number is up. Yet, it seems that this buffalo may get a second chance. After over two minutes of a mostly underwater struggle, the buffalo manages to escape from the crocodile and slowly moves toward the shore.
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