Oh, the buffalo have got a beef about this season's grass...
Zazu sings "The Morning Report"

Cape Buffalo (also known as African Buffalo; full name: African Cape Buffalo) are creatures that appear in The Lion King universe.


Cape buffalo are considerably large and thickly-muscled. Males can grow to be up to 1.7 meters high and 3.4 meters long. Buffalo averagely weigh in-between 500 and 900 kilograms. Males are normally larger than females. Most buffalo have dark eyes, while their fur color varies between different shades of brown, black, and gray. Upon reaching adulthood, most male buffalo have black or dark brown coats, while females tend to have more reddish coats. Calves of both genders have red coats. Interestingly, the front hooves of a buffalo are wider than the rear, which is associated with the need to support the weight of the front part of the body, which is more powerful than the back.[1] All buffalo have horns.


In the Real World

Buffalo can live in a variety of different environments, such as the savanna, forests and grasslands, swamps and marshlands, and mountains. Their habitat must provide a large amount of grass as well as vegetation cover for the herd. While not particularly demanding with regard to habitat, they require water daily and therefore depend on a consistent water source.[2] Because of their need for cover, buffalo usually spend their time near tall grass or deep water.


An adult male buffalo

Buffalo have few predators, aside from humans. Because of their hooves and horns, they are able to defend themselves from many different kinds of predators, even lions.[3] Buffalo are commonly preyed upon by lions, though it takes multiple pride members to bring down an adult buffalo. Cheetahs, crocodiles, hyenas, and leopards rarely attack adult buffalo, but will frequently target young calves.[4] When being chased by predators, a herd will stick close together and make it hard for the predators to pick off one member. Buffalo will frequently respond to the distress call of a captured member and try to rescue it.

Buffalo herds mainly consist of females and their offspring. Young males tend to keep their distance from the dominant bull, who is recognizable by his horns. Males base their hierarchy on age and size. Since larger herds are generally safer, dominant bulls sometimes tolerate younger bulls in order to keep the herd size large.

In The Lion King

Cape buffalo make their first and only appearance at Simba's presentation during the "Circle of Life" sequence. Years later, their bones can be seen scattered around the Pride Lands, due to Scar's poor reign. It can be assumed they return for the presentation of Simba's cub at the end of the film.

In The Lion King II: Simba's Pride

Cape buffalo return for the presentation of Kiara and "Upendi." They later appear in "Not One of Us," in which they help to drive Kovu out of the Pride Lands. It can be assumed they return to Pride Rock for Simba's acceptance of the Outsiders into his pride.

In The Lion King 1½

Cape buffalo are seen at Simba's presentation. Due to Pumbaa's flatulence, they fall over in a dead faint, giving the appearance that they're bowing to the new prince.

The Lion King: Six New Adventures

The cape buffalo also made a few appearances in the novels.

In A Tale of Two Brothers

There's only one water hole left, and Boma and the other cape buffaloes won't let me near it.
—A leopard complains to Ahadi

In A Tale of Two Brothers, it is revealed that the Pride Lands are suffering from a terrible drought. Many Pridelanders are complaining about Boma and his herd, as they are hogging the last water source left in the Pride Lands. When Mufasa tries to sort things out with Boma, Taka purposely angers the cape buffalo, who begins to chase Mufasa. The young lion manages to evade the buffalo and Boma falls into a ravine. Meanwhile, the rest of his herd sneak up on and attack Taka. Before Mufasa can save his brother, the buffalo give him a ravaging scar across his left eye. Ahadi arrives on the scene and the buffalo are scolded for their aggressive behavior. The Lion King then sends an elephant to help Boma out of the ravine.

In Follow the Leader

Zazu: It's those cape buffaloes again. They're hogging the waterhole. The hippos are hopping mad.
Simba: I thought I told those buffaloes to move over.
Zazu: The buffaloes show no signs of shuffling, sire. You know how buffaloes can be. Big, nasty creatures.
—Simba and Zazu about cape buffalo

When Zazu is reporting to Simba, he tells him that the cape buffalo are hogging the waterhole again. Simba protests that he's already told them to move, but Zazu reminds him that buffalo aren't always trustworthy.

In How True, Zazu?

Well, I'm ready for this fight. My grandparents were taken by them years ago. I have never forgotten that awful attack.
—Boma about a legendary army ant attack

While flying over the Pride Lands, Zazu recalls a distant memory of a buffalo stampede. During a fierce storm, a pack of hyenas had attacked the buffalo herd and caused the great mass of animals to stampede towards Pride Rock. Zazu had reported to Mufasa, who ordered him to get the elders to safety. Together, the two saved the pride and evaded the dangerous stampede.

In addition, Boma is seen frequently throughout this book. When a hoard of army ants invades the Pride Lands, Mufasa instructs a group of Pridelanders, including Boma, to help push rocks off Zulu Falls to drown the ants and stop the invasion.

Notable Cape Buffalo