Ausgewählte Texte aus der Carakasaṃhitā

Anhang B: Tierbeschreibungen

Bubalus bubalis 

zusammengestellt von Alois Payer

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Carakasaṃhitā: Ausgewählte Texte aus der Carakasaṃhitā / übersetzt und erläutert von Alois Payer <1944 - >. -- Anhang B: Tierbeschreibungen. -- Bubalus bubalis.  -- Fassung vom 2010-12-09. -- URL:    

Erstmals publiziert:


Anlass: Lehrveranstaltung SS 2007

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Dieser Text ist Teil der Abteilung Sanskrit  von Tüpfli's Global Village Library

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Abb.: Wasserbüffel - Bubalus bubalis, Indien
[Bildquelle: Eric Pöhlsen / Wikimedia. -- GNU FDLicense]

Abb.: Wasserbüffel - Bubalus bubalis, Indien
[Bildquelle: neilhinchley. -- -- Zugriff am 2007-07-17. --  NamensnennungKeine kommerzielle NutzungKeine BearbeitungCreative Commons Lizenz  (Namensnennung, keine kommerzielle Nutzung, keine Bearbeitung)]

Abb.: Kopf von Bubalus bubalis, Bulle
[Bildquelle: Ward, 1903]

Abb.: Buffalo headcount in 2004
[Bildquelle: Wikipedia]


"MANY Europeans speak of the Indian buffalo, which is the familiar buffalo of Egypt and Italy, as the "water buffalo," from its predilection for wallowing in swamps. "Yoke a buffalo and a bullock together and the buffalo will head towards the pool, the ox to the upland," says a proverb, but none the less this unequal yoke is often seen. Hindus of the old rock say a buffalo is unlucky to keep, the black antithesis of the benignant cow, a demon to an angel. On going out in the morning it is an ill omen if the eye rests on a buffalo, while the sight of a cow is good. The passion of the Hindu for bright colours, and his rooted hatred of black and dingy tones, are the groundwork of this aversion. Its uncouth shape as compared with the smooth outlines of the cow also counts in the buffalo's exclusion from bovine kinship. The vertebrae stand up on its crest like park palings, and the skeleton suggests paleontology as much as actual natural history, though the creature is an unmistakable cow. Not that the Hindu ever thought of generic relationships, for the rhinoceros, which is still more remote in kind, counts as a superior cow, and a vessel used in Shiv worship, representing the female energy, is reckoned of precious sanctity when made of rhinoceros horn. The Nilghai too, which is an antelope, is accounted a cow and equally honoured. But though the Hindu may affect an academic scorn of the buffalo, he must confess that it is intrinsically a good beast, as gentle as the cow, more courageous and more affectionate, for it bears a better brain. Buffalo milk too is a most valuable food, rich and abundant. Most of the ghi eaten in the great cities is prepared from buffalo butter, and is now made on a large scale in remote districts and distributed by the railways. "The buffalo to the strong man's house, the horse to the Sultan's," is a saying indicating the estimate of the value of the milk of this animal. As a draught animal the buffalo has the fine qualities of willingness and great strength, suited for the strenuous toil of the quarry and the timber-yard, but he bears the sun badly, and to thrive properly should have free access to a pool or mud swamp.

"The tradesman to the city, the buffalo to the marsh," says the proverb. The roll of a horse or ass in sand or the pure luxury a tired man enjoys in a warm bath seem poor delights compared with the ineffable satisfaction of a herd of buffaloes in a water wallow. They roll and wriggle till the soft black mud encradles them and they are coated all over with a plaster that defies the mosquito, and for hours they will lie with only eyes and nostril twinkling above the surface in blissful content defying the heat of the sun. English farmers say, "Happy as pigs in muck ;" the beatitude of the buffalo in warm mud beats that homely figure by more than the buffalo beats the pig in size.

It is truly said that herds of buffaloes can defend themselves from the tiger, and they will also defend their herdsman, for they are capable of strong attachments, and have sense enough to combine and form square to repel attack. In remote regions, where a European is seldom seen, they are occasionally inclined to resent his presence. There is something ignominious in a party of stalwart British sportsmen being treed by a herd of angry buffaloes, and obliged to wait for rescue at the hands of a herdsman's child, but this has happened. Buffalo horns offer an example of the wondrous variety in unity of which nature is capable. One blade of variegated ribbon grass, to the incurious eye, looks like another, but if you cut and match a thousand sections you will find no two with identical stripes ; so a herd of buffaloes has the same head at the first glance, but the horns offer an immense variety of size and curve. They are always heavy, so they say with pathos and truth of the care of a large family, " he buffalo's horns may be a heavy burden, but she carries them herself."

One of many unpleasing features in the practice of keeping milch buffaloes in great cities is the usage of feeding them on stable refuse. The English housewife in India learns this with disgust, and hastens to buy and keep her own cows. The Oriental does not object to the custom, nor do learned veterinary authorities seem inclined to denounce the practice very severely, and it is undeniable that after the horse has done with his food, the buffalo thrives on the residuum. The filthy state of all native cow byres is one of many causes of the low state of health of the densely over- crowded cities. Through alleys reeking with filth, and an air heavy with the stench of decomposition, native gentlemen of good position are content to pick their way, and over cow byres of unimaginable impurity you may hear young students debating politics and local self-government with that love of wordy abstractions and indifference to practical considerations which have always been marks of the Hindu.

Not only does the Hindu affect to despise buffaloes, but he sacrifices them in great numbers to Kali, especially at the Dasehrah festival. As in the case of goats, only male animals are sacrificed. The head should be smitten off at a blow, a feat in which those who officiate at Hindu sacrifices take great pride. The Moslem cuts the throat with the invariable invocation of God's name.

A buffalo demon, sometimes drawn as a bull-headed man and sometimes like the Greek man-bull, or the Bucentaur, from whom Mysore takes its name, once fought with the awful Goddess, and the sacrifice of buffaloes is supposed by some to be a punishment for this presumption. It is more likely that it is a survival of some barbaric pre-Aryan rite : indeed Kali herself may be suspected of a similar low-born origin. The Todas, an aboriginal tribe of the Neilgherry hills, have been reported to cudgel their buffalo to death, and in some villages in Western India the whole population turns out to the festivity of beating a poor beast till it dies ; a long and hideously cruel business, and then they tear it to pieces in a sort of Maenad rage. At the very curious and interesting ceremony of the worship of the sword, as observed by the ancient and illustrious House of Oodeypore, the first of the Rajput Lords, buffaloes are sacrificed, their heads being cut off at one blow.

Colonel Tod, in his invaluable Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan, describes the ancient practice when the Maha Rana himself pierced the buffalo with an arrow shot from his travelling throne or litter, borne on men's shoulders. Kavi Raja Shyamal Dass, of the State Council of Oodeypore, informs me that this observance was abolished in 1830, and the Maha Rana now only givesthe word for the decapitation of the animal.

On account of its sanctity the Brahminy cow is never ridden, and the ox but very seldom serves as a steed. The buffalo, on the other hand, is constantly mounted, although its craggy contours do not at first sight seem to offer a comfortable seat. The sacred animal is very rarely used for draught, and only when poverty can be pleaded as an excuse for her degradation, but a barren buffalo cow is set to the plough without scruple. It does not always pay to rear male buffaloes, but it is considered cruel to kill them, so they are allowed to die slowly of starvation. An Englishman would be inclined to say that the Biloch were more merciful, for, not caring to rear colts, they cut their throats soon after birth.

A sacrificial use of this animal, against which there is but little room for complaint, is at a time of unusual sickness. A male buffalo is given or bought, and all the village assists at a ceremony of propitiation. A red caste mark is solemnly put on the beast's brow, and it is adorned with flowers and led round the town by the elders, while Brahmans and the poor are fed. When turned loose if it goes straight away it is a good omen, for the sickness goes with it, and by dint of loud cries and sticks and stones the animal is made to go. When it is out of sight, the village is happy and probably some good Mussulman meets the beast, takes off its garlands, and appropriates it to his own use. Nothing is easier than to laugh at so foolish a performance. But, given the simplicity of faith, there is sound sense in a proceeding which restores confidence and hope to people demoralised by the presence of death, and therefore apt to contract sickness. Who cares may debate whether the prayer of faith can save the sick : it is certain that it soothes the troubled mind."

[Quelle: : Kipling, John Lockwood <1837-1911>: Beast and man in India : a popular sketch of Indian animals in their relations with the people. -- London ; New York : Macmillan, 1904. -- xii, 401 S. : Ill. ; 24 cm. -- S. 154 - 160. -- Online: -- Zugriff am 2007-10-25]

"In order to give an accurate picture of what takes place at an Indian beast fight to-day, of the slip-shod arrangements and the quaint way in which folk and animals are mingled together, I quote a description of one of these entertainments given at the installation of His Highness the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir, done from the life by my son for the Lahore paper in 1886 :

"Two huge water-buffaloes with ropes on their feet and a dozen men at each rope were introduced to each other ; the  crowd closing round them to within a few feet. Neither animal required any urging, but put his head down at once and butted. The shock of the opposing skulls rang like the sound of a hatchet on wood across the arena. .Then both brutes laid head to head, and pushed and grunted and pawed and sweated for five minutes ; the crowd yelling madly meanwhile. The lighter weight was forced back into the crowd, recovered himself, butted again, turned sideways, and was again forced back. After a few minutes more, when each animal was setting down to his work with whole-hearted earnestness, the order was given to separate them ; and very reluctantly the gigantic creatures were hauled in opposite directions. Then a curious thing happened. A little child ran forward out of the press, and standing on tip-toe, reached up and embraced with both arms the hairy jowl of the beast who had borne himself the most savagely in the fray. It was a pretty little picture spoilt by the other buffalo suddenly breaking loose and charging down anew. A second shock and yet another struggle followed, and both beasts were eventually led off snorting and capering in uncouth fashion to express their disgust at not being allowed to go on. Two fresh bulls advanced gravely into the middle of the arena, gazed at each other politely, and as politely retired. They must have shared the same wallow together, for fight they would not.

"Next came the fighting rams, spotted and shaven beasts, with Roman noses and rowdy visages straining away from their owners and all apparently 'spoiling for a fight.' Two or three couples were let go together, ran back to gather way, came on and met, ran back, charged again, and repeated the performance till the sound of their foolish colliding heads was almost continuous.

"After the first few minutes, when you begin to realise that neither animal is likely to fall down dead, ram fighting is monotonous. Sometimes a ram runs back for his charge valiantly enough, but midway in his onset loses heart, turns a fat tail to his antagonist, and flees to his master. The adversary, being a beast of honour, immediately pulls up and trots back to his master. One light -limbed dumba (the fat-tailed variety) with red spots seems to be the champion of Jummu. His charge generally upsets his antagonist at once, and few care to stand a second.

"As soon as all the rams had been disposed of, certain vicious shrieks and squeals gave evidence that the horses were being got ready, and the police set about widening the ring. Presently a bay galloway and a black pony danced out, dragging their attendants after them at the end of a long rope. The instant they were let go, they ran open-mouthed at each other, then turned tail to tail and kicked savagely for five minutes ; the black suffering most. Then, after the manner of horses all the world over, they turned round and closed, each striking with his forefeet and striving to fix his teeth in the other's crest. They squealed shrilly as they boxed, and finally rose on end, a magnificent sight, locked in each other's arms. The bay loosening his hold on the black's poll, made a snatch at the black's near foreleg, which was at once withdrawn. Both horses then dropped to the ground together and kicked and bit at close quarters till the bay fled, with the black after him, through the, crowd. The men at the end of the drag ropes were knocked over, scrambled up, and caught at the ropes again, while the two maddened brutes plunged and struggled among the people. About half a dozen were knocked over and shaken, but no one was seriously hurt ; and after wild clamour and much running hither and thither both bay and black were caught, blindfolded, and led away to reappear no more. Buffaloes fight like men, and rams like fools ; but horses fight like demons, with keen enjoyment and much skill.

"And now twilight had fallen; the wrestlers, who tumbled about regardless of the excitement round them, had all put their man down or had their own shoulders mired. The mob on the double tiers of the amphitheatre dropped down into the arena and flooded the centre till the elephants could scarcely wade through the press.

"Just at this time an unrehearsed and most impressive scene followed. The biggest of the elephants, a huge beast with gold-bound tusks, gold 'broidered jhool and six-foot earrings, had been ordered to sit down for his riders to mount. Before the ladder could be adjusted, he sprang up with a trumpet, turned round towards the palace, uphill, that is to say, and knocked a man over. Then he wheeled round, the mahout pounding at his forehead with his iron goad, to the other end of the arena, where another elephant was going down the incline towards the lower part of the city. He raced across the space, full of people, scattering the crowd in every direction, butted the retreating elephant in the rear, making him stagger heavily ; ran back, butted him again, and threw him on his knees near the stone revetment of the earth-work terrace of the palace. Here the mahout re-established some sort of control, swung him round, and brought him back to be taken off roped and chained, in deep disgrace.

"The man thrown down at the beginning was brought up into the palace verandah. He was naturally knocked out of breath and desperately frightened, for the elephant had set a foot on the loose folds of his paejamas. An old woman, overthrown in the charge after the other elephant, lay on the ground for a few minutes, and then hobbled off with the help of a stick. That was the extent of the damage, inconceivably small as it may appear, caused by a vicious elephant rushing through a crowd of some thousands of people. The murmur of fright and astonishment that went up from the crowd after it was seen that the brute was out of hand, was curious to listen to ; being a long-drawn A-a-a-hoo which chilled the blood. The sight of the crowd flying in deadly fear of their lives was even more curious and impressive. Most impressive of all was the bulk of the beast in the twilight, and the clang of the silver earrings as it darted, elephants can dart when they like, across the ground in search of its enemy.

"With this unique spectacle the sports of the evening closed.""

[Quelle: : Kipling, John Lockwood <1837-1911>: Beast and man in India : a popular sketch of Indian animals in their relations with the people. -- London ; New York : Macmillan, 1904. -- xii, 401 S. : Ill. ; 24 cm. -- S. 348 - 351. -- Online: -- Zugriff am 2007-10-25]



Bos Bubalus.

This animal is more bulky than the domestic Ox, and its limbs are stouter. The head is larger, in proportion to the size of the body, than that of the domestic Ox, and is generally carried with the muzzle projecting ; the forehead is rather convex, and higher than broad; the horns are large, slightly compressed, and recline towards the neck, with the points turned up ; dewlap of a moderate size.

Throughout the whole range of the Italian peninsula Buffaloes are used as beasts of burden, and their immense strength renders their services invaluable in the marshy and swampy districts, where the services of horses, or ordinary oxen, would be totally unavailing. The roads through which they are obliged to pass are frequently covered to a depth of two or three feet, through which they work their way with wonderful perseverance. On the great plain of Apulia the Buffalo is the ordinary beast of draught; and at the annual fair held at Foggia, at the end of May, immense droves of almost wild Buffaloes are brought to the town for sale. Fearful accidents occasionally happen ; enraged animals breaking from the dense mass, in spite of all the exertions of their drovers, and rushing upon some object of their vengeance, whom they strike down, and trample to death. It is dangerous to overwork or irritate the Buffalo, and instances have been known in which, when released by the brutal driver from the cart, they have instantly turned upon the man and killed him on the spot.

The following part of their history is remarkable :

They appear to be most numerous, and to thrive best in those districts which are most infected with malaria. In the Pontine marshes they find a favorite retreat, and in the pestilential Maremma scarcely any other animals are to be seen. In the northern portions of Italy, where malaria is much less frequent than in the south, Buffaloes are to be found in the greatest numbers precisely in those localities where malaria is the most prevalent.

They are particularly fond of the long rank herbage, which springs up in moist and undrained lands. In their habits they are almost amphibious, lying for hours half submerged in water and mud.

When travellers make use of the name "common Buffalo," they are usually understood to mean an animal identical with the Italian species ; if this really be the case, its geographical range must be very extensive. It is said to inhabit the extensive regions of Hindostan, China, Cochin-China, Malabar, Coromandel, Persia, and the Crimea; also Abyssinia, Egypt, and the south of Europe; to which may be added, most of the large islands in the Indian Sea.

As an article of food, the flesh of this animal is inferior to the beef of the domestic Ox, but the milk of the female is particularly rich and abundant ; the semi-fluid butter, called ghee in India, is made from it. According to the testimony of Colonel Sykes, the long-horned variety is reared in vast numbers in the Mawals, or hilly tracts lying along the Ghauts :

"In those tracts much rice is planted, and the male Buffalo, from his superior hardihood, is much better suited to resist the effects of the heavy rains, and the splashy cultivation of the rice than the bullock. The female is also infinitely more valuable than the cow, from the very much greater quantity of milk she yields."

The hide is also much valued for its strength and durability.

In India they are used as beasts of burden ; but the nature of the goods they carry must be such as will not suffer from being wet, as they have an invincible propensity to lie down in water. The native princes use them to fight with tigers in their public shows ; and from their fierce and active nature, when excited, they frequently prove more than a match for their formidable assailants. With the native herdsman, however, they are generally docile : these men ride on their favorites, and spend the night with them in the midst of jungles and forests, without fear of wild beasts. When driven along, the herds keep close together, so that the driver, if necessary, walks from the back of one to the other, perfectly at his ease.

In the south of Europe they are managed by means of a ring passed through the cartilage of the nose, but in India it is a mere rope.

Their fierceness and courage are well exemplified in the following anecdote, related by Mr. D. Johnson in his interesting ' Sketches of Indian Field Sports :'

" Two Biparies, or carriers of grain and merchandise on the backs of bullocks, were driving a loaded string of these animals from Palamow to Chittrah : when they were come within a few miles of the latter place, a tiger seized on the man in the rear, which was seen by a Guallah (herdsman), as he was watching his Buffaloes grazing. He boldly ran up to the man's assistance, and cut the tiger severely with his sword; upon which he dropped the Biparie, and seized the herdsman. The Buffaloes observing it, attacked the tiger, and rescued the herdsman ; they tossed him about from one to the other, and, to the best of my recollection, killed him. Both the wounded men were brought to me; the Biparie recovered, and the herdsman died?'

Speaking of the Buffalo at Malabar, Dillon says,

" It is an ugly animal, almost destitute of hair, goes slowly, but carries very heavy burdens. Herds may be seen, as of common cows ; and they afford milk, which serves to make butter and cheese. Their flesh is good, though less delicate, than that of the ox : the animal swims perfectly well, and traverses the broadest rivers. Besides the tame ones, there are wild Buffaloes, which are extremely dangerous, tearing men to pieces, or crushing them with a single blow of the head ; they are less to be dreaded in woods than elsewhere, because their horns often catch in the branches, and give time for the persons pursued to escape by flight. The skins of these animals serve for an infinity of purposes, and even cruses are made of them for holding water or liquors. The animals on the coast of Malabar are all wild, and strangers are not prevented from hunting them for their flesh."

Whether the animals alluded to, in all these cases, constitute only one species, or consist of several, the accounts which have been given of them (from their vagueness and want of precision) afford no means of deciding."

[Quelle: Vasey, George <1822-1893>: A monograph of the genus Bos. The natural history of bulls, bisons, and buffaloes. Exhibiting all the known species, and the more remarkable varieties. With an introduction, containing an account of experiments on rumination, from the French of M. Flourens. By George Vasey. With 72 engravings on wood, by the author. -- London, J.R. Smith, 1857. -- xvi, 192 S. : Ill. ; 23 cm. -- S. 76 - 80. -- Online: -- Zugriff am 2007-10-25]

"THE ARNEE, OR ARNA. [Bubalus arnee]

It does not appear, that the Arnee had been noticed by Europeans until the year 1792, when the following detailed account appeared in a weekly Miscellany, called 'The Bee,' conducted by Dr. J. Anderson.

This animal is hitherto unknown among the naturalists of Europe. It is a native of the higher parts of Hindostan, being scarcely ever found lower down than the Plains of Plassy, above which they are found in considerable numbers, and are well known by the natives.

The figure, which is given at the end of this article, is copied from a curious Indian painting, in the possession of Gilbert Innes, of Stow. It forms one of a numerous group of figures, represented at a grand Eastern festival. There are two more of them in the same painting. In this and both the others, the horns bend inwards in a circular form ; and it would seem, too, that if a transverse section of the horn was made at any place, that also would be circular. But this is a defect in the painting, for although all the horns of the Arnee tribe bend in a circular form, yet if the horn be cut transversely, the section is not circular, but rather of a triangular shape. The horns of the Arnee rise in a curve upwards, nearly in the same plane with the forehead, neither bending forward or backward. That part of the horn which fronts you when the animal looks you in the face, is nearly flat, having a ridge projecting a little forward all along, nearer the outer curvature of the horn ; from that ridge outward it goes backward, not at right angles, but bending a little outward ; and near the back part there is another obtuse rounded ridge, where it turns inward, so as to join another obtuse, rounded angle, at the inner curvature of the horn. Along the whole length, especially toward the base of the horn, there are irregular transverse dimples, or hollows and rugosities, more nearly resembling those of a ram, than that of a common ox's horn, but no appearance of rings, denoting the age of the animal, as in the horns of our cattle.

This description of the horns is taken from a pair of real horns of the animal, now in the possession of Mr. James Haig, merchant in Leith, that were sent home to him this year (1792) by his brother, Mr. W. Haig, of the 'Hawkesbury' East-Indiaman, and of which the following cut represents a front view. The little figure marked a, represents a section of the horn near its base.

In this young specimen (1) the length of the skull is exactly two feet, and the distance between the tops of the horns thirty-five inches. In the following sketch (2) from the Museum of the College of Surgeons, the length of the skull is likewise two feet, and the distance between the tips of the horns three feet four inches and a half.

The young animal just referred to, was found in a situation near which no other animal of this sort had ever before been discovered : it was killed by the crew of the ' Hawkesbury' in the river Ganges, about fifty miles below Calcutta, at the place where the ships usually lie. The flesh was eaten by the ship's company, by whom it was considered very good meat. Although conjectured to be only two years old, it weighed, when cut up, 360 lbs. the quarter, which is 1440 lbs. the carcase, exclusive of head, legs, hide, and entrails.

This last sketch (3) is from a pair of horns in the British Museum, of which the following are the dimensions :

The Arnee is by far the largest animal of the Ox tribe yet known. In its native country it is said to measure usually twelve, sometimes fourteen, feet from the ground to the highest part of the back ! The one in the vignette, p. 111, comparing it with the man on its back, would not seem to be quite so tall.

From the appearance of the three Arnees in the painting before mentioned, it would seem that they are quite docile, and easily tamed ; for they are all standing quietly, with a person on their back, who guides them by means of a rein, formed of a cord fastened to the gristle of the nose, in the Eastern manner. The colour of the animal, in all the three figures, is a pure black, except between the horns, where there is a small tuft of longish hair of a bright red colour.

From the accounts of more recent travellers, there seem to be two or three varieties of this animal, which exist, both in a wild and domestic state, in China as well as India.

According to Major Smith, the gigantic or Taurelephant Arnee, appears to be rare; found only single, or in small families, in the upper eastern provinces and forests at the foot of the Himalaya. A party of officers of the British Cavalry, stationed in the north of Bengal, went on a three months' hunting expedition to the eastward, and destroyed in that time forty-two Tigers, and numerous wild Buffaloes, but only one Arnee. When the head of this specimen rested perpendicularly on the ground, it required the out-stretched arms of a man to hold the points of the horns. These are described as angular, with the broadest side to the rear ; the two others anterior and inferior ; they are of a brownish colour, and wrinkled ; standing outwards, and not bent back ; straight for near two thirds of their length, then curving inwards, with the tips rather back. The face is nearly straight, and the breadth of the forehead is carried down with little diminution to the foremost grinder.

There is a spirited figure of a long-horned Buffalo in Captain Williamson's ' Oriental Field Sports,' which Major Smith considers to be a representation of the great Arnee; and of which Captain Williamson relates the following anecdote :

"The late Dr. Baillie, who was a very keen and capable sportsman, used, in my idea, to run many very foolish risks among Buffaloes. I often remonstrated with him on his temerity, but he was so infatuated, that it was all to no purpose. One morning, as we were riding on the same elephant to the hunting-ground, to save our horses as much as possible, we saw a very large Buffalo lying on the grass, which was rather short and thin; as usual, the doctor would have a touch at him, and, heedless of my expostulation, dismounted with his gun. The Buffalo, seeing him approach, rose and shook his head as a prelude to immediate hostilities. My friend fired, and hit him on the side. The enraged brute came thundering at the doctor, who lost no time in running round to the opposite side of the elephant; the mohout, at the same time, pushed forward, to meet and screen him from the Buffalo, which absolutely put his horns under the elephant's belly, and endeavoured to raise him from the ground. We had no other gun, and might, perhaps, have felt some more severe effects from the doctor's frolic, had not the Buffalo, from loss of blood, dropped at our side. The Buffalo was upwards of six feet high at the shoulder, and measured nearly a yard in breadth at the chest. His horns were above five feet and a half in length."

In systems of classification, even of very recent date, the Arnee is considered merely as a variety of the Buffalo. It appears to me, however, that our information on the subject is not yet sufficiently precise to determine this point."

[Quelle: Vasey, George <1822-1893>: A monograph of the genus Bos. The natural history of bulls, bisons, and buffaloes. Exhibiting all the known species, and the more remarkable varieties. With an introduction, containing an account of experiments on rumination, from the French of M. Flourens. By George Vasey. With 72 engravings on wood, by the author. -- London, J.R. Smith, 1857. -- xvi, 192 S. : Ill. ; 23 cm. -- S. 105 - 111. -- Online: -- Zugriff am 2007-10-25]


"THE INDIAN BUFFALO (Bos bubalus).

The Indian buffalo, or arna, as the male is called in India, is a very different animal in appearance from either of the African species.

It is characterised by the much greater proportionate length of the head, of which the profile is nearly straight and the centre of the forehead markedly convex. In the skull the sockets of the eyes are very prominent, and the nasal bones are of much greater length than in the African species. The ears are also much smaller and less open, with only a very slight fringe of hair on their edges. Still more distinctive are the horns, which are very long, much flattened, and angulated throughout the greater part of their length, with strongly-marked transverse wrinkles, and a distinctly triangular section. They taper gradually from root to tip, and generally curve regularly upwards, outwards, and a little backwards from the line of the face in nearly a single plane ; the tips bending inwards and slightly forwards. This is the type represented in our illustration ; but in a variety, which is mainly or entirely from Assam, the horns are directed straight outwards for the greater part of their length, and then suddenly curve upwards. In the cow the horns are considerably longer and thinner, with a much less marked angulation in front, than in the bulls ; and it is in this sex, so far as our experience goes, that the horns with the straightest direction outwards are met with. The body becomes almost bare in old animals, and the general colour is ashy-black, although the legs may be whitish, or even, in domestic races, quite white below the knees and hocks. There is, however, a dun-coloured variety of this species, described by Mr. Blanford from upper Assam, in which the forehead is more convex than ordinary, and the nasal bones of the skull are much shorter.

According to General Kinloch, it is doubtful if the bull of this species ever exceeds 5 feet 4 inches (16 hands) at the withers ; and in one specimen, of which he gives the dimensions, the height was 5 feet, the length from the nose to the root of the tail 9 feet 7 inches, that of the tail 3 feet 11 inches, and the girth 8 feet 3 inches. In the same specimen the length of the horns, measured from tip to tip along the greater curve, was 8 feet 3 inches. A skull in the British Museum has horns measuring 12 feet 2 inches from tip to tip along the curve ; while a detached horn in the same collection has a length of 6 feet 6J inches, which indicates a span of about 14 feet from tip to tip in the pair.

In a truly wild state the Indian buffalo is only known definitely in the country from which it takes its name, the herds which are found in a wild state in Burma and the Malay Peninsula and adjacent islands, being not improbably descended from animals escaped from captivity. Our illustration is taken from an individual of one of these feral races in Java, where they are known by the name of karbu.

In India wild buffaloes are found on the plains of the Bramaputra and Ganges, from the eastern end of Assam to Tirhut ; they also occur in the "terai" land at the foot of the Himalaya, as far as Kohilcund, as well as on the plains near the coast in Midnapur and Orissa, and in the eastern portions of the Central Provinces, as well as in the north of Ceylon. Domesticated buffaloes are found not only over the whole of India and Burma, and the greater part of the Malayan region, but have likewise been introduced into Asia Minor, Egypt, and Italy.

The haunts of the wild Indian buffalo are the tall grass-jungles found in many parts of the plains of India, and generally in the neighbourhood of swamps ; but it may be also found more rarely in the open plains of short grass, or among low jungle, and occasionally even in forest. Those who´have never had the opportunity of seeing an Indian grass-jungle can have but´little conception of its height and density, but some idea may be formed of it from the following statement of General Kinloch, who writes that in such cover "frequently, although a herd of buffaloes may be roused within a score of yards, the waving of the grass, and perhaps the glint of a polished horn-tip, is the only ocular evidence of the presence of the animals ; the probably nearly noiseless rush might be caused by other animals ; and where the horns have not been seen it is only by the strong, sweet bovine scent similar to, but much more powerful than, that of cows that one can be absolutely certain of what is in front of one." In such jungles, needless to say, shooting (or indeed advancing at all) on foot is out of the question, and the only method of procedure is by beating with a line of elephants.

In their wild state these buffaloes are always found in herds, which may comprise fifty or more individuals. Mr. Blanford states that "they feed chiefly on grass, in the evening, at night, and in the morning ; and lie down, generally in high grass, not unfrequently in a marsh, during the day ; they are by no means shy, nor do they appear to shun the neighbourhood of man, and they commit great havoc amongst growing crops. Sometimes a herd or a solitary bull will take possession of a field and keep off the men who own it. In fact buffaloes are by far the boldest and most savage of the Indian Bovidae, and a bull not unfrequently attacks without provocation, though (probably on the principle that a council of war never fights) a herd, although all will gallop to within a short distance of an intruder and make most formidable demonstrations, never, I believe, attacks anyone who does not run away from them. A wounded animal of either sex often charges, and has occasionally been known to knock an elephant down. Buffaloes retain their courage in captivity, and a herd will attack a tiger or other dangerous animal without hesitation, and, although gentle with those they know and greatly attached to them, they are inclined to be hostile to strange men and strange animals. Whether wild or tame they delight in water, and often during the heat of the day lie down in shallow places with only parts of their heads above the surface." The same author remarks that few animals have changed less in captivity than tame buffaloes, which never interbreed with the humped Indian cattle. The calves are born in summer, and there are not unfrequently two at a birth. In walking, the Indian buffalo always carries its head low down.

Remains of the Indian buffalo occur fossil in the gravels of the Buffaloes. Narbada valley, and likewise in parts of the Punjab. The broad-horned buffalo (B. platyceros) of the Siwalik Hills of Northern India, was, however, a perfectly distinct extinct species, characterised by the broad triangular horns being placed closer together on the forehead, and directed rather forwards than backwards, so that the forehead is nearly flat ; they are also placed more below the plane of the occiput. Other extinct Siwalik buffaloes (B. occipitalis and B. acuticornis) were of smaller size, and their skulls like those of the tamarao and anoa; the horns rising upwards in the plane of the face, with but slight divergence or curvature, and their cross-section either triangular or pear-shaped."

[Quelle: Lydekker, Richard <1849-1915>: The royal natural history / edited by Richard Lydekker ; with preface by P.L. Sclate. -- London ; New York : F. Warne, 1893-96. -- 6 Bde. : ill. (some col.) ; 26 cm. -- Bd. 2. -- S. 204 - 206. -- Online: -- Zugriff am 2007-09-27]


"Bos bubalus. The Buffalo.

Bos bubalis, L. Syst. Nat. i, p. 99 (1766) ; W. Sclater, Cat. p. 129. Bos arnee, Kerr, An. King. p. 336 (1792) ; Gray, A. M. N. H. (2) xvi, p. 230 (1855) ; id. P. Z. S. 1855, p. 17, pi. xl.
Bos buffelus, Blumenbach, Handb. Naturgesch. p. 121 (1821) ; W. Blanf. J. A. S. B. xxxvi, pt. 2, p. 195.
Bubalus arna, Hodgson, J. A. S. B. x, pp. 469, 912 (1841), xvi, p. 709 ; Horsfield, Cat. p. 179.
Bubalus buffelus, Kelaart, Prod. p. 87 ; Blyth, Cat. p. 163.
Bubalus arni, Jerdon, Mam. p. 307 ; Blyth, Mam. Birds Burma, p. 49.

Arna (male) , Arni (fem.) , H. ; commonly Arna bhainsa, Jangli bhains (bhains, tame buffalo) ; Manq, Bhagalpur ; Mains, Bengali ; Bir Biar, Ho-Kol ; Gera erumi, Gond ; Mi Harak, Cingalese ; Moh, Assamese ; Siloi, Kuki Gubui, Rili, Ziz, Le, Naga ; Misip, Cachari; Iroi, Manipiui; Kywai, Burmese ; Pana, Karen : Karbo, Malay.

General form heavy, body massive, legs thick and short, hoofs large. Tail reaching the hocks (but, I think, variable in length). Ribs 13 pairs. Hair on the body very thin, especially in old animals. Muzzle large and square. Head carried very low. Skull elongate, nasals long, forehead nearly flat. Horns very large, flattened, transversely rugose, trigonal in section, tapering slowly and gradually from the base, curving at first upward, outward, and slightly backward from the plane of the face, the curve increasing towards the ends, where the horns curve inwards and a little forwards. The horns depart but little from one plane throughout. In some (macrocerus of Hodgson) the horns are almost straight till near the end, where they turn more rapidly upward.

Colour throughout dark ashy, almost black. The legs are sometimes whitish ; in some tame forms the legs are white to the same height as in the Gaur. Horns black.

Dimensions. According to Jerdon (who probably took the figures from Hodgson) and others, the wild buffalo measures in height up to 6½ feet, and in length from snout to root of tail 10½. Kinloch, however (' Large Game Shooting,' ed. 2, pp. 88, 91), doubts if any exceed 5 ft. 4 in. in height (16 hands), and gives the following measurements of a good-sized bull : height 5 ft., length from nose to root of tail 9 ft. 7 in. ; tail 3 ft. 11 in. ; girth 8 ft. 3 in. ; length of horns from tip to tip round curve 8 ft. 3 in. This is a common way of measuring buffalo horns. The longest recorded single horn known, one in the British Museum, measures 78 inches, which would give an outside sweep of about 14 feet. Cows' horns arelonger than bulls', but of less girth. Basal length of a large bull's skull 22.8 inches, orbital breadth 10.25.

Distribution. Plains of the Brahmaputra and Ganges from the eastern end of Assam to Tirhoot, and the Terai as far west as Rohilcund, the plains near the coast in Midnapore and Orissa, and also plains in the Eastern Central Provinces (Mandla, Raipur, Sambalpur, Bastar, and other districts) as far south as the Godavari and Pranhita rivers, and perhaps a little beyond. Wild buffaloes are wanting in Southern and Western India, but abundant in Northern Ceylon. Some buffaloes are also found in the wild state in Burma and the Malay Peninsula, but it is uncertain whether they are not descended from herds escaped from captivity.

Varieties. Besides the two forms, one with horns approaching a circle (spirocerus of Hodgson) and the other with horns nearly straight at first and turned up at the end (macrocerus of Hodgson), there is a very distinct race of a dun colour that inhabits Upper Assam. I have seen two heads of bulls, one in Mr. Hume's collection now in the British Museum, the other in the Indian Museum, Calcutta. These differ in the much more convex forehead, and the skull is remarkably short in front of the orbits, the nasals being shorter than the distance from their posterior end to the vertex, whilst in ordinary buffaloes they are longer. This difference is so great that the form requires a distinctive name, and may be called Bos bubalus, var. fulvus, or the dun buffalo.

Habits. The wild buffalo keeps chiefly to level ground and is generally found about swamps. It haunts the densest and highest grass-jungle or reeds, but is also found at times in open plains of short grass, or amongst low bushes, but very rarely in tree-forest.

Buffaloes associate in herds, often of large size. I have seen 50 together, and have heard of much larger assemblages. They feed chiefly on grass, in the evening, at night, and in the morning (probably morning and evening as a rule), and lie down, generally in high grass, not unfrequently in a marsh, during the day ; they are by no means shy, nor do they appear to shun the neighbourhood of man, and they commit great havoc amongst growing crops. Sometimes a herd or a solitary bull will take possession of a field and keep off the men who own it. In fact buffaloes are by far the boldest and most savage of the Indian Bovidae, and a bull not unfrequently attacks without provocation, though, probably on the principle that a council of war never fights, a herd, although all will gallop to within a short distance of an intruder and make most formidable demonstrations, never, I believe, attacks anyone who does not run away from them. A wounded animal of either sex often charges, and has occasionally been known to knock an elephant down. Buffaloes retain their courage in captivity, and, as mentioned already (ante, pp. 63, 67), a herd will attack a tiger or other dangerous animal without hesitation, and, although gentle with those they know and greatly attached to them, they are inclined to be hostile to strange men and strange animals. Whether wild or tame they delight in water, and often during the heat of the day lie down in shallow places with only parts of their heads above the surface.

Few, if any, tame animals have changed less in captivity than buffaloes. Unlike the yak and gayal, they never breed with tame cattle (B. indicus), although the cows often pair with wild bulls of their own species. Tame buffaloes are chiefly kept for milk and for draught. They have been introduced throughout many of the warmer parts of the Old World, and even in Italy, whither they were brought in the sixth century (Griffith's Cuvier, iv, p. 381). Both wild and tame rut in autumn ; the females gestate for 10 months (10 months and 10 days according to some), and bear one or two young in summer."

[Quelle: Blanford, W. T. <1832 – 1905>: Mammalia. -- 1888 - 1891. -- (Fauna of British India including Ceylon and Burma). -- S. 491 - 493. -- Online: -- Zugriff am 2007-09-06]