Carabao Buffalo: Characteristics, Origin & Uses Info

The Carabao buffalo is a swamp-type breed of domestic water buffalo which is native to the Philippines. It is considered the national animal of the Philippines.

It is also the official animal of the state of Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia. During 300 to 200 BCE, water buffaloes were probably introduced to the Philippines by Malay immigrants.

The ultimate origin of the word “Carabao” is an unidentified Austroasiatic language via Malay. The female is called a caraballa.

The Indonesian Minangkabau people take the name of this breed from the cognate in their Malayic language, the Minangkabau language.

However, read some more information about this domestic buffalo breed below.

Physical Characteristics of Carabao Buffalo

The Carabao buffalo has a low, wide and heavy build body. Their body coloration vary from light grey to slate grey.

They have common chevrons, and their horns are sickle-shaped or curve backward toward the neck.

Average body height of the mature Carabao buffalo is between 127 and 137 cm for bulls, and between 124 and 129 cm for cows.

Average live body weight of the mature bulls is between 420 and 500 kg. And average live body weight of the mature cows is between 400 and 425 kg. Photo and info from Wikipedia.
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The Carabao buffaloes are multi-purpose animals, and they are used for many different purposes.

They are used for meat, milk, hide, riding, draught and many different agriculture purposes.

Special Notes

The Carabao buffaloes are very hardy animals. They are well adapted to a hot and humid climate.

Availability of water is of high importance in hot climates since they need wallows, rivers or splashing water for reducing the heat load and thermal stress.

They generally prefer to wallow in mudhole that they make with the horns.

The Carabao buffaloes can thrive on many aquatic plants and in time of flood will graze submerged, rising their heads above the water and carrying quantities of edible plants.

They generally eat reeds, the giant reed, bulrush, sedges, the common water hyacinth, and rushes. For fattening and intensive milk production, green fodders are used.

And many fodder crops are conserved for them as hay, chaffed or pulped. These animals are generally feed in the cool of the mornings and evenings.

Average lifespan of the Carabao buffalo is between 18 and 20 years, and the females can deliver one calf each year. Review full breed profile of the Carabao buffalo in the table below.

Carabao Buffalo | Breed Profile

Breed Name Carabao
Other Name None
Breed Purpose Milk, meat, riding, hide, draught, agriculture
Special Notes Very hardy, well adapted to a hot and humid climate, availability of water is of high importance, they need wallows, feed in the cool of the mornings and evenings, 18 to 20 years of average lifespan, the females can deliver one calf each year
Breed Size Medium


Bulls Between 420 and 500 kg
Cows Between 400 and 425 kg
Climate Tolerance Native climates
Color Light grey to slate-grey
Rarity Common
Country/Place of Origin Philippines

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