Buffalo in the Badlands

“Stop the car! There are buffalo!!!”

After having heard that Badlands National Park is a haven for buffalo, I was anxiously awaiting a viewing. I really wanted to see what the animals looked like in person. Sure I know what they taste like- yum yum- but that’s a bit different from actually seeing the animal. So, when I saw some buffalo walking towards us in the evening, we had to stop the car to look and watch.

The buffaloes ambled across the field right towards our car. I (wisely) decided to stay in the car, as buffaloes have been  known to charge people. The animals don’t attack cars though as they can tell the cars are much bigger than them. Although I did wonder what would happen if a buffalo encountered one of those Smart Cars. I was even a little worried for the tiny hybrid car that was parked near us.

The buffalo walked over, probably to about 10 feet away from where we we parked, and just started scratching themselves on  some posts. You know, given that we were in a parking area, I think the designated purpose of the posts was to keep tourists from driving onto the prairire… But, shhh, don’t tell that to the buffaloes, I think they believed the posts existed solely for their scratching pleasure.

So, we sat and watched the buffaloes scratch themselves at the posts for a good twenty minutes. While watching, I noticed the strangest thing. Each of the buffaloes had this huge thing that hung down from its neck. Definitely wasn’t just the fur hanging from its chin, it really looked like a big piece of skin. Almost like a gizzard on a turkey, except huge. To date, I still have not figured out what that thing is called or what its purpose is.

In other news, buffaloes are big, and they have a lot of hair/fur. I really don’t think you need me to go into detail about that though, seems pretty obvious.

Conclusion about buffaloes: cool to see, wouldn’t want one as a pet.


Erika Written by:

One Comment

  1. Mom
    July 9, 2009

    Its called a dewlap, but no idea what its purpose is. Maybe to protect the jugular if attacked? Seems like since they are herbivores, they might be preyed upon by carnivores who would “go for the Jugular”.
    Just a guess, haven’t had a buffalo as a patient yet.

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