Our next stop in our notebooking safari across Asia takes us to Vietnam. If you’re new to the notebooking safari, visit our first stop here.
Another animal that I want to show you on our trip is the water buffalo. Water buffalo are extremely important to farmers in Vietnam. Farmers use the water buffalo to plow their land and do heavy farm work.
There are many different breeds of water buffalo, but they fall into two main subspecies—river buffalo and swamp buffalo. It’s the swamp buffalo that we’ll see today when the farmers finish their work in the rice paddies. There’s a wallow for a water buffalo just up the road there, do you see it? If we wait here for just a few minutes, I think we’ll see one come this way. They love to play in the mud—it helps them cool off after a hot day of work, and it stops the bugs from biting for a little while.
Oh, look up there, here comes one now. Yes, that’s a boy riding it! They are a lot like a big ox, and God made them just right for working in the rice paddies here in southeast Asia. Rice paddies are flooded for most of the growing season. All of that water creates an awful lot of mud! Water buffalo have flexible joints near their big hooves that help them walk through the mud much easier than other animals.
If you think that’s a big animal, you should see a wild water buffalo. This one, like all the ones used by the farmers, are the domesticated breeds. I’d say that one weighs about a ton (907 kg). But in the wild, they can grow to almost ten feet (three meters) long and weigh more than 2,500 pounds (1.13 metric tons).
You can watch some water buffalo cooling off in the water in the first part of this video.
Use this website to answer the following questions:
True or False:
1. Wild water buffalo outnumber domesticated water buffalo.
2. A female water buffalo usually has a calf once every two years.
3. Both male and female water buffalo have horns.
4. Water buffalo are sometimes referred to as the “living combines of the East.”
Research challenge: What kinds of jobs do farmers use water buffalo for?
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