Carabao

Category: Farm

The carabao is the national animal of the Philippines. This domesticated water buffalo is used as a draft animal, as well as for its milk, meat and hide.

Carabao

Carabao

Scientific & Common Names

Kingdom - Animalia

Phylum - Chordata

Class - Mammalia

Order - Artiodactyla

Family - Bovidae

Subfamily - Bovinae

Genus - Bubalus

Species - B. bubalis

Common Name - Carabao, Caraballa (females)

Characteristics

Carabaos are heavily built and well-suited to their role as working animals. They range from light to dark grey in coloration, and feature long backward-curving horns on their heads. They can weigh over a thousand pounds and measure as high as 54 inches at the shoud

Breeding

The Phillipine Carabao Center studies and promotes the Carabao as an arm of the Department of Agriculture. Carabao have been crossbred with Murrah buffalo, a type of water buffalo from India, to increase dairy production.

Behavior

Though these animals are well adapted to hot and humid environments, carabaos require sources of water to cool off in. They like to wallow in mud so it coats their skin, which helps keep bugs from biting them and cools them down.

History

The carabao is vital to agriculture in the Philippines, with many different jobs and uses. Carabaos often pull “Paragos,” a wooden tool used to flatten land for farming. These water buffaloes were introduced into the Philippines around 300 BC by Malay and Chinese settlers, and in the early 1900s larger carabaos from Cambodia were imported, as well as other buffaloes from India and Pakistan. The term "carabao" is used to refer to any imported or native water buffalo in the Philippines.

Present Status

As a domesticated animal, carabao are in no danger of becoming extinct or endangered. They are widespread throughout the Philippines on all the main islands, and in 2003 there were over 3 million carabao. They are used for a variety of purposes from tilling fields to racing.