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16 Animals That Look Like Buffalos (With Photos!)

Buffalos or American bison are huge North American hoofed mammals with plenty of look-alikes!

Examples of animals that look like buffalos include European bison, banteng, gaur, African buffalo, water buffalo, gayal, yak, zebu, and many others.

Not too many that sound familiar? Let’s jump straight in and see what each of these buffalo doppelgängers looks like!

A small note before we proceed: We will use the colloquial name of buffalo to refer to American bison. Keep in mind that despite their names being used interchangeably, a bison and a buffalo are two different animals. The true species of buffalo are found in Asia and Africa, while the two bison species are only found in North America and Europe.

Buffalo Visual Appearance

American Bison

Animals That Look Like Buffalos

European Bison

European Bison
  • Scientific name: Bison bonasus
  • Size: 7.9-10.8 ft 
  • Weight: 930-2,000 lb
  • Found In: Europe

Also known as European wood bison, European buffalos, wisents, or zubrs, the European bison are the closest relatives and the most resembling animals to buffalos. 

They are the heavies wild land animals in Europe (weighing up to 2,000 pounds!) and look superficially similar to American buffalos. Both are huge and have stocky builds with big heads, long horns, and large and sharp hooves.

European bison are herbivores with dense dark to golden brown coats, short necks, pronounced shoulder humps, and long manes on their foreheads and necks. 

They were once widespread throughout Europe, but due to hunting, their populations almost got eradicated. 

Europan bison inhabit deciduous and mixed forests with open grasslands and low-lying vegetation where they feed on grasses, and leaves – during summer an adult male can consume over 70 pounds of food a day! 

These buffalo look-alikes are one of the national animals of Poland and Belarus.


male and female banteng
Source: Magalhães, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
  • Scientific name: Bos javanicus
  • Size: 6.2-7.4 ft 
  • Weight: 1,300-1,800 lb
  • Found In: Asia

Bantengs or tembadaus are large cattle species found in Southeast Asia. 

These shy animals can be seen in different habitats, including grasslands, dense forests, and open glades. 

Similar to buffalos, bantengs have stocky builds and weigh a lot – wild specimens can reach 1,800 pounds while domesticated ones are from 450 to 530 pounds. 

These animals are herbivores and feed on grasses, leaves, fruits, shoots, and flowers. They usually form big herds (2-40 animals) with a single bull. Due to their reclusive and timid nature, they are hard to approach in the wild and will often run away. 

Male bulls tend to be dark brown to black and are a lot bigger than females who are usually pale brown or red. 

Wild bantengs are listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) with an estimated population of around 8,000 individuals.

Fun Fact: The word “banteng” means “old bull” in the Indonesian language.

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Indian bison
  • Scientific name: Bos gaurus 
  • Size: 8.2-10.8 ft 
  • Weight: 970-3,300 lb
  • Found In: Asia

Gaur or the Indian bison is the largest cattle species on the planet. 

Males can weigh between 2,200 and 3,300 pounds and females between 970–2,200 pounds – only rhinos, elephants, and giraffes are heavier land animals than them!

Due to their massive size, imposing physique, horns, humps, and dark color, it’s not hard to see why gaurs might be occasionally mistaken for buffalos.

These powerful animals served as inspiration for the Krating Daeng energy drink and are native to south and southeastern Asia. Gaurs prefer areas with glades and open terrain that are rich in water and herbs, shrubs, and grasses.

Unfortunately, their population has been on the decline with around 21,000 of these animals estimated to be alive (2016 report).


Source: balu from hyderabad, india, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
  • Scientific name: Bos frontalis 
  • Size: 8.2-11 ft 
  • Weight: 1,400-2,200 lb
  • Found In: Asia

This another ridiculously-large Asian cattle species is also known as mithun or Drung ox. 

Gayals are found in China, Myanmar, Bangladesh, and India where they inhabit hill forests. They have dark coats, thick horns, and short legs – gayals are very social animals that live in herds. 

These semi-domesticated animals are active during the day and have a herbivorous diet consisting of herbs, shrubs, and other plants. 

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Wild Yak

Wild Yak
Source: Rufus46, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
  • Scientific name: Bos mutus 
  • Size: 7.9-12 ft 
  • Weight: 1,100-3,100 lb
  • Found In: Asia

Wild yaks are among the largest bovids in the world. 

They are native to the Himalayas and are considered to be ancestors of domestic yaks. Wild yaks can measure between 7.9 and 12 feet long, weigh over 3,000 pounds, and stand up to 6.7 feet tall at the shoulder. 

The main similarities between wild yaks and buffalos include their bulky frame, dark coats, sturdy legs, and round hooves. 

Wild yaks inhabit elevations from 13,000 to 20,000 feet in the alpine tundra, grasslands, and cold desert regions of the Tibetan plateau. Because they live in such extreme environments, males will grow “skirts,” long undercoats that can reach the ground. 

They are listed as Vulnerable by the IUCN and have an estimated population of around 10,000 individuals.

Domestic Yak

Domestic yak
Source: travelwayoflife, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
  • Scientific name: Bos grunniens 
  • Size: 8.2-11 ft 
  • Weight: 500-1,300 lb
  • Found In: Asia

These long-haired domesticated cattle are also found in Asia. 

Domestic yaks are also known as hairy cattle, grunting oxen, or Tartary oxen, and are well-adapted to the high altitudes they live at. 

They have bigger lungs and hearts compared to animals found at lower altitudes – however, due to their specialized adaptations for cold weather, yaks might suffer from heat exhaustion at temperatures around 59 °F!

Just like buffalos, yaks have similarly bulky builds, dense fur, short necks with large heads, pronounced humps, sturdy legs, and rounded hooves. 

People domesticated yaks some 5,000 years ago for their meat, fiber, and milk, and to use them as beasts of burden. In some parts of Asia, people will organize yak racing as a form of entertainment at traditional festivals. 


  • Scientific name: Bos taurus
  • Size: Various
  • Weight: 600-3,000 lb
  • Found In: Widespread

Cattle are large and domesticated herbivores related to yaks, bison, and buffalos. 

These ruminants with horns and cloven hoofs have been domesticated for their milk, meat, and hides, or to be used as beasts of burden. 

Adult females are known as cows while adult males are known as bulls. Bulls are bigger, most muscular, and more aggressive than females – due to their muscular necks, large size, enormous heads, wooly hair, and humps on their shoulders, bulls can be easily mistaken for buffalos. 

The weight depends on the breed of cattle; the world’s heaviest bull ever recorded weighed 3,840 pounds at a show in 1955 in Italy!

Fun Fact: People often think that the red color angers bulls but this is not the case. They are partially color-blind and are provoked to charge (at a matador in the arena, for example) by the movement of the cape, not the color.


  • Scientific name: Bos indicus 
  • Size: 3.5-4 ft 
  • Weight: 330-600+ lb
  • Found In: Widespread

Also known as indicine cattle or humped cattle, zebus are large domesticated bovines used for their meat, hides, milk, and horns. 

Although they can be found on almost all continents, zebus are most common in southeastern Asia. These large herbivores feed on grass, seeds, leaves, and flowers, and have a characteristical fatty hump on their shoulders, just like in camels. 

Scientists seem to have an issue classifying these buffalo look-alikes as zebus were first considered as distinct species in 1939, then as subspecies of domestic cattle in 2005, only to be reclassified as distinct species in 2011. 

There are over 75 breeds of zebu with many of them being well-adapted to survive high temperatures. 

Fun Fact: Scientists from Texas A&M University successfully cloned a zebu in 1999.

African Buffalo

African Buffalo
  • Scientific name: Syncerus caffer 
  • Size: 5.6-11.2 ft 
  • Weight: 600-1,900 lb
  • Found In: Africa

Found in savannas, swamps, grasslands, forests, and floodplains of the major mountains of Africa, the African buffalos are one of the only two “true” buffalo species. 

Due to their aggressive nature and unpredictable temperament, African buffalos were never domesticated. They can be identified long and stocky bodies, horns, short legs, and darker colors. 

In males, the base of their horns can almost fuse together and form a shield called “boss”. The larger and thicker the boss, the higher the rank of that animal in the dominance hierarchy. 

There are two African buffalo subspecies; Cape buffalos are larger than forest buffalos. 

Fun Fact: African buffalos will “vote” where they want the herd to go next – after sitting in the shades, the entire herd will get up and start moving in the direction most animals were pointing towards when resting.

Water Buffalo

Asian water buffalo
Source: Eleleleven from Bielefeld, Deutschland, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
  • Scientific name: Bubalus bubalis
  • Size: 8.7 ft
  • Weight: 660-1,210 lb
  • Found In: Asia, Europe, Australia, North America, South America, and Africa

Water buffalos, also known as domestic water buffalos, are the Asian counterparts of African buffalos. 

These large animals originated from Asia and there are two subspecies of water buffalo recognized today, the river buffalos and the swamp buffalos. 

Measuring up to 6.2 feet at the shoulder, they can be identified by their gray-black coats, enormous horns, and their mud-loving behavior.

They will spend most of their days sitting in muddy waters of Asia’s tropical and subtropical forests thanks to their hoofed feet that prevent them from sinking too deep in the mud. 

They were domesticated from the wild water buffalos some 6,000 years ago and there are over 206 million individuals distributed worldwide today with around 97% of those found in Asia.

Black Wildebeest 

Black Wildebeest
Source: Vassil, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
  • Scientific name: Connochaetes gnou 
  • Size: 5.5-7.2 ft 
  • Weight: 240-400 lb
  • Found In: Africa

Wildebeests are often referred to as “poor man’s buffalos” due to their close resemblance to buffalos – both have large heads, wide nostrils, and thick necks. 

Black wildebeests are also known as white-tailed gnus and have dark coats, bushy manes around their necks, long horns, and long horse-like tails (hence the name white-tailed gnu). 

These herbivores have most of their diet consisting of grasses which is why they mostly inhabit shrublands, grasslands, and open plains. 

Black wildebeests are social animals that form herds of 10 to 60 animals with three groups: first, females and their young, second, bachelor herds with yearlings and old males, and third, territorial bulls. 

Blue Wildebeest

Blue Wildebeest
  • Scientific name: Connochaetes taurinus 
  • Size: 5.6-7.9 ft
  • Weight: 319-640 lb
  • Found In: Africa

Blue wildebeests are known under several names, including the brindled gnus, white-bearded gnus, and common wildebeests. 

They are closely related to black wildebeests and that’s why they also resemble buffalos. 

Blue wildebeests are found in grassy plains and open woodlands of central, southern, and eastern Africa where they mostly rest (50% of the time), graze (33%), and move and socialize (27%). 

They have broad and developed shoulders, large heads, muscular and front-heavy appearance, and large muzzles. 

These animals will often cross great distances in pursuit of water and food, passing as much as 1,000 miles a year.


Source: Karelj, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
  • Scientific name: Budorcas taxicolor 
  • Size: 5.2-7.2 ft 
  • Weight: 550-770 lb
  • Found In: Asia

Takin, also known as cattle chamois or gnu goat, is a large animal that resembles buffalo, found in the eastern Himalayas. 

A national animal of Bhutan, the takin is among the biggest and the stockiest among the sheep, goats, and other species. Takins are easy to recognize by their large heads, long and arched noses, deep chests, horns, and general stocky appearance. 

There are four subspecies with colors ranging from grayish and creamy white to dark black and reddish brown. It is said that in the ancient Greek myth of the Jason and the Argonauts, the golden fleece was actually the coat of the golden takin (B. t. bedfordi). 

These animals are common in different habitats, ranging from rocky, grass-covered alpine zones to forested valleys. 


  • Scientific name: Ovibos moschatus 
  • Size: 4.4-8.2 ft 
  • Weight: 400-900 lb
  • Found In: Arctic region

Muskox or musk ox is a large animal native to the Arctic region. 

These animals mostly live in Greenland, northern parts of Canada, Alaska, Siberia, Norway, and Sweeden, and got their name after the strong odor males emit when they get into heat. 

Muskoxen look like buffalos due to their large size, thick coats, and big heads with horns. 

They live in small herds of 10-20 animals with dominance hierarchies – mature oxen will assert their dominance by roaring, swinging their heads, pawing the ground, or by “rushing and butting” where the alpha bull rushes another from the side with his horns as a warning. 

Despite the name and looks, musk oxen are more closely related to sheep and goats than to oxen. 

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Mountain Goat

Mountain Goat
  • Scientific name: Oreamnos americanus 
  • Size: 3.9-5.9 ft 
  • Weight: 100-310 lb
  • Found In: North America

Mountain goats or Rocky Mountain goats are large hoofed mammals endemic to mountainous parts of western North America. 

Despite the name, they are not very closely related to goats but to takins and chamois. 

Mountain goats have wooly coats to protect themselves from cold weather and strong winds and feet that are well-suited for climbing steep rocky slopes. They prefer high-altitude environments, sometimes over 13,000 feet where they can be the largest mammals. 

Mountain goats are herbivores and spend most of their time feeding on twigs, leaves, herbs, grasses, lichens, mosses, etc.

They might have different coat colors, but buffalos and mountain goats share similar stocky builds.

Read More: Examples of animals like groundhogs


Moose with huge antlers
  • Scientific name: Alces alces 
  • Size: 7.9-10.2 ft
  • Weight: 800-1,500 lb
  • Found In: North America, Asia, and Europe

Moose (in North America) or elk (in Europe) are the largest members of the deer family. 

These 1,500 pounds heavy beasts have enormous sizes, stocky builds, large ears, long squared faces, and huge antlers, sharing some similarities with buffalos. 

The largest moose ever recorded was an Alaskan moose that had a shoulder height of 7.6 feet and a weight of 1,800 pounds!

Even with such a rough appearance, they are actually good swimmers that can move through water for miles at around 6 mph! 

Moose are usually found around forests in temperate to subarctic climates.

They have a strong sense of smell and hearing but their eyesight is poor – a such well-developed sense of smell allows them to detect the odor of a potential predator from a long distance away. These bold animals are equipped to protect themselves from wolves and bears thanks to their huge antlers and stonk kicks. 

Despite a common misconception, moose actually have tails – they are just very short and hard to notice.


This concludes our list of animals that look like buffalos.

Examples include several species of wildebeest, cattle, yaks, bantengs, gaurs, and many others. 

We hope you enjoyed our article; if you did, feel free to check: Examples of animals like meerkats and Examples of animals that look like sea lions

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