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Zebu

ZEBUBos taurus indicus

Conservation Status: Low Risk / Least Concern

Domestic

statusbar

CLASS

Mammalia

ORDER

Artiodactyla

FAMILY

Bovidae

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General Characteristics

Color: 

Grayish white, though some may be black or red.

Size:

Up to 56" tall at shoulders depending on breed.  

Weight:

325-3,000 lb depending on breed

Average Lifespan: 

12 - 20 years  

Captive Lifespan:

26 years

Distribution:

Domesticated worldwide; originally from India or Africa.

Reproduction:

Mating: 

Once a year, not subject to any one season

Gestation/Incubation:

280-290 days

Litter/Clutch Size:

1, sometimes 2

Mature: 

males in about two years, females in 8-10 months

Diet:

Grasses, herbs, leaves, twigs, and bamboo shoots

Behavior:

Like most cattle, zebu are gregarious and diurnal.  They are a herd dweller with a noticeable social structure.  These humpbacked cattle survive easily in hot climates and are often bred with other cattle to produce hardier animals.  Used as an excellent draft animals, especially in front of a plow or cart.

Teaching Facts:

1. The dewlap--the fold of skin hanging from the cattle’s neck may hang to the ground in some breeds. 

 

2. In India, cows and zebus are sacred to the Hindu people of the area.

3. Heat tolerance and disease resistance are two reasons why this species is successful in hot and tropical climates.