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Rainforest Animals – Gaur

Name:

Gaur

Scientific Name:

Bos gaurus

Status:

Vulnerable

Scientific Classification:

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Mammalia

Order: Artiodactyla

Family: Bovidae

Genus: Bos

Species: B. gaurus

General Information:

The gaur is a large bovine of South and Southeast Asia, occurring in its largest numbers in India. It is the largest of all wild cattle, even larger than the American bison and the water buffalo. The domesticated gaur is called the gayal. It is a fearsome, hulking presence throughout its range, with only the tiger as its natural predator. And, even then, the gaur can get the better of the tiger in a large share of their encounters. Although it is known to be relatively shy in areas of little human encroachment, the gaur can be quite aggressive and hostile in areas where the presence of humans are abundant. When alarmed or provoked, a charging gaur can wrought great damage and harm. It is known to go into fields to graze alongside domesticated cattle, and will sometimes even kill them during fights. Bulls may also charge without provocation, especially during the summer when the heat and parasites make them more irritable than usual.

Physical Description:

The male has a sturdy, muscular body with a distinctive dorsal ridge over its shoulders. Females are considerably smaller, with less developed dorsal ridges. Males stand about 5 ft 11 in to 6 ft 2.5 in at the shoulder and can weigh 2,200 – 3,300 lbs. Females are about 7.9 in shorter and can have weights of 1,540 – 2,200 lbs. Size varies across the various subspecies of gaur, with the Malayan variety being the smallest and the Southeast Asian gaur being the largest. It has a short dark brown coat with white or tan lower legs. Its tail is shorter than those of domesticated cattle, and its horns are flattened from front to back.

Diet:

Gaurs are herbivores and feed primarily on grass and leaves, but are also known to eat other plants.

Habitat:

Gaurs live in small herds of up to 40 animals, and are more or less diurnal in nature. They are found in forested hills and grassy areas, and have home ranges of approximately 30 sq. miles. The gaur is found in Bangladesh, China, Bhutan, Cambodia, Laos, India, Peninsular Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Reproduction:

Gaurs can breed at all times during the course of a year, but breeding reaches a peak between December and June. Gestation lasts about 275 days, with 1, or rarely, 2 calves per birth. The young reach sexual maturity in their 2nd or 3rd years.

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