Last updated on January 1st, 2024 at 12:25 am
Examples of animals that look like Gayal include Bison, Zebu, gaur, Banteng, water buffalo, Kouprey, yak, Tamaraw, and many others.
Their blackish-brown head and body skin, with white or yellowish lower limbs, set them apart. From birth to market, they freely roam forests within herds.
Active during the day, gayals prefer shaded rest in the midday heat. Herbivores consume tree fodders, shrubs, herbs, and natural vegetation. Smaller than the gaur, gayals stand at 140–160 cm (55–63 inches) and weigh up to a ton, 20–25 percent more than females.
Where do Gayals Found?
Gayals, descendants of wild gaur, originated over 8000 years ago. They are native to Northeast India, Bangladesh, northern Myanmar, and Yunnan, China, inhabiting hill forests. In India, semi-domesticated gayals are kept by various ethnic groups in Tripura, Mizoram, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, and Nagaland. They also exist in the Chittagong Hill Tracts. Preferring cold and mild climates, gayals primarily thrive in tropical rainforests.
Unveil the world of Gayal and their look-alikes – eight creatures that might easily be mistaken for these distinctive animals!
8 Animals like Gayal
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Scientific name (genus): Bison
How are they like Gayals: Bison are hollow-horned and Gayal-like, sharing most traits with Gayals – but have a shaggy ruff and a hump on their back.
Bison, commonly referred to as buffalo in the United States, belongs to the bovine genus closely related to cows. The surviving species are the largest land mammals in North America and Europe.
The American Bison can weigh over 2,800 pounds, impressive though domestic cattle, specially bred for size, can surpass this, with Texas longhorns occasionally exceeding 4,000 pounds.
While bison are protected in the United States, Canada, and Europe, they are also farmed for meat, fur, and entertainment purposes in zoos and petting zoos.
Scientific name: Bos gaurus
How are they like Gayals: The Gaur, the largest species of wild cattle, typically stands over 6 feet tall at the shoulders and measures over 10 feet in length. Interestingly, they share a visual resemblance to Gayals.
Gaurs, a wild species of cattle native to the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia, exhibit distinctive features, including a pronounced ridge above the shoulders that can extend nearly 5 inches higher than the rump, resulting in a noticeable hump.
Their broad, fat heads sport sideways pointing horns, akin to the American bison. Similar to bison, gaurs utilize their horns for charging, headbutting, and engaging in horn-locking encounters.
Notably, gaurs are a protected species, with fewer than 20,000 remaining in the wild. They have a relatively long lifespan of up to 30 years, surpassing domestic cattle by as much as 10 years.
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Scientific name: Bos mutus / Bos grunniens
How are they like Gayals: Yaks resemble long-haired cattle, sharing similar horns with modern domestic Gayals. However, their shaggy underbellies and stockier bodies set them apart, creating a marked difference in appearance.
Yaks encompass two species: Bos mutus (wild yaks) and Bos grunniens (domesticated yaks).
While considered subspecies due to few differences other than disposition, both play vital roles in the Himalayas, impacting life and economics in Yunnan, Sichuan, Kashmir, Mongolia, and Tibet.
Yaks contribute wool for garments and blankets and serve as transportation, featuring in riding and racing in isolated villages.
Additionally, they can interbreed with cattle, yielding hybrids like the Dzo, although male hybrids are sterile due to species differences.
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Scientific name: Bos indicus
How are they like Gayals: The zebu or humped cattle is a domestic cattle closely related to the Gayal but with longer ears.
Zebus, domestic cattle are known for their shoulder hump and long pointed or drooping ears, closely resembling short-horned cattle, distinguished by a pronounced hump.
Similar to domestic cows, Zebus vary in sizes, colors, and horn types, with significant differences among siblings. Their loose neck and chest skin help dissipate heat, making them well-adapted to tropical and desert regions.
Zebus are often interbred with domestic cattle to enhance heat resistance, but only the females of this cross-breed are fertile.
They serve various purposes, including meat, milk, draught for pulling wagons and plows, and occasionally for riding. In many aspects, Zebus is remarkably similar to Gayals.
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Scientific name: Bos javanicus
How are they like Gayals: Banteng is so akin to Gayals that distinguishing them from a distance can be nearly impossible.
Bantengs, a species of “Bos,” closely resemble domesticated cows, particularly the Taurine breed, making them nearly indistinguishable at a distance.
Despite their visual similarity, bantengs are generally smaller, ranging from as light as 500 lbs to a maximum of 2,000 lbs.
The majority of bantengs feature small, outwardly curving horns with a distinct white coloration that transitions to black on the horns, although some types exhibit uniform horn coloring.
Similar to other cattle on this list, bantengs can interbreed with Gayals, although it’s noteworthy that the males in this crossbreed are not fertile.
Scientific name: Bos sauveli
How are they like Gayals: Koupreys resemble tall, thin cattle with long horns and are otherwise indistinguishable from the Gayal.
Koupreys, a rare species native to Southeast Asia, inhabit forests and hills. Similar in appearance to Gayals, they are taller than most cattle, showcasing a distinctive hump or ridge along the shoulders and a slimmer physique.
These Gayal-like creatures graze on bamboo and various legumes in the wild, sharing an uncanny resemblance with Gayals in overall appearance.
The IUCN suggests the kouprey is likely extinct, with possibly fewer than 50 mature individuals remaining—an insufficient number for a viable population.
7. Water Buffalo
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Scientific name: Bubalus bubalus
How are they like Gayals: Water buffalo closely resemble Gayals and may be mistaken for them, although the horns are normally significantly larger and wider.
Water buffalo, a domesticated cattle species native to the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia, trace their roots to a wild and endangered ancestor, the “wild water buffalo.”
Despite differences in temperament and size, numbering around 130 million today, they serve as a crucial livelihood source for more people than any other animal on earth.
Categorized as river buffalo, carabao or swamp buffalo, and black buffalo, these variations share the same genetic profile, being breeds of the same species.
Water buffalo are integral for tasks like tilling, and they provide essential resources such as milk, meat, and hides.
Scientific name: Bubalus mindorensis
How are they like Gayals: Tamaraws are small, Gayal-like buffalo with short, v-shaped horns
Tamaraws, commonly known as the “dwarf” buffalo, are a buffalo species native to Mindoro in the Philippines.
Given their limited habitat and significance to locals for meat, tamaraws are currently critically endangered, with an estimated population of fewer than 250 animals remaining in the wild.
Despite being termed “dwarf,” tamaraws, with an average length of 7 feet and a weight of up to 700 lbs., are not truly “tiny.” Although smaller than their closest cousins, the water buffalo, and tamaraws have a significant presence.
In conclusion, Gayals stand as common and indispensable animals on our planet. Yet, they are not alone in their resemblance, with other Gayal-like creatures such as the Yak or the Water Buffalo sharing our coexistence. These large, friendly, and gentle animals consistently prove to be among humanity’s most reliable allies.
1. What are some animals similar to Gayal?
Examples include Bison, Zebu, Gaur, Banteng, Water Buffalo, Kouprey, Yak, Tamaraw, and others.
2. Are animals like Gayal endangered?
Yes, some species like Kouprey are critically endangered, facing significant conservation challenges.
3. Do animals like Gayal have cultural significance?
Yes, many of these animals, including Gayals, hold cultural and agricultural significance in various communities.
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