The gaur lives in herds to protect itself. Its main enemy is the tiger, which can kill a full grown adult. Related females and their young make up the largest herds. They are joined by a mature bull during breeding season. Individual bulls sometimes stay with the cows all year and keep watch for predators. The gaur benefits from sharing its range with wild pigs, deer, and birds that give loud warnings if there is an enemy approaching. The gaur favors upland tropical forests. In the high mountain areas where it resides, cold is not a problem. But this wild ox needs woodland to protect it from the burning midday sun. In place of the long, hairy coat of yak and bison from cold climates, the gaur has folds of loose skin that hang down from the nekc, known as dewlaps. It also has a hairy hump called the dorsal ridge. Both disperse body heat to cool the animal.
Food & Feeding
The gaur grazes most of the day, although it takes time off early in the morning and in the afternoon to sleep and to chew cud. Glades within the forest provide grass, but the gaur may also feed on lower slopes in the cool of the evening. Despite its size and bulk, the gaur is agile and can climb down steep gullies for food. The gaur grazes at night as well. Research suggests that wild cattle rarely sleep longer than an hour in any 24 hour period. Even this short period of sleep is made up of a large number of short, five-minute naps. In areas where a herd is constantly disturbed, this timetable may be confused.
Did you know?
Wild cattle species often synchronize their actions. When threatened, a herd of gaur all thump the ground with their forelegs in unison.
At one time the gaur was prized by big game hunters, who considered it a challenging quarry because of its elusive habits.
Cattle farmers sometimes allow their herds to share pastures with the gaur. This practice can endanger the wild herd, which may catch diseases, such as the foot-and-mouth disease.
The gaur can attack a predatory tiger and gore it on its massive horns.
Length: 8 to 10 feet.
Height: About 5 feet.
Horn length: Males, up to 3.5 feet.
Weight: Female, 1,500 pounds, Male, 2,100 pounds.
Scattered herds on the Indian peninsula, Mayanmar, Nepal, western Malaysia, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam.