Ankole Cow


Ankole Cow

Scientific Name

Bos taurus


Ankole cows were domesticated thousands of years ago and are still farmed by humans for their meat, milk and hides (skin). Cows are ruminants; this means that they have a highly effective digestive system which allows them to get as much nutrition out of their food as possible.

Ankole cows are native to Africa and recognisable due to their large horns. It is thought that they are a cross between two different breeds of cattle that migrated to East Africa around 1000 BC.

Calves start to develop their characteristic horns at around 2 months old. By 18 months the horns are quite large however they are still hollow and therefore quite light. The horns have blood circulation which helps to cool the cows down in the African heat; as blood flows through the horn it is cooled and returned to the rest of the body. 

Ankole cows have a large muscle on top of their shoulders to help them cope with the large weight of their head and horns. They also have a special flap of skin on their lower neck called a dewlap.


British cows mostly eat grass in summertime and silage (preserved grass) in the winter months. Farmers may also supplement their cows’ diet with cereals and corn.

Size Fact

Some bulls can grow horns that span nearly 2 meters across!

Food Fact

Cows spend between 6-11 hours grazing per day.

Fun Fact

The Ankole cattle are named after the Watusi tribe of Africa.

IUCN Red list

Ankole cows are not currently listed on the IUCN red list.

Where do I live?

Ankole cows originate from Africa.

Our animals

Our Ankole cow is called Amy.

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