Bos javanicusbanteng

Geographic Range

Banteng inhabit various areas in Southeast Asia. Believed to have first been domesticated on Java, they are also now found in Bali, Burma, Borneo, Thailand, and Malaysia (D'Alton 1823, Nowak 1999).


Banteng appear to prefer more open and drier regions near dense thickets, and rely less on the presence of water than the closely related Bos gaurus (gaur). During the monsoon season, banteng herds tend to migrate to higher areas, ocuppying dense forests and bamboo jungles (Nowak 1999).

Physical Description

Male and female banteng are easily distinguishable. Both sexes carry the characteristic white stockings and white rump, as well as white muzzle and white spots above the eyes. Females are brown to reddish brown with a dark dorsal stripe. Their short crescent-shaped horns point inward at the tips and their appearance is trim and distinctly cattle-like. Males are blackish brown to blue-black with the horns being more angular and turning out and then up, with the tips turning inward. Horns in males grow to 60 to 75 cm in length and are connected at the base by a horn-like patch on the forehead. Both sexes have a slight hump on their back above the shoulders.

Banteng range from 190 to 225 cm in total body length and average 160 cm in height at the shoulder. Their tail measures 65 to 70 cm and they weigh between 600 and 800 kg (D'Alton 1823, Nowak 1999).

  • Range mass
    600 to 800 kg
    1321.59 to 1762.11 lb
  • Range length
    190 to 225 cm
    74.80 to 88.58 in


There is generally only one adult male in each banteng herd. That male reproduces with all adult females in the herd. Males compete for dominance of a herd and are probably not able to maintain a herd unless they are in prime condition and fully adult.

Banteng are capable of breeding year round while in captivity. Wild banteng limit their breeding to the months of May and June. Gestation period lasts 285 days, after which they give birth to a single young. A young banteng can nurse anywhere from six to nine months and will not reach full maturity until two or three years old (D'Alton 1823, Nowak 1999).

  • Breeding season
    Mating occurs in May and June, births typically occur in March and April.
  • Range number of offspring
    1 (low)
  • Average number of offspring
  • Average number of offspring
  • Average gestation period
    9.5 months
  • Average gestation period
    295 days
  • Range weaning age
    6 to 9 months
  • Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female)
    2 to 3 years
  • Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female)
    3 years
  • Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male)
    2 to 3 years
  • Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male)
    3 years

Females care for and nurse their young for 6 to 9 months after their birth. Young are capable of standing and walking shortly after birth.


Wild banteng have been known to live for up to twenty years, while the oldest one in captivity was still living at twenty-six years and seven months (D'Alton 1823, Jones 1993, Nowak 1999).

  • Range lifespan
    Status: captivity
    20 to 26 years
  • Typical lifespan
    Status: wild
    16 to 20 years
  • Average lifespan
    Status: captivity
    27.1 years


Herds of 2-40 animals with a single mature male form. Other males live alone or in bachelor groups. In undisturbed areas banteng are largely diurnal, though may be active at any time of the day. In areas where they have been harassed by humans they become nocturnal, feeding throughout the night. Banteng are shy and wary, they rely on the presence of dense vegetation in which to take shelter (Nowak 1991).

Communication and Perception

Food Habits

During the dry season, banteng herds move to dry valleys where their primary diet is grass. When the monsoon season arrives, the herds move to the forest highlands and bamboo jungles where their diet consists of herbaceous plants, such as bamboo (Nowak 1999).

  • Plant Foods
  • leaves


Humans are the major predators of banteng. They use the animals for food, clothing, and commercial trade (Nowak 1999). In historic times banteng may also have been preyed upon by tigers, though most subspecies of tiger that occur throughout the range of banteng are currently extinct or severely endangered. Dhole may prey on young, elderly, or ill individuals.

Their large size makes them invulnerable to many predators.

Ecosystem Roles

Banteng are important members of the ecosystems in which they live. They are important in nutrient cycling and influence the composition of plant communities through their grazing and browsing activities.

Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

Banteng are used for food, leather goods, and commercial trade. There are several million domesticated banteng estimated to be used for meat production and as work animals currently (Nowak 1991). To a certain degree, they are used to promote tourism. Big game hunters pay to track and kill these large game animals near the Coburg Peninsula.

  • Positive Impacts
  • food
  • body parts are source of valuable material
  • ecotourism

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

There are no negative affects of banteng for humans.

Conservation Status

Banteng are classified as an endangered species by the IUCN (1996), and the U.S. Department of the Interior. This is due to the destruction of habitat, hunting, commercial trade, disease transmission from domestic cattle (Bos taurus), and contamination of the gene pool caused by hybridization with domestic cattle. Banteng and domestic cattle matings result in fertile offspring (Nowak 1999).

Wild populations of banteng remain only in isolated areas of Borneo and Java. Total populations are estimated at less than 5,000 to 8,000 individuals, with no populations numbering more than 500 animals. Banteng have been extirpated in India, Bangladesh, and western Malaysia. Asian mainland populations have declined by 80% in the last 20 years.

There is almost no legal trade in banteng but illegal trade in banteng horns is widespread. There are no population monitoring systems in place.


Jason Saari (author), University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Chris Yahnke (editor), University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.



young are born in a relatively underdeveloped state; they are unable to feed or care for themselves or locomote independently for a period of time after birth/hatching. In birds, naked and helpless after hatching.

bilateral symmetry

having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.


uses smells or other chemicals to communicate

dominance hierarchies

ranking system or pecking order among members of a long-term social group, where dominance status affects access to resources or mates


humans benefit economically by promoting tourism that focuses on the appreciation of natural areas or animals. Ecotourism implies that there are existing programs that profit from the appreciation of natural areas or animals.


animals that use metabolically generated heat to regulate body temperature independently of ambient temperature. Endothermy is a synapomorphy of the Mammalia, although it may have arisen in a (now extinct) synapsid ancestor; the fossil record does not distinguish these possibilities. Convergent in birds.

female parental care

parental care is carried out by females


union of egg and spermatozoan


an animal that mainly eats leaves.


A substance that provides both nutrients and energy to a living thing.


forest biomes are dominated by trees, otherwise forest biomes can vary widely in amount of precipitation and seasonality.


An animal that eats mainly plants or parts of plants.

internal fertilization

fertilization takes place within the female's body


referring to animal species that have been transported to and established populations in regions outside of their natural range, usually through human action.


offspring are produced in more than one group (litters, clutches, etc.) and across multiple seasons (or other periods hospitable to reproduction). Iteroparous animals must, by definition, survive over multiple seasons (or periodic condition changes).


makes seasonal movements between breeding and wintering grounds


having the capacity to move from one place to another.

native range

the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.


active during the night


found in the oriental region of the world. In other words, India and southeast Asia.

World Map


having more than one female as a mate at one time

scrub forest

scrub forests develop in areas that experience dry seasons.

seasonal breeding

breeding is confined to a particular season


reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female


associates with others of its species; forms social groups.


uses touch to communicate


Living on the ground.


the region of the earth that surrounds the equator, from 23.5 degrees north to 23.5 degrees south.


reproduction in which fertilization and development take place within the female body and the developing embryo derives nourishment from the female.


Brown, D., R. Burton(editors). 1974. Funk and Wagnalls Wildlife Encyclopedia. New York, NY: Funk and Wagnalls, Inc..

D'Alton, 1823. Bos Javaricus. Java: Die Skelete der Wiederkauer.

Nowak, R. 1999. Walker's Mammals of the World. 6th ed.. Baltimore, Maryland: The John Hopkins University Press.