Fun Mithun Facts For Kids

Shirin Biswas
Jan 14, 2023 By Shirin Biswas
Originally Published on Aug 17, 2021
Edited by Katherine Cook
Fact-checked by Sonali Rawat
Mithun Fact File
Age: 3-18
Read time: 5.5 Min

The mithun (Bos frontalis) or gayal is a member of the Gaur family and is a bovine animal. This animal is found in parts of Southeast Asia such as India, Nepal, Bhutan, and Bangladesh. This cow-like animal is domesticated widely around these areas and can quite frequently be seen on the roads as they take their daily walk. If you spot a black-colored cow-like animal with short legs and long horns and suspect it to be a gayal, check the color of the animal's legs. If the legs are white in color, then you have a spotted a gayal.

Mithuns are herbivorous animals and feed on grass and leaves from low plants. These mammals are also known to be quite noisy in herds, especially during the breeding season. Since they are mammals, these animals give birth to off-springs. Usually, only one calf is born per year.

This animal is domesticated for its many uses such as its nutritious milk, the benefits of its feces, and its ability to draw wagons. One of the most interesting facts about this animal is that it is the state animal of Arunachal Pradesh.

If you would like to read about more amazing animals, make sure to check out highland cattle and Nigerian dwarf goat here at Kidadl!

Mithun Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a mithun?

The mithun or gayal is a cow-like bovine animal.

What class of animal does a mithun belong to?

The class of animals that mithuns belong to is called Mammalia. In simpler terms, they belong to the same class as us.

How many mithuns are there in the world?

There are no conclusive studies regarding the exact number of mithuns in the world, however, it is known that they are a domestic species and currently are not facing any threats of becoming endangered.

Where does a mithun live?

Mithuns are domesticated animals that are found all over India, especially in Arunachal Pradesh. They are also found in parts of Nepal, Bhutan, and Bangladesh where they live in sheds built lovingly by the pet parents. They are called the 'Cattle of the Mountain' which tells us a lot about the terrain they like to inhabit.

What is a mithun's habitat?

The range of habitat for the Bos frontalis runs throughout the Indian subcontinent and the rest of southeastern Asia.

Who do mithuns live with?

Mithuns are mostly seen in herds with more of their own species and sometimes with cattle of other species as well. These animals are not aggressive and can have a variety of neighbors.

How long does a mithun live?

The average lifespan of a mithun or gayal is of about 22 years.

How do they reproduce?

Mithuns are viviparous animals which means that they give birth to off-springs. Not much is known about the reproductive patterns except for the fact that these animals give birth to only one calf each year, and that during the breeding season, the herd becomes exceptionally noisy.

What is their conservation status?

According to the IUCN, the conservation status of this species is Not Evaluated. There is no evidence of whether or not the population of this species is declining, however their habitat is being degraded which could be a possible threat in the future.

Mithun Fun Facts

What do mithuns look like?

The mithun (Bos frontalis) has a rather narrow list of features that define it. It has a black colored body, short legs, and two horns. It also has a dewlap on the throat. What makes this species cute is the white coloration on its legs.

The class of animals that mithuns belong to is called Mammalia

How cute are they?

The mithun cow-like animal might not be the prettiest sight to you, their white legs make them unique compared to other cow species.

How do they communicate?

The mithun has the typical call of the Gaur family which sounds like a 'moo'. They also have a rather loud call which is performed in a herd. During the breeding season, such calls can be several hours long and honestly quite annoying to anyone that is not used to being near lot of cattle.

How big is a mithun?

The mithun is about 55-63 in (140-160 cm) long, and its horn call can be more than 1 ft (0.3 m) in length! For a better perspective, you will be thrilled to know that water buffalos and horses are about one and a half times as big as mithuns.

How fast can a mithun move?

There are no studies that can tell us the exact speed at which mithuns or gayal cattle can move. However, they are quite large and have slow movements. This species can hardly be seen running, unless in aggression.

How much does a mithun weigh?

The average mithun weighs a staggering 1322.7-2204.7 lb (600-1000 kg). For a comparative view, let's note that these animals weigh almost 10 times as much as a Bengal tiger and 25 times as much as a wild goat.

What are the male and female names of the species?

There are no distinct names for male and female gayal cows. We will simply have to refer to them as a male gayal cow and a female gayal cow.

What would you call a baby mithun?

A baby mithun, like all other members of the Gaur family, is called a calf!

What do they eat?

Gayal Asian cows are herbivorous animals. They feed on green leaves from plants and grass.

Are they dangerous?

We know that the gayal animal is domesticated in parts of Asia, and while the size of this animal can be truly intimidating, they are not known to pose any threat. If you do happen to suspect that one or more of these animals might be getting aggressive, it would be best to stay away from the herd altogether, especially the horns.

Would they make a good pet?

If you feel like you are ready to commit to the care of this large animal mithun, there aren not many negative points you need to know. They are a peaceful species and are domesticated widely for the various benefits that they have. However, they would require a large field to graze and a shed to live in,  since they are definitely not the animal that you would want inside your house!

These animals can also be very noisy  which is something to keep in mind.

Did you know...

Gayal milk is very nutritious and is consumed all over India, Bhutan, and Bangladesh.

The word 'gayal' is from an indigenous language that people from Asia use to refer to this animal.

'Cattle of the Mountains" is the name of the mithun animal in English.

Where are mithuns from?

The origin of mithun animal is understood to have come from the families such as Gaur and Zebu.

What are mithuns used for?

Mithuns are domestic animals that are reared for milk, transportation, and for the benefits of their feces.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other mammals from our cape buffalo facts and mountain goat facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Mithun coloring pages.

Mithun Facts

What Did They Prey On?


What Type of Animal were they?


Average Litter Size?


How Much Did They Weigh?

1322.7-2204.6 lb (600-1000 kg)

What habitat Do they Live In?

households and farms

Where Do They Live?

arunachal pradesh, bhutan, bangladesh, and southeast asia

How Long Were They?


How Tall Were They?

55-63 in (140-160 cm)







Scientific Name

Bos frontalis

What Do They Look Like?

Black, dark gray, white, and brown

Skin Type


What Are Their Main Threats?

habitat loss

What is their Conservation Status?

Not Evaluated
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Written by Shirin Biswas

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English Language and Literature

Shirin Biswas picture

Shirin BiswasBachelor of Arts specializing in English Language and Literature

With a degree in English from Amity University, Noida, Shirin has won awards for oratory, acting, and creative writing. She has a wealth of experience as an English teacher, editor, and writer, having previously worked at Quizzy and Big Books Publishing. Her expertise lies in editing study guides for children and creating engaging content.

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