May 29, 2024

The bison is a large mammal that belongs to the Bovidae family. Its closest relatives are African and water buffalo, gazelle and antelope. In the past, a large population of bison roamed the Great Plains of North America, from Mexico to Canada. In the 20th century when settlers came to America, bison were almost extinct. The number of bison was reduced from 60 million to almost a thousand animals in numbers. Shortly afterwards they were placed under protection and their number could rise to around 200,000 animals. Most of these animals are kept in ranches where people raise them for their meat. The bison is listed as an critically endangered species in the wild.

Yellowstone National Park is the only place in the U.S. where bison have continuously lived since prehistoric times.

Bison is the largest land animal in the North America. Males are larger than females. They can reach the length of up to 10 feet, weight between 930 to 2200 pounds and height of 6.6 feet.

As of July 2015, Yellowstone’s bison population was estimated at 4,900 — making it the largest bison population on public lands.

Bison has short, curved and sharp black horns on its head. They can reach between 23 and 29 inches in length.

Bison calves tend to be born from late March through May and are orange-red in color, earning them the nickname “red dogs.”

Bison has a thick, brown coat that provides insulation from the cold and moist weather. It prevents melting of the snow and soaking of the skin.

Bison have been integral to tribal culture, providing them with food, clothing, fuel, tools, shelter and spiritual value.

Hump on the bison’s back is composed of muscles. It facilitates movement through the snow.

Established in 1992, the Inter Tribal Buffalo Council works with the National Park Service to transfer bison from national park lands to tribal lands.

Bison lives in smaller groups composed of animals of only one sex. These groups will blend together during mating season.

Bisons can run up to 35 miles per hour.

Group of bison is called herd, gang or obstinacy.

Bisons are also strong swimmers.

Bison is herbivore (plant-eater). It eats grass, twigs and shrubs. Swallowed food will be regurgitated for additional chewing before it is transported to intestines for final digestion.

Bisons are typically foraging for 9-11 hours a day.

Although large in size, bison has couple of natural enemies. Main predators of bison are wolves and humans.

Theodore Roosevelt with William Hornaday formed the American Bison Society in 1905 to help conserve bison population.

Despite its large proportions, bison belongs to the group of fast-running animal. It can run 40 miles per hour.

A bison roll in the dirt to deter biting flies and help shed fur. The process is called wallowing.

Also, bison is able to jump 6 feet off the ground.

Male bison also wallow during mating season to leave behind their scent and display their strength.

Bison gather in large herds during mating season that takes place during the summer.

Fossil records show that one prehistoric bison, Bison latiforns, had horns measuring 9 feet from tip to tip.

Males fight to gain attention of females. Fight rarely ends with serious injuries but they include horn locking, shoving and head-butt kicks.

Bisons have poor eyesight.

Females become sexually mature at age of 2 or 3 years. Pregnancy lasts nine and the half months and ends with one calf (baby). Female will move to an isolated area at the end of pregnancy.

Bisons have excellent senses of smell and hearing.

Calf has 33 to 35 pounds at birth and it is reddish in color. It can stand on its feet soon after birth.

Cows and calves communicate using pig-like grunts, and during mating season, bulls can be heard bellowing across long distances.

Baby depends on mother’s milk for the first seven months of its life. At about two months after birth, calf will develop horns and hump on its back.

Bison made their way to America by crossing the ancient land bridge that once connected Asia with North America during the Pliocene Epoch, some 400,000 years ago.

Average lifespan of bison in the wild is between 12 to 20 years. Captive bison can survive up to 30 years.

1 thought on “Facts about Bison

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Patryk alexander is an associate copy editor at 4kvideodrones.