10 Unique Facts About Bison
- August 08, 2022
- 0 min read
1. Bison are not only tall, but also incredibly strong and fast. The average bison stands between 6-6.5 feet tall and 10-12.5 feet long. Bison can run up to 40 miles per hour. They are North America’s largest land animals. Mature males can weigh up to 2,000lbs and females can weigh up to 1,000lbs. Bison also can jump up to 6 feet vertically to quickly escape predators and are great swimmers.
2. There is no difference between bison and buffalo. The terms are used interchangeably, however the North American scientific name is bison. Historians believe the term ‘buffalo’ came from the French word ‘boeuf’, meaning beef.
3. You can judge a bison’s mood by looking at its tail. When the tail is hanging down and moving naturally, the bison is usually calm. But if the tail is standing straight up, it may be ready to charge. No matter the tail movement, always be aware a bison can charge at any minute.
4. The hump on the bison’s backs allows them to plow though snow and get to vegetation in the winter months. The hump is made up of composed muscle and is supported by a long vertebrate.
5. The average lifespan of a bison is 10-20 years, with some even surpassing this. Female bison (cows) begin breeding at the age of 2 and can only carry one baby at a time. Male bison (bulls) prime breeding age is between 6-10 years old.
6. Bison calves born between late March through May and are orange-red in colour, are given the nickname ‘red dog’. This colouring starts to change to dark brown and their signature hump and horns begin to develop after a few months.
7. Bison primarily eat weeds, leafy plants, and grasses. They typically forage for food between 9-11 hours a day.
8. Bison are nearsighted, meaning they have a hard time seeing things far away. Luckily, they have excellent senses for smelling and hearing. Cows communicate to their calves through pig-like grunts. During mating season, bulls make their presence known to females by bellowing across long distances.
9. The only place in North America where bison have lived continuously since prehistoric times is in Yellowstone National Park. The bison in Yellowstone are special because they are the pure descendants of early bison that are free of cattle genes.
10. Bison roll in dirt to get rid of biting flies and to help shed their fur. This process is called wallowing. During mating season, male bison will wallow to display strength and to leave their scent behind for the females.
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