American Bison

Creature Features 

Description                                                                                                                                                                                              The largest terrestrial animals in North America, bison are characterized by a hump over the front shoulders and slimmer hindquarters. Both male and female bison have a single set of short, sharply pointed, hollow horns that curve outward and up from the sides of the massive head. The head, neck, forelegs and front parts of  the body have a thick coat of long, dark hair.

Diet                                                                                                                                                                                                       These large grazers feed on plains grasses, herbs, shrubs and twigs. They regurgitate their food and chew it as cud before final digestion.

Reproduction                                                                                                                                                                                         Females (cows) and adult males (bulls) generally live in small, separate bands and come together in very large herds during the summer mating season. Males battle for mating primacy, but such contests rarely turn dangerous. Females give birth to one calf after nine months pregnancy. A single yellow-red calf will be born away from the herd in a secluded area. After a few days, the calf can keep up with the herd and follows its mother until the following spring.

Fun Facts 

  • Other Names: Plains Bison or American Buffalo
  • Group Name: Herd
  • Scientific Name: Bison bison
  • Conservation Status: Near Threatened
  • Lifespan:12 to 20 years
  • Body Length: Head and body- 7 to 11.5 ft. Tail- 19.75 to 23.5 inches
  •  Weight: 930 to 2200 pounds
  • Gestation: 9 months

Did You Know? 

The bison’s thick, shaggy coat is so well insulated that snow can settle on its back without melting. Bison have excellent sense of hearing and smell, but cannot see very well, so an entire herd can stampede if it is startled. Bison have cloven hooves, and can reach speeds of 30 mph.