American Bison

Bison bison

The bison is a member of the bovine family. It is the largest, heaviest land animal in North America. The bison has a large head with short, black curving horns, and a hump on its shoulders. Its long, shaggy, dark brown coat is on its front section, including its front legs, neck, and shoulders, while the rest of their body has shorter, finer hair. Bison have poor eye site but they have a great sense of smell and acute hearing.

american bison picture

Height 5-6 feet from hoof to shoulder
Length 10-12 feet
Weight 800-2,000 lbs; males are larger than females

Life span up to 22 years in the wild; over 25+ years in captivity

Diet

Grasses and sedges (occasionally eating berries and lichen).

Population

Today, the Bison population is estimated at 350,000; compared to an estimated 60 million plus in the mid nineteenth century.

Range

Historically, Bison roamed throughout the grasslands and savannas of North America. Also found in Canada and parts of Mexico. Today it is found mostly in protected places including parks and reserves throughout North America.

Behavior

In herd, the females, or cows lead the groups. Bulls remain alone or in small groups usually until mating season.

Bison often roll side to side on the ground (wallow) creating a shallow depression. This wallow is said to be for both grooming purposes, as well as mating (they leave their scent).

Reproduction
Mating Season
 June-September, peak activity in July-August.
Gestation 270-285 days.  Calf is born April-May.
Litter size 1 calf.