You Might Not Know These 10 Fun Facts About Bison

In 1800, an estimated 40 million American bison, also known as buffalo, roamed freely across North America. The majestic buffalo has inspired the names of mountains, rivers, sports teams, and cities. They're an iconic American plains animal, but how much do you know about them? Here are ten exciting facts about these magnificent creatures.

1 - Their coats are very thick.


Uniquely, bison do not burn additional calories to remain warm in below-zero temperatures. Their thick coats insulate them from harsh winter weather with 2 layers of hair and a thick hide. The coarse outer layer provides protection from cold and wetness. The inner layer consists of fine fibres, creating an insulation that traps air and heat. Bison have ten times the hair density of domestic cattle. Their coats are so effective at keeping the cold out that snow does not melt on top of the bison. On notably frigid days, the animals face into the wind with their heads down, presenting the thickest part of their coat to interrupt the fierce grassland cold.

2 - They're pretty agile.


Bison are the biggest mammals in North America, but do not let their size fool you. Despite consideration of a few tonnes, they need a vertical jump of up to six feet, are sensible swimmers, and might revolve quickly to defend themselves against predators. They've been clocked at thirty-five mph to forty mph, once running at full speed.

3 - A wild bison’s life is about twenty-five years.


While wild bison sometimes live to twenty-five years of age, bison in captivity might live longer. The most recent bison ever recorded was a bull (male) that was thirty years old at San Francisco’s sound park.

4 - Their tails tell their mood.


The bison is normally calm when its tail hangs down and switches naturally. Be wary if the tail is standing straight.  It might be charged. Remember that no matter what a bison's tail is doing, they are uncontrollable and can charge at any time. Every year, unfortunate accidents occur as a result of people getting too close to these huge animals. It's great to admire bison from afar.

5 - They produce a wide range of sounds.


Instead of mooing or snorting, bison bellow, grunt, roar, and snort. The snorts and growls can be heard as if they were coming from a truck or a lawnmower. The grunts resemble those of a pig. During the rut, or breeding season, bellows are especially common. Bison use a variety of snorts, growls, and rumbling alarm calls to communicate with calves and cows. When their mothers call them, calves make some bleating sounds.

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Bison roll in the dirt to ward off biting flies and shed fur, a practise known as wallowing. During mating season, adult bison wallow to leave their scent and demonstrate their strength.

 7 - Their Survival Is Under Threat


Despite being listed as critically threatened by the IUCN, the species' conservation is complicated. Some North American laws classify bison as livestock, while others classify them as wildlife. Because of selective breeding for docility and meat quality, breeding them for commercial purposes is detrimental to the species' conservation. Hybridization with cattle, both intentional and unintentional, further reduces the conservation genetic pool.

8 - Both males and females have horns.


You can't tell whether or not a bison is male or female by the horns, but you'll be able to tell their age. Horns appear on both sexes at around 2 years of age. They then have a stage referred to as a "spike-horn," wherever the horns develop at a 45-degree angle. This lasts till they're around four years old. Horns begin black; however, they flip grey because of the buffalo's aging. Adult horns curve upward, and also the tips begin to become dull and shorter when compared to age eight.

9 - Bison are herbivores.

Bison Facts

Bison primarily consume grasses, weeds, and leafy plants, hunting for food for 9–11 hours per day. During the winter, the bison's large jutting shoulder hump comes in handy. It enables them to clear snow by swinging their heads from side to side, which is especially useful for creating forage for food patches.

10 - Bison are near-sighted.


Even though buffalo have poor sight, they need a nice sense of hearing. Cows and calves communicate with pig-like grunts, and bulls can be heard calling across long distances during the sexual union season. 

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