5 Facts About the American Bison
Did you know that a bison and a buffalo are actually two different animals? Contrary to what most people think, buffalo are native to Asia and Africa, while bison are native to North America and parts of Europe. In honor of our bison logo, we thought it would be fun to share 5 facts about these majestic animals.
- Bison are the official mammal of the United States. Bison have roamed the lands since prehistoric times but faced extinction during the westward expansion. Without the help of the Department of the Interior, who spearheaded the efforts to conserve the bison population in the late 19th century, bison may not be here today.
- Bison are the largest animals in North America. Male bison, bulls, can weigh upwards of 2000lbs and get to be 11ft long from front to back! Calves at birth can weigh between 30 and 70lbs.
- Bison are herbivores and mainly eat grasses and other leafy plants. Due to their large size, they spend close to half of their day eating. The hump behind their neck/shoulders is actually a large muscle from moving snow to get to food in the winter.
- 10,000 bison live on public lands that are managed by the Department of the Interior. You can find bison in several national parks including Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, Idaho and Montana, Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota, and both Badlands National Park and Wind Cave National Park in South Dakota.
- Bison have poor eyesight and are actually nearsighted, or can only see things close up. However, where they lack in their sense of sight, they make up for with great sense of smell and hearing.
Thank you to the U.S. Department of the Interior for these fun bison facts, learn more by visiting their blog: 15 Facts About Our National Mammal: The American Bison.