American Bison | Size, Population, Diet, & Facts

The American bison is a species of bison native to North America. They once covered much of the open land east of the Appalachian Mountains from Canada to Mexico. Before the arrival of Europeans, large herds roamed the plains of the United States. It is estimated that there are more than 30 million American bison at one time.

How big is an American bison?

The bison is surprisingly large and is the largest land animal in North America. Males are larger than females and can grow to over 6 feet tall, 11 feet long and over 2000 pounds in weight!

Bison have brown fur. In winter, their coat becomes shaggy and long to keep warm. In the summer, it becomes lighter, so they won’t get too hot. They have a wide and head striker. They also have a hump on their back just in front of their head. The bison has two horns up to 2 feet long. Horns are used for defense and fighting in the herd. Both males and females have horns.

What do American Bison eat?

Bison are herbivores, that is, they eat plants. Most of the time, they look for plants that grow in the savanna, such as grasses and sedges. They spend most of the day grazing and then resting to ruminate. Then they move to a new location and repeat the process.

However, don’t let their docile attitude fool you. Bison can be dangerous. They are wild and unpredictable and will attack if provoked. They can be deadly, so never get too close to a wild bison.

Are American Bison big and slow?

Yes and no. Bison are huge, but they are very fast. They can actually run faster than horses and can jump more than 6 feet in the air. So don’t think you can outrun a bison if it decides to attack you…you can’t.

Are American bison in danger of extinction?

In the 1800s, thousands of bison were hunted. It is estimated that up to 100,000 people are killed in a single day. They are often hunted for their coats. By the late 1800s, the bison was nearly extinct. Only a few hundred of the millions that once roamed the savanna remained.

Since then, the bison population has been revived. Some bison roam in our national parks like Yellowstone. Others were raised on farms. Today, the population exceeds several hundred thousand and the conservation status has changed from threatened to near threatened.

Interesting Facts about Bison

Bison has no natural predators.

Only the weak and sick are threatened by predators. Their lifespan is about 30 years.

The plural of bison is ….. bison.

They are often called wild buffalo or American buffalo.

There are two types of American bison, bison and plains bison. The wood bison is the larger of the two.

In the early 1900s, bison was introduced on Buffalo nickel. He returned to nickel in 2005.

There is an A-class baseball team in Buffalo, New York called the Buffalo Bisons.

The mascot of the University of Colorado is the buffalo.