• Wind Cave National Park - Two Worlds

    Wind Cave

    National Park South Dakota

Bison

Bison bull
Bison bull
 

Class:

Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla (same as deer, sheep, pronghorn)
Family: Bovidae (true horns, not branched, on both sexes, cattle, sheep, goat, musk ox)
Genus:

Bison

Species:

bison

Subspecies:

athabascae (woods)
bison (plains)

Name/
History:

Late 1800s bison almost became extinct. They were saved by the American Bison Society. Often called buffalo by early scientists who thought they were related to the Africa/Asian water buffaloes. French explorers also called the animals "les boeff" - the cattle.

Size:

Male Female Calf

Weight (lbs)

2000 1000 30-70

Height (ft)

5.5-6 4.5-5.5 2.5

Rut:

June-September (one bull forms a temporary "tending bond" with one cow at a time)

Gestation:

9.5 months

Birth:

April -June (reddish, brown fur, no conspicuous hump)

# young:

Usually 1

Age:

12-15 years

Habitat/
Range:

At one time bison roamed North America from Alaska to northern Mexico, western California to western New York.

Food:

Grasses, browse

Enemies:

Occasionally grizzly, humans, extinct prairie wolf

Disease:

Brucellosis, tuberculosis

Communication:

Grunts/snorts between cow-calf, roar by bulls during rut

Behavior/
Characteristics:

Generally cow/calves in herd together, bulls alone or in small bull herd except during the rut.

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