Bison Facts

 

I’m lucky to live close to a bison ranch and these are photos I took as we drove by the other day. They are impressive creatures and when I hear about people having close-up encounters with them in nearby Yellowstone National Park, I always wonder what they are thinking. These animals are powerful!

Here are a few bison facts:

Bison are the largest mammals in North America. (Which is why you shouldn’t try to get close to them.)

Historians believe that bison are called buffalo in North America because boeuf is the French word for beef. 

Bison have lived continuously in the Yellowstone National Park area since prehistoric times.

When a bison’s tail is hanging down or switching, it’s calm. If it’s up or standing straight out, it’s about to do something aggressive. (I’m sure that tail can go up fast, so I wouldn’t use the hanging tail as a safety barometer.)

Bison can run up to 35 miles per hour.

The average life span is 10 to 20 years.

Bison ancestors came from Asia over the land bridge during the Pleistocene. The Asian ancestors were much larger.

Bison are near-sighted.

Bison calves are reddish and are called red dogs.

Bison can be pronounced with an “s” or a “z” sound. The “s” is standard, unless you are rooting for North Dakota State University. They use the “z” proudly.