Big, burly and woolly; bison are easily distinguished by their large size and dark brown coats. They stand between 5 feet and 6-1/2 feet tall and can tip the scales at over a ton. They are the heaviest land animals in North America. They also have curved, sharp horns.
Habitat & Diet
Bison live in the American grasslands; now mostly on preserves, ranches and national parks. They eat grasses, shrubs and other foliage that can be found in the plains. Their home range was once the majority of what is now the United States, but that territory has been tremendously diminished.
Bison will live in small groups of between 2 to 6 members for most of the year, but join massive herds during the summer mating months. During this time males will often battle for mating rights with specific females.
Meet our Residents
- Bison fur is so well insulated that snow can settle on their backs without melting!
- Despite their size, Bison are capable of running at speeds up to 40 mph.
Status In The Wild
Rebounding now, the American bison was once reduced to numbers as small as the low hundreds. During the American expansion westward, bison were exterminated by settlers en masse for food, sport and to strategically deprive Native populations of one of their most valuable and necessary resources. There are now an estimated 200,000 bison in the northwest and the number continues to grow.