American bison


American bison

Scientific Name

Bison bison






The American bison is the largest mammal in North America.

Despite their size, bison can run at speeds of up to 40 miles an hour when needed. They have curved, sharp horns that can grow up to 61 centimeters in length. Bison grunt to communicate and keep in contact with the rest of the herd. They also bellow aggressively when challenging another animal.

On average, females are shorter than the males and have a smaller hump, thinner neck and more slender horns. 

They are hardy animals that can stay outside in all weather conditions, including heavy snow and hot summers.


American bison are herbivores that feed on plain grasses, herbs, shrubs and twigs. They tend to spend around 2 hours daily grazing, chewing the cud and resting before moving on to find new grass areas to graze on.

Size Fact

Bison stand between 5ft – 6.5ft at the shoulder and weigh as much as a tonne.

Food Fact

Bison chew the cud just like cows.

Fun Fact

Bison’s coats are so thick that their body heat doesn’t melt snow that falls on them.

IUCN Red list

The American bison is classified as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List. Threats include habitat loss, reduction in genetic diversity, cross breeding with domestic cattle and culling of wild bison to prevent the spread of bovine diseases.

Where do I live?

The American bison is primarily known to live in grassland and meadow areas across North America, including in Yellowstone National Park and in Utah.

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