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American bison

American bison

The American bison is the largest land animal in North America.

Biology

Keywords

bison, even-toed ungulate, mammal, ruminant, ruminants, prairie, herbivore, endangered species, horn, United States of America, North America, America, cow, bull, calf, herd, migration, population, hunting, animal, vertebrates, biology

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Scenes

  • height: 152–186 cm (59.84–73.23 in)
  • body length: 200–350 cm (78.74–137.80 in)
  • body mass: 318–1,000 kg (701.07–2,204.62 lb)

  • - American bison shed their fur in clumps during summer, but they grow a new coat in fall. It is such a good insulator that the snow falling on it will not melt from the animal's body heat.

One of the most striking characteristics of American bison is the short, curved horns that both cows and bulls have. It uses its horns to defend itself and attack as well. The American bison is bulky and looks more massive than the European bison. It also has longer hair on the neck, forehead and torso and shorter legs. Despite its enormous size, it is very agile and fast: it can jump up to 180 cm (70.87 in) high and run at speeds of up to 60 km/h (37.28 mph).

  • esophagus

  • - American bison shed their fur in clumps during summer, but they grow a new coat in fall. It is such a good insulator that the snow falling on it will not melt from the animal's body heat.
  • esophagus

Narration

The American bison, also called the American buffalo, is a massive mammal that used to roam the grasslands of North America in large herds. American bison once numbered in the tens of millions; however, relentless hunting pushed the species to the brink of extinction. The remaining few hundred American bison only survived because they were afforded protection. Today that number is slightly over 500,000.

One of the most striking characteristics of the American bison is the short, curved horns that both cows and bulls have. It uses its horns to defend itself and to attack as well. The American bison is bulky and looks more massive than the European bison. It also has longer hair on its neck, forehead and torso and shorter legs. Despite its enormous size, it is very agile and fast: it can jump up to 180 cm (70.87 in) high and run at speeds of up to 60 km/h (37.28 mph).

The American bison is one of 150 ruminant species in the world. Rumination involves swallowing partially chewed plant matter, regurgitating it and chewing it again. These steps are repeated a number of times.

As a result, the fibrous plant matter is broken down with enzymes produced by bacteria in the stomach, thus converting the cellulose content of the cell walls into glucose subunits.

Like most ruminants, the American bison has no upper incisors. As a result, it cannot bite off grasses, tearing at them instead. Consequently, it can only graze on pastures with tall grasses.

Until the late 19th century, the American bison's habitat stretched from the Rocky Mountains in the west to the Atlantic Ocean in the east; from the Great Lakes in the north to the Gulf of Mexico in the south. Today, populations are limited to certain national parks. The largest herds can be found in Yellowstone National Park in the United States and Wood Buffalo National Park in Canada.

Cows and calves live separately from bulls throughout the year, and they only form large herds during mating season. American bison characteristically roam from pasture to pasture during the year. However, contrary to popular belief, it is not true that they migrated seasonally from north to south before the late 19th century.

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