10 Facts about the American Bison
1. They are the largest mammal in North America.
2. The scientific name is actually Bison bison bison (genus: Bison, species: bison, subspecies: bison).
3. Bison have continuously lived in Yellowstone since prehistoric times making them pure descendants (free of cattle genes) of early bison that roamed the U.S.
4. A bison’s tail can reveal its mood – hanging down and switching naturally indicates calm, while standing straight up is an alert that the bison may be ready to charge.
5. Don’t let the size fool you. Bison can run up to 35 miles per hour, spin around quickly, jump fences, and are strong swimmers.
6. They typically forage for 9-11 hours a day primarily for grasses, weeds, and leafy plants.
7. Bison can live to be twenty years old.
8. They are nearsighted but have an excellent senses of smell and hearing.
9. Bison wallow (or roll) in the dirt to deter biting flies, shed fur, and leave behind their scent during mating season.
10. Teddy Roosevelt was at the forefront of the conservationist movement, co-forming the American Bison Society in 1905 to save the disappearing species.
Visit 15 Facts About Our National Mammal: The American Bison at the U.S. Department of the Interior’s blog for more bison facts.