OKLAHOMA

Bison Facts

  • Bison is the correct term for the mammals in North America. According to scientists, true buffalo are confined to Africa and Southeast Asia.
  • Before the settlements of modern civilization, around 30 million bison roamed across North America. By 1890, fewer than 600 plains bison were alive.
  • Bison and cattle are cousins (that is, they are in the same genus, Bos).
  • Bison are the largest native animals on the North American continent
  • Full-grown bison bulls stand about 6.5 feet at the shoulder and can weigh up to 2,000 pounds.
  • Adult bison consume more than 30 pounds of grass (air-dry weight) in a day.
  • Bison can jump 6 feet vertically. Because they reportedly can jump more than 7 feet horizontally, "bisonguards" on the Preserve are 14 feet wide. (This is double the standard width of a cattleguard.)
  • Bison can run speeds up to 35 miles per hour
  • Bison are powerful swimmers, navigating with all but hump, muzzle, and top of the head submerged
  • Both sexes have horns; the cow's are smaller. A bull bison can be identified from a cow by wider, thicker horns; a wider skull; and a generally more massive structure.
  • The gestation period for bison is 9.5 months
  • Bison calves are generally born in the spring and weigh 30-40 pounds
  • The bison was named the state mammal of Oklahoma by the legislature in 1972. 

More About Bison

A Historical Perspective
Great herds of bison once roamed North America between the Appalachian Mountains and the Rocky Mountains.

Origin of the Tallgrass Herd
The Tallgrass Prairie bison herd was started with 300 animals donated by the Ken-Ada Ranch.

Tallgrass Bison Herd Size
The original herd of 300 bison at Tallgrass Prairie Preserve has grown to the optimum over-wintered size of about 2,100, which is based on the available range.

Bison Vital Statistics
Bison can weigh as much as 2000 pounds, stand over six feet tall and live as long a 40 years.

Bison Behavior
Bison are grazers who prefer grasses to other prairie plants, such as wildflowers.

Bison Personality
Bison are ordinarily mild-mannered, even dull, animals but can be aggressive.

 

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